Erich Remarque’s book, All Quiet on the Western Front tells of a remarkable encounter between two enemy soldiers during the Second World War. During battle a German soldier took shelter in crater made by artillery shells. Looking around he saw a man wounded, an enemy soldier. He was dying. The German soldier’s heart went out to him. He gave him water from his canteen and listened as the dying man spoke of his wife and children. The German helped him find his wallet and take out pictures of his family to look at one last time.
In that encounter these two men ceased to be enemies. The German had seen the wounded soldier in a new way. Not as an enemy combatant but as a father, a husband, someone who loves and is loved. Someone just like him.
This is always the path of peace and reconciliation, learning to truly see the other and in them recognising someone just like yourself.
CNN television reporter Peter Arnett was once on assignment in Israel when a bomb exploded. Through a mass of wounded people strode a man carrying a little girl. She had been badly injured by the blast. The man begged Peter to take her to a hospital. As a member of the press he was one of the few be able to get through the security cordon that police had formed. Peter agreed. He bundled the man and the girl into his car. The trip to the hospital was traumatic. Neither Peter nor the man knew if the beautiful little girl would make it.
They made it to the hospital, rushed the girl in, and waited anxiously for news. After what seemed an eternity the doctor came out with the tragic news that the little girl had died. The man collapsed in tears. Peter Arnett stumbled to comfort him as best he could. “I don’t know what to say. I can’t imagine what you must be going through. I’ve never lost a child.”
The man turned and looked at Peter. “That girl was not my daughter. I’m an Israeli settler. She was a Palestinian. But there comes a time when each of us must realize that every child, regardless of that child’s background, is a daughter or a son. There must come a time when we realize that we are all family.”
Source: unknown. I have been unable to confirm the details of this story.