My little bit to help grow peace - protesting graphic war photos, etc.

Since the cease fire there has been a campaign to raise money for Gaza at the school where I work. I knew that many people were very upset about what had happened and many had families back there or roots there. Emotions have been very high especially since the local news channels had been running Gaza 24/7. Sometimes I wondered if I was the only objective, peace-seeking person left. Good news: At last count the school raised over 9000 dirhams for the Red Crescent (like the Red Cross).

When the campaign first began, I found (at lunch-time unfortunately) one of the supervisors pasting graphic pictures (murdered babies, mutilated bodies...) on a display easel. This is one of my pet-peeves. I calmly asked where the pictures were going to be displayed (I was told all over- even in KG -kindergarten!). I said I thought this was inappropriate and why. 1) It will frighten the young children 2) it will affect the stomach more than the heart 3) the older children, especially the boys, check out the pictures for gross-out value only 4) it creates hatred in the minds of the people viewing them. 5) there is enough hatred - especially of Palestinians for Israel and Israelis and Jews in general. The supervisor did not agree and said that the children should be afraid and this will make the parents give more, that the new generation was not aware of the condition of the Palestinian people, even the Palestinian children there in the school, that the stomach should be affected, that she was unaware of this among the boys and she had not seen any hate problems.

I let her know the extent that I had witnessed this hate in America and that it was a big problem if peace was ever going to come about. I also explained that if you want to affect hearts, show pictures of suffering survivors. I said, "I cannot help any of those people- they are in Allah's (God's) hands now. But I can help the living people who are left." She agreed with me.

And you know what- only one board went up- and not in the KG. The rest of the boards had a simple Red Crescent poster with a woman weeping and slogans encouraging everyone to donate.

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While I was on a roll, the same day, I had a discussion with another teacher over why the superpowers at the time joined together to create and support Israel. She was not aware of historic Antisemitism in Europe prior to Nazi Germany nor that much of Europe had cyclically massacred the Jews, or forced conversions, nor of what occurred during the Inquisition to Jews and Muslims. She was blown away.

This is what happens when you don't teach history properly. Much of the Muslim world is still in denial of the holocaust and doesn't even really know what happened to Muslims in Europe- even in recent times (like in Bosnia).

I wish more people would get to the point where awareness and empathy rules over self-centeredness and narrow-mindedness. Then peace would really grow.

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Comment by Stephanie on February 4, 2009 at 8:41pm
interesting reading and you did right about the photographs, they just are not necessary, and not correct to show!
I was at the Italian market and they were giving out flyers to help Gaza with a baby's screaming face. I think that many people are unaware, and perhaps just because they are against the Palestine people or against Jews, are turned off from the start and don't want to give at all. It is hard to make people see the human side of the tragedy at times, and to know what image is the best one, what words are the best ones to use.
But you did so right in discussing it all.....THAT is the key, comunication.
Good going and thanks for sharing

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