Personal Reflection on Gaza… A letter I Wrote to Friends….

In this period I did not take on an opportunity to travel to the peace research village in Tamera Portugal and be with a group of close friends that are engaging in a deep process to build what will be a Peace Research Village (PRV) in the Middle East…. For many reasons I was not able to travel, today I sent them the following reflection:

Dear beloved, dear community…

… I acknowledge that I am doing nothing and acknowledge that my presence here is not providing any relief to those in Gaza who are suffering or in the West Bank who are growing in hopelessness.

My presence here is mostly important for my internal development and growth and in preparing for the future, a future where real opportunities for peaceful coexistence based on equality are made available to all. Since this war on Gaza began, I have been in a deep process to distinguish my own emotions and reactions and even interpretations and identity from the reality, but more important it has been a process to distinguish the nails in my feet from my responsibilities for the future.

I hear and sense the pain and my heart breaks with the cry of every mother or father that lost a child or a child that lost a parent. At one point every time I saw a child from Gaza on television I saw the face of my daughters, Layaar or Larina.

The emotion is there, but I can not, and do not, allow it to take over my being as I also can not, and do not, allow for my ego to do the same. I have no answers to deal with the “now”; I have no ability to prevent a bomb from falling on a house “now”; I can blame and complain and grow deeper in pity and hopelessness, but that will only place me back in the cocoon of victimization and powerlessness. I can come up with an analysis on who started it and who is responsible, but that will only relief me from my responsibility, as a human… as a being.

I will not ask why? Why only creates more questions than answers… I will only ask: what can I do to create deep and real transformation in healing? Not only to heal the victim but the victimizer as well.

I get emails and calls from all around the world from people, who in the best of intentions are sharing their sympathy, disgust, pity, sadness, rage, hopelessness or anger to what is happening. So many people ask me “what can we do to help now?” I have no answer for them as I have no answer for myself that I can put in a public conversation and would make sense. My answers are now in my own internal process and internal conversation and in me declaring that I am fully responsible for what is happening.

The answer lies in the things that I know; and I have begun to distinguish them in my own self. The answer also lies in the things I know that I don’t know and I seek deeper knowledge in these things… This said I also acknowledge that that greatest answers are in what I truly seek to discover; the things that I don’t know I don’t know…

All I know is that we need to continue building our models… models of leadership that are committed to a future that goes beyond everyone’s imagination, models of relationships that break all barriers and identities, models of self organizing community living that are truly based on creating relationships of deep trust, respect and transparency at all levels and in all circumstances.

There is no easy path but there is no impossible path as well. My prayers are with you and my heart is full of joy in knowing that the future is always ready for us to paint our drawings on it in the colors we chose.

In peace and love,


As I completed this letter I got a call from my uncle (mother’s brother) in Gaza. He has his wife, three children and another aunt living with him. The fighting is now in the street where they live and their building is under attack. They are not able to escape. I heard a cousin crying in the background. I stay and live and am in hope.

Update: the family made it safe from the bulding and are now living with other relatives; still not knowing what the next minute brings.


16 thoughts on “Personal Reflection on Gaza… A letter I Wrote to Friends….

  1. Check out the new song, “A Message From Gaza,” from Hip-Hop’s favorite son, Doktah Soose. Written from the perspective of a would be jihadi, the track tells a tale of a disenfranchised young adult who sees life as one tragedy after another. Follow him as he explains the feelings and conclusions he’s reached as a result of the suffering he’s endured at the hands of his Israeli occupiers.


    “A Message From Gaza ”
    Check out Dok’s Myspace to hear the track:

  2. dorah rosen

    Dear Sami
    What you wrote is so precious and wise! I am thinking of your Uncle and family and your family and all the families and people suffering in Gaza. And that reminds me of the suffering caused by violence and greed and ignorance world wide. And that reminds me to try to follow your example of staying calm and peaceful and strong and focused and compassionate.
    Dorah Rosen (California)

  3. Sami,

    You and I have to remember at times like this that internal work is THE work, the basis of everything. As the Buddha said, “those who drive out anger and fear do the highest work in the world.”
    Love and support,

  4. Tanas

    Thank you Sami for your wonderful reflection, let me add to say, that it is so sad to see even Christian divided on this subject and some starting to preach the theology or war and forgetting what the Prince of Peace preached, the Theology of Peace. If we Love the Prince of Peace then we need to be Pro Justice and seek true peace that is build on Justice. We need to stop the hatred and violence and seek peace. If Israel want security, then they need to seek just peace built on mutual agreement.
    Blessings to all of your work and prayers for your family and every family that is caught in this violence in Gaza.

