terça-feira, 17 de dezembro de 2013

Promises is a documentary that takes place in Jerusalem, which is a city with enormous significance for the two important religions of the world, which are Judaism and Islamism. Living in Jerusalem is not easy, for it is a region of great military conflict. It is in principle dominated and populated by the Jewish. It is, however, constantly harassed by terrorist attacks by fanatical islamists.

The documentary describes the reality of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict by following seven children through their daily routines. We are introduced to Daniel and Yarko, Israeli boys living in west Jerusalem; Shlomo, who lives in a Jewish quarter in Jerusalem, Orthodox, son of a Jewish rabbi; Moishe, who lives in Beit-El in the West-Bank; Faraj, son of Palestinian refugees; Mahmoud, who is a son of a merchant in Muslim quarter of the Old City; and lastly Sanabel Hassan, Palestinian, that lives in the Deheishe refuge camp, whose father is in prison by political reasons. Also her late brother was in prison.

Sanabel is the child that I can associate the most. She is a courageous girl with a very mature outlook at the world. She defends that if we are to change the world into a more peaceful place in the future, we should put all our attention on the younger generation. Old people have had their chance to make good choices and have failed badly, but the children still have a chance to grow and develop into saner or more peaceful human beings, without so the prejudice and hatred of today's adults that fueled the Jewish-Palestinian conflict.

Almost all of them had their lives affected by having a relative suffer in events related with the Conflict. Some of the children may lead more comfortable, secure lives, some may live in more harsh conditions, like Faraj, that lives in a refugee camp. It doesn't matter if the child is jewish or palestinian, he or she feels at the same time fear and curiosity about the other side.

Conversation is essential in all human relations, but specially in this case, where so much hatred and prejudice is involved, communication is much needed. Children are easily influenced by their parents views, which are often marked by suffering inflicted onto them during the conflict between jews and palestinians. If a child has no opportunity to experience the truth through the eyes of people they don't know, he or she will probably end up having preconceived ideas that are do more harm than good. This situation of lack of communication exacerbate and, most importantly, perpetuate misunderstandings.

The moment the children started to communicate with each other, they were visibly suspicious, but very open, because that is how children are anywhere in the world. They started to notice much more their similarities and affinities than their differences. Some even started - unfortunately short-lived - friendships. Curiosity and, maybe a humanist would say, the inherent good faith of the children fueled conversation and brought unexpected revelations to them.

I couldn't possibly compare my daily challenges to those of the children in Jerusalem, who have to deal with death, war and terrorism in a daily basis at a scary proximity. They live whichever way they can, but they never really feel carefree.

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