Studies and Life: Fraternity in the Conflict

Studies and Life: Fraternity in the Conflict

Samar Bandak - Jordan

 

"My family has been living in Jordan for years, but we are of Palestinian origin. I personally feel the tragedy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As everyone knows, the situation is still very grave. My father has been prohibited from going back to Palestine, due to political reasons, for over 30 years. For me, it is difficult to even simply go and visit my relatives in Bethlehem. Some members of my family have been imprisoned in Israel; others have died because of the war.

 

The injustice of these events pains me, and since the culture in which I was born encourages people to respond to violence with violence, I also felt this violence within me and I justified it each time that I saw it in others.
 
I came to study in Loppiano, at the Sophia University; I had many questions...  Here I am living a new experience, a strong one. I chose the political studies track and I have begun to enter into a new panorama: I have discovered, for example, that the principle of fraternity is universal and can be a real and true category for politics, alongside that of freedom and equality. I have understood that fraternity is a choice, a response that can heal injustice. Here, We do not only study theories, but we also try to put into practice what we study, and live it through our experiences of life, the more we try to live what we learn , the more we comprehend with deeper and wider perspective the theoretical material.
 
I will tell you about an episode. A few months back, I was really struck by the news that Israel and Palestine had come to an agreement to exchange prisoners: I read in the news that it would be 1 for 1,027 others .I was really happy with this news knowing that many of these Palestinian prisoners had been in prison for thirty to forty years… I would have really liked to be home to celebrate this moment with my family and friends. I spoke at length with the other students about what was happening in my country and I was really moved when they too, even though of different nationalities, celebrated together with me this moment.
 
With some of them, we went to Church to pray for these prisoners who were being freed, for their families. At a certain point, just when we were leaving, a student told me: “… I am also praying for the Israeli prisoner.” I was agitated by what he said. How could he say such a thing! To exchange one person in place of another thousand seemed deeply unjust to me.
 
Once back home, I went to my room to study, I couldn’t concentrate. I was so angry. A thousand thoughts ran through my mind…till a question began to surface: what sense is there in studying fraternity theoretically, if I do not try to experience it? Perhaps I should also pray for this prisoner and his family… Inside of me, I had to take many steps and it was difficult. It cost me a lot, but in the end I made it and did it really with all my heart.
 
After a few months, I felt a great gratitude towards those who had lived that moment with me, the students and professors at the IUS. I am not only studying the concept of fraternity, but now I am also experiencing it, both in my relations with them and inside of me."

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