“I Shall Not Hate”

After hearing Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish speak at convention, I shook his hand and bought his book, I Shall Not Hate. I read it this week and though I understand the individual words on the page, I struggle to understand the world he portrays.

… the oldest of nine children growing up in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip… all living in one room 3 metres by 3 metres, no running water, no electricity, no toilets… his mother cutting a banana to share between her nine children… the family left homeless after their home was bulldozed to widen the road for tanks… working through the night and attending school during the day… living amongst hatred, discrimination and war…┬áthe unpredictable and often humiliating ordeal of crossing the border between Palestine and Israel which he did many years, twice a week…losing three daughters and a niece to the shelling of his home…

Through the world of words I enter a foreign land and into the life of another. I am reminded how fortunate I am to live where and when I do. The details of his reality are incomprehensible to those of us living in a world of freedom and security.

And yet, despite his circumstances, this man is an advocate, a doctor, a father, a humanitarian, one might even say an optimist. As the world searches for peace and reconciliation, let us look to Dr. Abuelaish for inspiration.

Take comfort today knowing you are safe and educated, that you have food to eat and a place to call home. Share stories with your students to open their eyes to the world beyond their own. And the next time you sing O Canada, relish the reality of these words: the true north strong and free. How very blessed we are.



3 thoughts on “I Shall Not Hate”

  1. Wow! He must have been an amazing speaker. Sometimes I think we are lucky to grow up in our bubbles…but a reality check every once in awhile makes us appreciate everything we have.

  2. This also should remind us of our students and their life experiences. We take so much for granted and sometimes assume that students act out on purpose. However, if we take the time to listen, usually it’s the furthest from the truth. I agree, we need to be thankful for what we have!

  3. Wow–lucky you for meeting this author: I read his book too and found it so inspiring!
    Also, it helped me understand to a degree, at least, how complex is the issue in the Middle East.
    We are so blessed to live in Canada!

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