  5. ginni

    Dear, dear , dear Sami,

    Your wisdom is profound. Thank you for sharing your deep reflections with us. I send much love and have a candle lit for you and all the people in Gaza who are suffering today.

    In NOT-KNOWING solidarity and with a deep and humble bow from the Zen Peacemakers in Montague, your friend, ginni
    Salaam, Shalom

  6. I read your account and wish to share your pain during these difficult days. I am a Missioner for the Episcopal group supporting our hospital (Ahli Arab Episcopal) in Gaza.
    I live in Kansas City, which I have for years called the heartland of Zionism. As you undoubtedly know the local Jewish community is quite vociferous in its support of the type of militant IDF responses such as the one that just took place in Gaza since the Christmas season, a time of Peace in our community. Anyone can read the words on the local Jewish newspaper on-line and observe the almost fanatical adherence to strict Zionist ideology, even regarding the bloody days in Gaza.
    I am a retired Christian man, rather peaceful fellow really, but have observed for years the silence emanating from virtually all local churches regarding the plight of the Palestinians. The only exceptions are those Christian Zionists who meet periodically with the Jewish community to celebrate their rather bizarre connection.
    We did have a very vigorous and excellent protest day on Gaza in this city on January 1st, and I was quite proud of the participants who numbered around two hundred, I would say. But they were almost all members of the local Muslim community; very, very few Christians were present.
    Thus the tragedy in Gaza has been years in the making. Until the Christian communities can somehow rise up and say “No More!” (in the spirit of Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu), then this tragedy will undoubtedly continue. This is a fundamental premise to non-violent protests and community organizations – currently understood by our new President Obama – but thus sadly the new administration will probably not offer a much different alternative, mainly because those of us who care about the plight of the Palestinians have been comparatively silent in the midst of overwhelming Zionist propaganda nationwide.
    Please contact me if and when you visit Kansas City. I can at least bring you to some local Christians who have been supportive both emotionally and physically (including monetary contributions to Gaza from the local Episcopal community). We can break bread and reflect upon our Christian obligations towards the people of Palestine – most especially the suffering children – see website listed. Meanwhile accept my prayers and blessings from my heart to your people.

    1. Jesus Juarez

      Comments like the above are unhelpful. Christians have suffered under the rule of Hamas in Gaza and their numbers have drastically dwindled. Meanwhile, in Israel, where they are allowed to live and worship freely, their numbers have grown and the community has flourished. It’s unfortunate to see the spread of such ignorance; numerous Christians in the U.S. recognize this and are devout Zionists – not just the Jewish people you are referring to. Please get your facts straight before preaching to the world.

  7. oemissions

    OK. Let’s not study war but lets study civilian deaths, destruction of property and the environment.
    Lets also study what is it in the human nature that makes us hate, fight and refuse to love, listen and negotiate.

  8. Abdullah Hussein

    Sami you claim you care about the Palestinian people and their plight yet all I see from you is words. If you were so concerned for the victims of the Gaza war then you should have supported your bretheren in their struggle. I believe you are an opportunist and a fake. You bring shame to my people. Get off your high horse and join our people’s struggles with action, not just words.


  9. ginni

    Dear Abdullah,
    May I assure you Sami is indeed a real Peacemaker… He does write words well but he also takes physical action at the border, in the classroom, at the wall and with many organizations in and for Palestine. He is probably one of the most sincere, authentic and heart-centered Arab’s committed to the wellbeing of all his people as well as the people of the world. He has struggled and pressed himself to learn about methods of Peace that really make a difference in the lives of his people often putting his life on the line for them. Please know this to be true.
    Go in Peace.
    Salaam, ginni

  10. Tanas Alqassis

    Dear Abdullah Hussien,

    You see the biggest problem that Palestinians have these days is division and lack of trust. I am not sure how you came to your conclusion about Sami, but let me ask you, what are you doing to make a difference? What kind of actions are you talking about? Let me add, that one on the biggest problems Palestinians have are bad PR and I want to assure you that Sami, is an excellent PR and walks his talks. I take groups to Palestine through Sami’s work, and trust me when I say, most of the groups are amazed, touched and have a change of heart. So instead of putting each other down, let work together for the common good of the Palestinian people. Yours, Tanas

  11. Abdullah Hussein

    Below is the response I received from Sami and my reply to him. I still have not heard back from him. Another point worth mentioning is that Sami collects IP addresses from his web site. It is legal to do so as long as he does not share them with others without a prior consent from the visitor to his site.

