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There is a little girl in Lebanon who wants to be a doctor when she grows up. She is nine years old, with dark brown piercing eyes, black as coal hair tucked into a scarf that tightly encircles her head. She speaks passionately and wisely; a still presence that speaks volumes. She has seen much more of death and dying in her short life than I will in all of mine. She has heard the sirens and walked among the wounded by her mother’s side handing out drinks of water to injured and dying soldiers.
She sits now, looks directly into the camera lens and clearly articulates, “I want to be a doctor. I want to take care of the injured soldiers. I want to be part of the Hezbollah and serve in their most important work of killing the Israelis. I want to take care of the Hezbollah soldiers to make sure they can fight because they fight for all of us.”
She is nine years old. There are many children who are rising up in the face of these global times. They see through different eyes. Their perspectives are the right ones for them, for their country, for this time and these views have birthed from culture, heritage, history, family. There is a rising up of children desperate to be Hezbollah doctors.
And there is another culture and another rising up of children desperate for the latest Xbox and Wii and the attendant video games that come with them. These children also are birthed from a history and family and social structure of our time. Not better or worse than any other. There is not judgment implied here; it is just a different emergent world view born of a different culture.
These children from two different worlds will meet someday and not understand each other’s language, each other’s views, each others’ worlds, each others’ dreams. They will speak to each other and not know that their views are both right and both partial in their truth telling. They will meet and speak into cameras and not know what to do as we know not what to do.
She is nine years old. You are nine years old. Now what shall you speak of?
In these times, for all of us who are decades older than this, what shall we speak of? Can we meet each other where we each are? Different countries or neighbourhoods or grocery stores? Different departments organizations or levels of power? Consultants, employees, or coaches? All of us with our different colours of hair: What shall we speak of as we stand on this common ground of breathing in and breathing out each day? If there is not a way to truly sink into another person’s perspective in our day to day lives, where we don’t fear injury or death, then we are lost in a way that two nine year olds would understand.
Take a breath. Stand in someone else’s shoes today.
© Joanne Hunt