If you’ve heard the phrase ‘a cat’s chance in hell’ you would agree that represents the same odds as ‘a child’s chance in Palestine’. Right? Don’t be so sure.
Undeniably, the Palestine-Israel tug-of-war has claimed its fair share of children, and robbed probably thousands more of their parents. Surely the children caught in the cross-fire have incredible odds stacked against them. And even the ones far behind the front lines will, in all probability, struggle to find peace.
Every child touched by war will inevitably contribute to violence in the years to come. And hope dwindles with every ounce of lost innocence. Their future looks bleak and surely these children must know that, at some level. Maybe they do, but they don’t seem to be letting it bother them. Though surrounded by hatred and destruction, children (both Palestinian and Jewish) from the strife-torn regions of Palestine and Israel have joined hands to show the world their mettle.
Though peace may seem like a distant reality in the face of war, children – even in trying times such as these – seem to want to give it a fighting chance. These children are a part of the PeacePlayers – an international organization committed to promoting peace by bringing together the world’s young.
Children from Palestine and those from their neighbor and ‘enemy’, Israel, forget their differences so they can play ball on the basketball court. Like Malak and Romy, both of whom thought they could never befriend someone outside their religion. Borders melt away in the spirit of the game as children from warring countries learn to work as a team. The idea is the same: bring the best out of humanity by bringing the best of humanity together. And, clearly, the best among all of us are children.
And the hope
Curiously enough the PeacePlayers program was brought to the warring nations of Palestine and Israel by the concerted efforts of two strangers: one a Palestinian, the other a Jew. Yet, it comes as no surprise that the children of this region have volunteered to be a part of this program, even though they have witnessed unspeakable horrors. Romy’s quip about sirens and bomb shelters is highly reminiscent of World War II. Obviously, humanity’s past mistakes do not make grave reminders to its future occupants. Yet, the faith these children have in humanity is heart-warming to behold. What the grown-ups in charge of peace have forgotten is a fundamental truth to these children. That even people from different religions can have fun together and that living together is just difficult, not impossible.
The world might not attach much value to the opinions of a child, but it is painfully clear that children can succeed easily where the adults have failed. It would do Palestine and Israel, and in fact every other country, to follow in the footsteps of these children. Reminding everyone that they, too, were once children, these brave, beautiful kids might yet make a wonderful future possible. Like Malak says in the video: “I think the idea’s beautiful. Arabs and Jews together.”