    Dear Abdullah.

    i really want to start by thanking you for your comment.. and i will keep it up for me and others to read.

    i will not reply in philosophy or in being defensive or in justification by listing the actions i have done in the past to prove to you that i am more actions than words. At the same time, i know that our words are part of our struggle and i am sure, you, living in the US know exactly what that means. The only real weapon in your position is what you say and how you convince Americans of how their government’s policy is a destructive one.

    I almost lost my entire mother’s family in this last attack on Gaza and it was not easy seeing that no one was doing anything… yes, including me and yes, including you and yes, every Palestinian living any where in this world. I believe in action, i live for action, but i will never fall into my action being a reaction, but will engage in proactive action that will result in real change and liberation and not just actions for the sake of revenge and retaliation or for me to postion myslef poltically to gain a “seat” in politics. I would say that when our actions turn into revenge, retaliation and positioning then we are demeaning and diverting from our core struggle to liberation.

    If you dont know what is going on in Palestine now, please contact your family and friends and believe me, they will say to you as i say now “we have become our worst enemy.” I stand in full solidarity with my people and do more than anyone can imagine, but at the same time, as you have the freedom to crticize me and accuse me, i have no problem making my voice clear when some of us also do things against our dream. We have all failed our dream.. beleive me Adullah.. for over sixty years… and the results we are in are enough proof.

    thank you again for your words and for everything you do to end the injsutice in Palestine.

    in peace,


    Sami I would not assume anything about me or my nationalism here if I were you. I am not the one claiming charity and actions. It is rather you who is full of claims. I never said that I was fighting for this cause because the last thing I want to be is a hypocrite. I would hope you think the same of yourself. I have many experiences in life and I have run into many people from our part of the world who capitalize on others’ misfortunes. I just want to verify that you are legitimate and I sure hope so. To put my doubts to rest, if you would please let me know what you have done to help these poor people who suffer every day. Do you help them financially? Do you volunteer your time? I am just curious as to what exactly you do for the Palestinians. Do you get any financial benefit out of this ordeal? Think of me as your conscience. Abdullah

  12. Dear Abdullah,
    I do apologize for my late reply and while I would have liked to respond to you and engage in a good conversation, I have to admit that not knowing you combined with your violent tone and unjustified accusations really have placed a doubt as to who you are and what your intention might be and to be honest, even if you are who you claim to be even in name.

    I truly wanted to engage in an opportunity for us to get to know each other and to see how we can be a force to continue moving forward the cause of Palestine, but you clearly have a different path and different agenda, one of insult wrongful accusations and attacks.

    To know me and what I do you can easily research me, my family and Holy Land Trust. If, after that, and if I do see a good purpose and a basic understanding of who you are, then i am ready to address any real concerns you.

    If you want this conversation to continue, I ask you to inform me (publicly or privately) who you are, what you do and what your views are.

    in peace,

  13. Abdullah Hussein

    Dear Sami

    I wonder who is insulting who when you accuse me of being verbally violent and ficticious. If every comment you receive on your site is to be in agreement with you then why even allow comments. Furthermore why would it make any difference to you who I am. Do you check the identity of those who praise you as well? I must say I am dissapointed in your response but not surprised. Not only you dodged answering my questions but you also went on the attack trying to discredit me. Your response to me demonstrates your lack of desire for transperancy. After all I am not the one making a living off the Palestinian cause. I am just your conscience that seems to have gone into hybernation long ago.

  14. Dear Abdullah,

    I believe that if it was someone else you were writing to then yes, they would have easily ignored if not deleted your comments from their blog. I am trying to truly engage with you, but at the same time, you did not create an opportunity for dialogue. I apologize if I insulted you and i have no excuse. I always keep every comment and i engage with those who criticize me more than who do not, at the end, i dont engage to justify myself or excuse my work but to learn and to teach and with you, thus far, i have found it hard. I do not want to convince you of anything that is why I did not how to answer you or was not clear on your questions.

