Friday, September 11, 2009

I met Carmel !

Good evening everyone

As I was attending an Intercultural Dialogue between Euro-Mid Bloggers, an online campaign been launched called “Restoring Trust, Rebuilding Bridges”, sponsored by the ANNA LINDH foundation, starting today Sept. 11th until Sept. 21st, celebrating the International Peace Day.

We are supposed to post for Trust on the 11th of Sept., I kept thinking on what should my post will be about? Giving that I don’t want to copy-paste any article from the web, with no cliché slogans, or a need to conduct activities because there's a budget for it! like a friend said earlier.

That’s when I remember that I met Camrel...

Carmel Vaisman a friend from Israel, I got to know her days before going to Luxembourg, a participant from Israel? I have never met someone from this Usurped, Violent, and Occupier country before! I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to handle a conversation between us both, I was afraid of either a total shutdown from her, or maybe shouting and disagreement about all issues!

An Icon on my Blog was a big issue for me, this icon was on my right part of the Blog since I first started to write my personal thoughts on a Blog, the icon was the Israeli Six-Pointed Star, with a foot print stepping on it, why I putted this logo? I don’t recall, but sure I was full of hatred toward Israel, seeing their crimes everyday on television and everywhere!

This post about me having those two minute of thinking, should I remove this icon before I go to Luxembourg to have an intercultural dialogue between 19 blogger from 18 different countries from all of Europe, Middle East and Northern Africa? Including Carmel from Israel?

I decided to remove the icon!

And give myself and Carmel a chance to talk!

And exactly that’s what really happened, when I got to Luxembourg and met Sarah, Christoforos, Mehdi and Carmel, at this fine restaurant in front of the Grand Bus Station, I found out that Carmel is kind, smart, and knew how to gain friends among us middle eastern, Actually, I was amazed when she knew how to became friend of my Palestinian friend, Majd.

I felt happy that I made this change in my Blog, a minor change yet big step towards new way of thinking and dealing with the others, maybe she’s reading my post now and wondering about the whole thing, cause I didn’t tell anybody about this change I made before leaving to Luxembourg, but I am really grateful for what I did, because it made me wonder..!!

How we can offend the other and yet ask for Understanding? How we refuse to give the other the chance to express how they might be somehow angry from their government, and yet asking them to stand against its actions!? How we treat the other as a ONE BIG PACKAGE, while we know that we might have friends there, friends that could help us defending our cause?

What I liked about Carmel, that she was smart enough to gain friendship, even before seeing meeting any of us, I can remember her saying on our group on Facebook, “I guess I was invited in order to prove normal people exist in Israel!

As we the 19 participants have talked a lot, discussed a lot of issues, even after the culture night we got to know each other, I learned so much about Germany, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Romania, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, England, France, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Finland and Israel.

I guess I restored a trust with those new friends including Carmel, and rebuild bridges between different cultures; at least I got to know how they are feeling for so many different cases, hoping for more cooperation for the good of the peace cause.

Sure this post is not about Carmel only and how I am glad meeting her mind, am also happy I met all the group; Amira, Andreas, Ari, Bahz, Christoforos, Dynka, Gabriel, George, Jessica, Laurent, Majd, Mehdi, Michail, Samar, Shehata, Stephen, Xavi, Adam and Sarah.

I am Mohamed from Cairo, and I blog for Trust

read more bloggers who blog for trust:

Shehata tells about the monk and the samuai

Sarah tells a tale about a bridge

Stephen Spillane’s flower of identity

Laurent pod casts for trust

Ari suggests a bottom-up approach

Mehdi writes for trust, in French

Michail asks 5 questions and gives 1 answer

Xavi: 4 funerals and a wedding?


  1. Ya 3ezzo I want to congratulate you in the beginning on your post. The interesting and poetic writing style that you use is very much appealing to the reader.

    About the issue, I totally understand where you are coming from we live our whole life in Egypt without any communication with an Israeli or even a Jewish person. I had the same conflict when I was doing my MA in a Euro-Med course. I was luck to meet very different and revolutionary Israelis.
    We became good friends. they are well educated and nice people but never the less when we got in to political discussions about the Jewish history and religion there were huge ideological differences of course coming from our conflicting background. Still for me, Israel is the occupying country of my beloved Arabic Palestinian soil and still for them; this promised land of the Jewish race, which I do not believe, exists.
    In the end, it is great to have a dialogue. It is great to have your own experience and it is great to know that humans are humans everywhere but still the Palestinian issue is greater than any personal relation is.

  2. wow, ezz i had no idea this is how you felt and i didn't realize that at all as you were so friendly from the start. i think us middle easterns have much more in common and make friends much faster than with other nations so i was not surprise we made friends quickly.

    it is indeed hard to read what sara wrote in the comment above as it was hard to listen to majd present palestine in Luxembourg. i'm only begining to develop that ability myself, to listen to people speak about my home as if i've stolen it from someone else and breath deep.

    i am now in hawaii. tropical, beauiful, nobody fights over it. they let the U.S occupy them as thier 52nd country although they have thier own culture and language and i've met at least one local girl that isn't too happy about it.

    i would like for all of us who feel this place is home for them to be able to live happily under the same roof. but i am afraid of a palestinian religious and non democratic rule like presently in Gaza and i don't think anyone can blame me for wanting to continue living under a more free and modern administration like the one in israel.

    regardless of historical rights and claims of this territory, regardless of the wrongs being done in order to keep it by this administration - this is my home and i wanna stay here, and i want to find a way for palestinian people who are not into terrorism to stay here too. may God help us all.

