It was a Monday afternoon, in a poor suburb of Casablanca.
I was visiting Syrian refugees. White and nude walls, a small old carpet in the floor, four cushions spread around, and a little silent television put in the corner of the room. Fatima (8 years old), Fayrouz (6) and Rehab (4) are sitting just next to me and smile shyly when I look at them. The three little girls are from Homs, and arrived to Casablanca few months ago with their parents and grandfather, escaping an endless and terrifying war. But what they found in Casablanca was another struggle: a struggle to find a job, a struggle to find a place to live, a struggle to register the girls in a school, to get medication for the grandfather… The mother wipes away a tear: she hopes her girls will soon find a school, she worries about their education. So do I.
It was in my office, a regular morning. I was having my coffee while reading the daily press. And here it was. An article that I had to read twice to make sure I was understanding it well. Some Moroccan deputies were asking the Parliament to issue a law to make any act of “normalization” with Israel a penal crime. Actually, and to be more precise, they were considering as a crime any normalization with “Israelis”, since this was issued after some Israelis of Moroccan descent came here for a visit with Moroccan students, to discuss their common Berber origins and history. What was even more shocking is that there were not only the “Islamists” (those who warmly welcomed the leader of Hamas one year ago at their Congress, and the Ofer Bronstein who, for what I know…is Israeli) who asked for this law: leftist parties agreed on it too. I had (once again) this terrible feeling of powerlessness in front of such use and manipulation of the Middle East conflict by politicians who have time for such populist polemics but no time to think of employment, educational, economic, social, efficient policies. They should more worry on that. Because so do I.
These two events (among many others) woke me up. These last months I was unable to write a single word. I found that silence was a friend, who cheered me up and took me away from the absurd, violent nonsense and noise of our world. But if I may love silence and kind of get used to it, I will never be deaf, because the noise always finds its way to come to me, to us. Syria was sitting next to me that Monday afternoon, and was asking me questions through the eyes of Fatima, Fayrouz and Rehab. Israel and Palestine were irrupting in my country’s political life, asking me to take a statement on that. An event happening far away always has an impact somewhere else.
And so will the Yala Peace Conference. This small event in the Jordan dead sea, with thousands of young Middle East people who truly want to live in peace, will have an impact somewhere, some day. It already has, just by making the impossible possible. The world may not want to hear about it now, it will come to the world one day or another, and wake it up. Because it is time to end the nightmare. And Yala young people will end it, because they are not afraid by their dreams. They are embracing them. And so do I now.
YaLa Young Leaders