June 24, 2010

Home Is In the Heart

He came outside carrying a weathered silver tray, which held two glasses of hot tea. Graciously he offers his neighbor the first glass. The two men sat overlooking the view and fell into what seemed to be a long conversation. You could see from the way each settled into the chairs, this was a familiar routine.

The place -- was Gaza and the view was masses of rubble and destroyed homes. The landscape now existed forever in their memories. However in the distance across the fence were the luscious green trees of Israeli territory.

I was watching a documentary on Al Jazeera. The family was just one of the 1.5 million affected by the occupation of Gaza. There is no possible way I could express the horror and oppression of these families. However, what captured my heart was the humanity.

The family lived under a tarp of heavy plastic blended with scraps of fabric. The pieces of steel rods found by their father acted as a frame for their home. A few pieces that were salvageable filled in the empty spaces.

The parents raised their seven children living in conditions that most of us would never expect anyone could survive. The walls had been long destroyed by enemy bombing. But what not destroyed was the love --- despite missing the absolute bare necessities for shelter, the essence of what a family unit is remained untouched, faith and love.

It made me think how often do I (we) rush our visits with family or friends. If a devastating event struck our home or community, would we relinquish our humanity towards one another?

I observed in the documentary far more than the destruction. I saw hope. As long as we hold onto a shred of kindness and civility in all situations, the hatred of man towards man will never win. A home and community can’t be defined simply by man-made structures. It starts with dialogue, the sharing of ideas. Alhamdulillah it can begin over a glass of tea. May Allah SWT give freedom and justice to Gaza and all oppressed countries throughout in the world!