Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"...being human comes before every conflict"

As many of you know, I volunteer for The Jerusalem Youth Chorus, a programme for Israeli and Palestinian students that empowers young singers to become leaders for peace in their communities by providing a space where they can engage one another in musical and verbal dialogue.

One of the biggest challenges faced by the Chorus and its members is the mandatory service for young Israelis, as the students try to navigate their values, security, and friendships. Evyatar Ofri, one of the founding members of the Chorus and a star of the “Home” music video, recently had an encounter while on his service that captures the impacts the choir is trying to make on greater scales.

Regardless of what you think of the military structures and broader systems of power currently governing his life, Evyatar is reaching out compassionately and powerfully. Thanks in large part to his time with the Chorus, Evyatar is equipped not only with the tools to hurt but also the tools to heal.

Translated from his Hebrew, Evyatar says:
"Today I met one of the most beautiful little girls I've ever seen, an Arab girl about 10 years old. She was looking for some food in a trash can about 500 meters away from where I serve in the desert. I noticed her while I was cleaning our site and took the trash out. She was standing there with her two donkeys, looking for food in the garbage, and having no success. She was wearing rags and a smile, barefoot with wild hair, yet at the same time very cute. I asked her what her name was in Arabic: Ranin.
"Then I asked her to wait a minute (stanna shwayeh), and I went as fast as I could to my room, took a box of my favorite cereal with me, and brought it back to her. The smile that she had on her face made my day, and even with the language barrier we understood each other.
"In that moment, this little girl reminded me that behind every religion, race or gender there are people, and human beings that just want to be happy and live peacefully, and we should never forget that being human comes before every conflict."


  1. Hi Bex. Stumbled upon your youtube video on constructivism after hours of reading the recommended literature and still not understanding. Your wit and frankness made it clear to me. Thanks for that. I have binge watched most of your videos. Will resume this evening. I am doing an Mphil in international peace studies at Trinity college in Dublin. I hope to proceed to a Phd at the end of the academic year. My curiosities fare on the role of media representation in conflict in Africa, IR theories in relation to Africa. Anyways just thought to thank you for your insights. Best of luck with everything .

  2. I'm taking this one in to my writing class tomorrow. Ten of my works will appear in a 280-page anthology from our group to be released next Thursday.Mine is mostly silly stuff. 5 songs, 2 poems and 3 short essays in response to suggestions
    from the group leader. Uncle Al