What can a Palestinian activist learn from ‘Schindler’s List’

Aziz Abu Sarah, a self-described Jerusalem-born Palestinian peace activist, blogs about marking Yom HaShoah by viewing "Schindler’s List":

… Visiting the Holocaust Museum and allowing my friends to share their stories was pivotal for my relationship with them. I could understand where they were coming from. I could empathize with their feelings that the world is against them. The Holocaust had shaped their awareness of the world around them, and my understanding of this tragedy was important for them to successfully communicate with me.

This is why I decided to remember the Holocaust this year. Watching Schindler’s List, I was moved by the story to a degree that I cannot describe. It was impossible to fight the tears streaming from my eyes. The connection I made with those who suffered the Holocaust goes beyond nationality, religion or race; it was the connection of one man to another in the face of universally understandable pain.

At the end of the move, Oscar Schindler was given a ring inscribed with the words “If you save a life you save the world,” a phrase from the Talmud. Today this statement stands true for all of those men and women active in bringing an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But in my story, I want to deliver a message to the cynics, the hopeless, and the ones who have given up on the quest for peace. This message is also to the many people who have questioned the small grassroots initiatives, the meetings, the dialogue groups, the interfaith projects, the demonstrations, and protests against the killing of people, Arabs and Jews. If you can save one life, you are saving the world.

My challenge is this: Oscar Schindler regretted not doing more to save more people. He cried for not selling his car, his pin, and everything else in his possession just to ransom one more life. Governments, nations and even some religious groups donate billions of dollars for weapons, yet when it comes to promoting understanding, life, and coexistence, our governments and people are broke. I want us to consider, can we put a price on saving one life? Can we put a price on saving the world? It is vital to protect our values and humanity regardless of the cost we must pay for it. Oscar Schindler was able to save a thousand lives, and it was well worth it. How many lives can you save?

Click here to read the full blog post. Hat tip: Ha’aretz.

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