    Maybe you have an issue with the NGO community in Palestine individuals here that you are trying to lump up as if all are members of the same gang, and even when i agree with you on some level, i beg you not to generalize all those who work here as being corrupted or as taking advantage of our just cause.

    I thank God that i make a simple and not ashamed to say a decent living, i live in a rented apartment, i own no piece of property and will probably never own one, my car is 12 years old and i only seek of it to get me back and fourth to work, my personal charity work is work that only God and those who i serve can give testimony to and not me, but when you come here you can find out for yourself, i have freed myself from any financial transactions at the organization and put my trust in the board and financial mangers and department heads to make sure all is in transparency. We submit full audit reports to all our work, audits done by international auditing firms, (not an accountant cousin of mine!!!).

    I was born in the US and am a citizen, i have had numerous offers to move back there only and to work, even for the cause and i said no, change will only come from here and those who are working here.

    There is good and bad everywhere and Palestine is no exception, we are all frustrated by what is happening, but it is important to know that those who are working and not just talking are many and I am proud to say i am one of those who has not made this cause a personal business for me or a lecture tour. You can trust my statement or not, I am not a person to gloat and that maybe a reason why i did not ask, but feel free ask and know who i am.

    in peace and respect,

  15. Aufruf zur Antikriegsdemonstration zum Qudstag
    am Samstag, den 4. September 2010

    Treffpunkt: 14.30 Uhr am Adenauerplatz
    Wegstrecke ab 15.00 Uhr: über Kudamm, Joachimstaler Strasse, Kantstrasse bis Savigny-Platz (Abschlusskundgebung)

    Der Weltkrieg ist voll im Gange, was nun?

    den neuen Teil des dritten Weltkrieges gegen den Iran verhindern und die laufenden Teilkriege beenden!
    Terror und Gewalt stoppen, Vertrauen und Frieden verbreiten!
    Hass und Feindschaft bekämpfen, Vernunft sprechen lassen!
    Die kriegstreibenden Politiker/innen abwählen. Die Demokratie retten!
    Vor allem Millionen Menschenleben retten!

    Die Antikriegsdemonstration am Qudstag ist der Marsch für den Frieden. Die „Herren der Welt“ suchen anscheinend, nach alten Rezepten aus denm 20. Jahrhundert, den Ausweg aus der selbstverschuldeten Krise in dem Krieg. Die Vernunft sagt uns, dass die Wirtschaft dem Wohlstand und das Militär der Sicherheit für die Menschen dienen soll. Aber wenige tausend unter uns 6,5 Miliarden Menschen verfügen unberechtigter Weise über den größten Teil der materiellen Macht.
    Seien es Politiker, Staatsmänner u. Staatsfrauen oder die Mächtigen der Wirtschaft. Sie scheinen fest entschlossen, schrittweise einen dritten Weltkrieg mit Millionen von Toten und weiteren verheerenden Folgen zu führen.
    Ein Krieg, der schon 2001 begann und ettapenweise fortgeführt wird. Afghanistan, Irak, Libanon, Palästina, Pakistan, Jemen, Sudan und nun Iran.
    Was für ein Zufall, dass alle Teilkriege vom Westen, also von den „freiheitlich demokratischen“ Staaten und ihrem Vorposten in der islamischen Welt, nämlich von Israel, ausgehen. Wiederum rein zufällig wird Krieg gegen die islamischen Länder geführt! Sind wir schon bei der Inszinierung der „Clash of civilizations“?
    Oder befinden wir uns bereits mitten in den neuen, modernen Kreuzzügen? Dabei ist eins sicher: der erste Verlierer des dritten Weltkrieges ist die Demokratie, die dem blutigen Wahnsinn der Mächtigen geopfert wird.
    Wir dürfen unser eigenes Schicksal und das der gesamten Menschheit nicht den bösen Kriegstreibern überlassen!
    Aus diesem Grunde appelieren wir an alle Buergerinnen, sofern sie noch bei gesundem Menschenverstand sind und nicht von den Medien verzaubert wurden,
    an der diesjährigen Qudsdemonstrationen in Berlin teilzunehmen

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