Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

Peace and Conflict-Who's Responsible?

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Apr 30, 2014 5:53 PM

I'm in Jerusalem right now. I see Jews in regular Western clothes, black Hasidic garb, various hats and caps and head coverings, shawls  and coats playing in the park, walking with families, shopping, working among Arabic Moslem and Christian colleagues and neighbors. The synagogues, mosques and churches are in different sectors and also near one another. I can buy a Jewish prayer shawl from a Moslem vendor in the Christian section of the Old City.

People just want to live their lives in peace. When asked about politics, they say that the leaders and media stir up trouble. Most people are not fanatics, including fundamentalists who worship deeply. They don't proselitize in violation of others' rights. They just want to pray and obey the rules and values of their religion. In fact, the three major religions in the area have common roots and many values and practices in common but different emphases. They don't preach violence. But the humans in each religious group may violate the original values of their faith.

At the Holocaust museum, I am reminded of how little it takes to start a genocide. Every time someone professes intolerance of another's innocent beliefs, stereotypes and condemns based on religious , racial or ethnic group and expresses prejudice, they do harm to the world. That's how it all starts, the horror. It happens somewhere, somehow, by some group all the time. We don't learn completely as a species from history.

Peace, whether in your own heart, within a family or relationship, or between groups comes from wanting it more than wanting to be right or powerful. It comes from placing love above supremacy. Everyone has a right to be safe. Believe it, live it and it can happen. Call me an idealist. If so, catch it, live it, spread it.

I'm glad to spend part of Passover and Eastern here.

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