  3. Thanks Ezz for the contribution and most of all for posting the others blogs on yours! That was nice and helpful! :)

  4. Thanks Ezz for ur post,and u know its my first time to read a blog and I found it an important issue to talk about,nowadays many people have arguments about ur right and my right,ur country and my country,they just stereotype everything;cant see that every rule has its own exception.Most of us have never met an Israeli,still they believe that they r bad and the worst ppl on earth,how can we judge without contacting them?! I think a huge role is played by the media and the governments to keep this gap wide open,but why is the question I cant answer yet!!

    well for me I had this idea in my head going for long,what if there were no names;so that Ahmed doesnt represent a Muslim,George doesnt represnt a Christian and Issac doesnt represent a jew,so that am not my name or nationality;simply Iam ME;I think we would have dealt with ppl without judging,cause I dont care about ur background or where u come from; I just care about the human u are.

    Every family has its bad members,pretty much as governments and countries;but after all our concern is the good members in the family,its those who can leave a good heritage after them,even if its only one member.

    Am not with wars or things happening in Palestine or anywhere in the world,but am totally against stereotyping.

    Thanks again EZz :)

  5. Man, you're disappointing me really ...
    and now I get an idea of what's happening with all the conventions and youth gatherings in Europe and the US. IT's to wipe out the memory of our youth. Coexistence?
    Give me a break, since when was taking our lands and acting peaceful and open-minded became good dialog?

    get out from our land first then let the dialog begin.

    I have no problem with jews, Christians or any other religion followers .

    My problem is with my fellow countrymen who decided to shut down his memory and forget ... to zero out the counter and start from now.

    My problem is with you ezz. Why did your remove the banner?

    I had no problem with you talking to Carmel and she does look like a nice person ... but that doesn't stop our problems with israel or the israelis. Peace has a price which is justice.

    as long as there's no justice I"ll always have a problem with israelis , I can talk with them , negotiate or dialog or whatever, but I can never treate them as friends , because I have a legacy not of hatred but a legacy of honorable struggle with them in order to get back what they took from us.

    It's sad to see that you adapted to the new world order completely and decided not to struggle to get back what's yours.

    With all the israelis did to us and to our families and friends in palestine ... and with its 200 nuclear weapons ... I always believed victory was possible ... coz there're still people who remember ...

    I respect you man , and I always did ... but what you're doing now ... really makes me feel betrayed and defeated

  6. over a year later there's a small chance it's still relevant for the last samurai here above... but I'll say it anyway. there's a difference between a country and a society. I'm just a person, i don't choose the side I'm born to and i live where my home is even if i don't agree with the administration. we all do that. as we speak, Ezz is offline protesting against Mubarak. i cannot blame Ezz for whatever Mubarak did as no one can hold me responsible for whatever an Israeli PM or General does. *i* didn't choose any of them and frankly i feel i've got no one to choose from. even in a democracy you don't always get what you want. you'll see it when Egypt will be democratic soon... in my eyes, the land is neither yours or mine, samurai. imagine there were no countries and people could just live everywhere they like in a global economy with small self run communities.. that's my vision. I'm not your enemy and you shouldn't dislike Ezz for seeing me as a person and not as walking symbol of smth i don't care to represent. you can still hate my country if you want, and rightfully so from your perspective...

  7. Last Samurai,
    I think you are missing out the major point of this discussion. You are looking on Israelis as one group with single mind and single desire, when all who write here in this Blog, try to show you that you shouldn't look on them in that way. Some of us feel bad for the Palestinians, some of us regret what have been done to them during the years and even now in Gaza. Most of us want to live in peace with them, and try to come up with some answer to that, but all people like you do, is just light up a fire and point a finger toward all of us, and say "what they took from us, what they did to us" etc. Blaming won't solve a thing, insulting won't help either. We need to find the way to co-exist with one another, or there will never be peace. There will never be "Victory" in this conflict, because no side can win this. Both of our people are here to stay, and the sooner we understand this, the sooner we understand both people want peace and not bloodshed, the sooner we understand that what our goverments say is not always the will and wishes of the people themselves, the sooner we understand that Killers and Terrorists exist in both sides, but they do not represent all the people... The sooner we understand all this, and understand that the other side are human beings, just like us, that's when peace will be possible. Peace will not come by thinking and mentioning all the bad things that happened to both sides, cause that's a dead-end...

    And as for the person who wrote this Blog, I salute you for having the courage to write this article, and for doing what you've done. I would still salute you even if you put back the banner, because I appriciate you for using your own mind and intellect, and keeping an open head for hearing other people and trying to see what so many others refuse to even try. I believe that if we could somehow arrange for our nations to get to know better the little people, and not all the things we hear on the news or from our goverments, peace would be coming fast. Meetings like these, are the things that make both sides see that the other side is not a monster like they have been taught, but a human being who want peace and happyness, just like them. I thank you for keeping an open mind, and wish more will follow your example, from both sides of the conflict.