Individual acts of kindness cannot change complex geopolitical reality.
At the age of 68, I know that I have no ability to influence political reality in my country, which has overdosed on right wing expansionism cum Messianic nonsense. And it is not to be ignored that the middle east neighborhood in which we live is violent, tough, cynical, frightening, fragmented and driven by not only my country’s messianic mania, but also the dangerous religious beliefs of our enemies which feed on the crumbling of their civilization.
So, what is to be done? Politically, nothing can be done by the individual. Both sides get the leadership they deserve and wallow in shit.
Once, I tried to be politically active but failed. I have no patience at all, and no tolerance whatsoever for religious beliefs, ours nor theirs. And here in the Middle East, don’t dabble in politics without god at your side.
So looking for something I can do, I have volunteered to accompany Palestinian kids to the beach every week in the framework of Min El Bahar, which means ‘from the sea’ in Arabic.
The dedicated women (and some men) of Min El Bahar bus Arab Palestinians from the occupied West Bank to the beach in Tel Aviv, where they swim, eat sandwiches, watermelon and icy-icy, and then on to Tel Aviv-Jaffa harbor, to go for a boat ride, subsequently returning to the west bank in the evening. This happens every day, Sunday to Thursday during the summer months. (Thursday is my day).
When they arrive in Tel Aviv, the kids and their parents are shy and watchful at first. But we all end up playing ball, splashing one another with water, learning the basics of how to float, swim and play ‘one man out’ in the water.
Each week, I am literally reduced to tears by both by their happiness and by the joy I feel by giving. These acts will never change middle east reality. But it sure does make me a bit more ‘ok’ with myself as someone who lives under a government whose messianic polices I detest.
And many thanks to the brave women of Min El Bahar.