I am sitting here next to my computer listening to all the pearls of wisdom on the radio. All the fear mongers, all those who will sacrifice the life of Gilad so easily. Those who overnight know all the statistics, know just how many more families will be attacked by the prisoners who will be freed.
I think to myself, do they have any idea what it is like not knowing where your child is, whether he suffers, or does he know that you are doing everything possible under the sun to save his life? Or is he in some dark room, friendless and without hope? Does he imagine that his parents are living in a tent outside the prime minister’s residence, exposed to all the advice, occasional support and occasional abuse of those who are always in the right and are the continuous voices of doom and gloom?
I think of my beloved David; if he had not been killed by a sniper, he would probably have been at the tent supporting the Shalit family. He would have understood the value of human life. He would have understood that in the conflict in Ireland and in South Africa, prisoners with no less blood on their hands than the Palestinian prisoners were freed so that an impetus for negotiations could be created. Some of the greatest peacemakers in those two countries came out of dark cells.
And now I am thinking, if they free the man who killed David, what would I honestly feel? I search inside and come up with the answer that the life of Gilad and the peace for his family is worth everything. Besides, what petty satisfaction and revenge would I feel if the killer stayed in jail for the rest of his life? Would that fill the void which is always in my heart?
There is no revenge for a lost loved one.
And then I think of the pain of the Palestinian mothers in our group. This may be difficult for some to swallow, but the pain is the same as mine and the tears are the same color.
We have discovered in the Parents Circle – Families Forum, both the Palestinian and Israeli members who have lost immediate family members, that without understanding the narrative of the other, without understanding the needs and the fears, there can only be a ceasefire until the next time.
We must find a way to achieve reconciliation, with the deep realization that "No man is free, until all men are free.” Without acknowledging the rights of each other we will become victims of those doom and gloom voices I hear on the radio.
Let us allow the Shalit family some dignity and grace and solace. How much longer should they have spent in that sad tent waiting for news and hoping for compassion?
Robi Damelin, the mother of David Damelin, is a member of the Israeli-Palestinian Parents Circle – Families Forum. David was killed on March 3, 2002 in a terrorist attack at the Ofra checkpoint where he performed his reserve service. He was 29-years-old.
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