In 1970 my dad Salam living under the Israelis occupation published an article in the newspaper without censorship approval, got arrested the next day, ends up in Ber Shiva prison for the next 7yrs (in the Desert) the worst jail in Israel at the time.. he sent us letters weekly telling us Gandhi stories, for me it was (peace crab) I did not understand at that time....(do not hate love is the answer and so on.).I was full of anger and hate i didn't know what to make out of it ...not until my late teenage years it clicked he was planting the seeds of peace in me...so thank you dad.
Now I can tell you the bird story......
One day a lost baby bird wet, cold and fragile makes it through the tiny barb wired window cell of Salam, he takes care of it and nourish it from his mouth & when it matured it flew away but it kept comming back everyday like it was home, everyone fell in love with the bird the jailed & the jailers he roamed among them with no fear & he became a sensation to booth prisoners and guards....they called it Salam's bird..
one day while the bird feeding in the prison's yard, a guard on yard patrol accidentally steps on the bird and kills it....the guard tenderly pick's it up and frantically rushes to Salam's cell crying hysterically asking him to do something to save the bird... what happened?, the guard explained.. then to my dad's surprise, asked him for forgiveness for killing the bird and how much he loved the bird..of course I forgive you, Salam replied, they hugged each other and shared favorite memories of the bird.
A magical transformation took place afterward, the unfriendly guard became nice and friendly, in the days after the guard and Salam became good friends sharing stories about their families, my dad an artist painted a a portrait of him with his family from a picture he gave him as a gift, because of his help, dad was able to smuggle out 20 oil paintings ...over a 120 painting confiscated by the jail authorities citing they are too political. (one painting was hanging in the warden office a portrait of a lion behind bars, the warden said to Salam you see even if you're lions we can still put you behind bars, my dad replied: no.on the contrary..even if you put us behind bars we still lions)
so thank you for reading and hope you too can be inspired by this to forgive your enemies and plant the seed of love and peace and thank you dad for the gift of peace you implanted in me...
.. my sister and I joined my dad in SF in 1989...
To my dad's delight I ended up meeting a Jewish woman whom I married and had 2 kids, I'm so proud of their heritage....my daughter said lets call it Israelestaine..
Peace to all being and thank you for spreading love to all.
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