Walls were built, hearts hardened

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor: I read the article about Myrna and Jim Wicks, and their recent trip to the Middle East with interest. The conflicts in that part of the world are complex in origin, and it is important that Islanders try to inform themselves and their neighbours about the human dimension.

The Palestinian/Israeli situation is about history, about access to water, about people thinking that walls are needed to keep people out.

Walls also end up trapping people inside as well, and there is an insight here for Islanders to take to heart. We don't want to close off ourselves, when we can greet new neighbours with open hearts. There is always room for differences, if our communities are willing to help everyone achieve their potential. On P.E.I. we can be stewards of our resources, but also stewards of our people.

The Israeli/Palestinian situation could have turned out much differently, and with much less human misery, if differences had been accommodated. When I was there in 1970, these people lived side-by-side as neighbours.

The young people I met looked ahead to a time when military service would be a thing of the past. There was real talk about "ploughshares". Unfortunately, water resources, land and money took precedence over people. Walls were built to protect these commodities, and hearts hardened.

We on P.E.I. live in the wider world, and it is important that we try to understand and care about our global neighbours, but it is also good to bring lessons home — so that we are intentional about what we want our own communities to look like. We are seeing increasing diversity here, and keeping our hearts open to our neighbours is very important. Thanks for sharing this story.    

Nancy Murphy,

Charlottetown

Geographic location: Middle East, Charlottetown

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