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Mightywoof On May - 6 - 2010


There are, in this world, very few Good people, who practice their faith and, from that faith, hold nothing but love and peace in their hearts. One that immediately comes to mind is the Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, a good and Christian man. Yesterday I learned of another; Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a good and Moslem man.Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is Palestinian whose family lost their ancestral land in Negev to the Israelis; he was born and grew up in Gaza, poor and in squalid conditions that caused many young Palestinians to turn to terrorism and martyrdom. Dr. Abuelaish, instead, worked hard to get an education.

He received a scholarship to study medicine in Cairo, and then received a diploma from the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of London. He completed a residency in the same discipline at Soroka University Hospital in Israel, followed by a subspecialty in fetal medicine in Italy and Belgium. He then undertook a masters in public health (health policy and management) at Harvard University.

Random House http://www.randomhouse.ca/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307358882

Dr. Abuelaish went back to Palestine, living in the same refugee camp where he was born and raised, practicing medicine in both Gaza and Israel. He has been a life-affirming advocate for peace between both Palestine and Israel in spite of all the difficulties of trying to work in Israel and live in Gaza. The constant checkpoints he had to pass through each day didn’t dim his constant optimism, even when he was delayed trying to get to his dying wife’s bedside.

Four months, to the day, after his wife died the unthinkable happened; on January 16, 2009, his home was shelled by an Israeli tank. He was on the first floor of the house, the shell hit the upper floor.

Dr. Abuelaish lost three daughters that day, Bessan, aged 20, who wanted to be a doctor like her father, Mayar, aged 15, and Aya, 13, as well as one of his nieces, Noor, 17; they were blown apart. Another daughter, Shatha, who was in the same room as her dead sisters, his brother, Nasser, and one other niece, Ghaida, were seriously injured.

Dr. Abuelaish, just after the shelling, was called by an Israeli TV station for a scheduled interview, and the resulting conversation with a devastated, shell-shocked, father was broadcast live in Israel and, later, around the world. It is neither easy to watch nor hear – all human pain in the history of humankind is in this man’s voice

Let his tragic loss be the end of it, the signal to all Palestinians and Israelis to stand up and say, enough, let’s ensure that this tragedy does not repeat itself again ….

Daniel Lubetzky

This good doctor now lives in Toronto, an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

I heard Dr. Abuelaish interviewed yesterday on The Current, CBC Radio. It was a harrowing interview with the pain of his loss still evident in his voice when he speaks of his three dead daughters; but he also spoke of them with love and of their hopes and dreams of what they wanted to become. There is an audio of this interview should you care to listen to it. Scroll down to the Featured Audio column on the right hand side and click on May 5, 2010, Part 2; the audio will automatically begin.


Dr. Abuelaish continues to work for Palestinian/Israeli reconciliation and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year. Through his early experiences, his work in Israel and Gaza, the loss of his wife to cancer,  to the tragedy of his daughters deaths by an Israeli tank, shell this man, this good and righteous man (in the best and fullest meaning of those words), has the grace to say

“Whom to hate?” …… “I have the right to feel angry ………. But I ask, ‘Is this the right way?’ So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is[b] I shall not hate[/b].

Toronto Star

………….. I Shall Not Hate is the title of his book, published by Random House, April 27, 2010.
I am humbled by this man’s ability to go beyond his grief and pain, his refusal to hate while still insisting on his right to be angry, his continuing work toward peace in that troubled part of the world and his work in providing young women with opportunities to get an education and a future. He is a bright spirit in a world that has found it very easy to hate Islam and all who worship under that name. He is not the only Muslim who lives his faith in love and goodness every day but we do not hear about them; we only hear hate, which is ironic when you consider the life’s work of this man who refuses to hate.



Written by Mightywoof

English by birth, Canadian by choice :). A fiscally responsible socialist. Married, no kids (unless you count a dog and a cat)

49 Responses so far.

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  1. Khirad says:

    Tales from Guantanamo: Part one -- the guard’s story


    About a former guard who travels to England to say he’s sorry to two former prisoners.

    • Mightywoof says:

      Thanks for the link Khirad. I have a story running around in my head but I don’t know if I shall ever write it -- I am so angry about that whole situation and I can’t (shouldn’t) write in anger!

  2. SueInCa says:

    Hey everyone. Thought I would stop by for a minute and check out what I have been missing.


    I remember this situation during the Israeli shelling and how tragic and sad it was for this man. Despite everything he has lost, he manages to continue to care for others in more ways than just his practice. It has been hard for him but somehow I think his ultimate reward will be great someday. We can only hope and pray for him.

  3. boomer1949 says:


  4. Questinia says:

    How many more emotions can this man possibly possess? Hatred pales in comparison to the profound grief and yearning his soul must feel every day. Being hateful would take away from the loving feelings and loss he has for his daughters. Hate has already claimed enough from the good doctor.

  5. Khirad says:

    I’d forgotten his name, but I remember the story about that broadcast on Israeli TV.

    I don’t know all the Israeli TV news programs and their content or tone, but for all the attention that those hit by suicide-bombers, rockets and other atrocities of Islamists seem (?) to get; that the Israeli public got such a visceral taste of the ‘other’ that suffers too, may have been somewhat different (but, I don’t know; Ha’aretz can show the other side, and this program was interviewing him in the first place). But, whatever the public consciousness in Israel of Palestinian suffering, I feel that that is the tragedy:

    Both Israeli and Palestinian mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, suffer and feel the same pain. Too often we forget that. It may be a tired clich

    • KQ says:

      The sad part is 11 years ago we had Israeli leadership that actually agreed to plan developed during President Clinton’s summit. But then the Palestinian leadership balked at a two state solution. Believe me I know it was not black and while like that. I’ve read many accounts of what happened during in those negotiations and I know one aid in particular was so biased towards Israel that it was one main reason the Palestinians did not accept the deal.

      However now we have Israel who will not even agree to talks. It’s very sad and the Israeli government deserves the criticism the rest of the world gives it. Face it Israel has the closest party to the GOP running their country than any democracy in the world.

      • Khirad says:

        I really wish I could pin it down too, KQuarq. Accounts vary so much, depending which side you listen to.

        The easy answer is that both sides poisoned negotiations, and I’ve read some convincing accounts from the Palestinians on how the deal was not satisfactory. That being said, elements, including Arafat, had more to gain politically from not doing a deal. And, I suspect the same holds true for Israel. And, while Israel said they were giving up a lot, they weren’t giving anything up that was rightfully theirs in the first place, in my view, and it still didn’t go far enough.

        Both sides seemed to want a deal, as long as they gave up as little as possible.

        That being said, at least Israel then was willing to negotiate. And, as so often is the case, the Palestinians may have justified (at least in their minds, and politically) the Likudnik line that talks are futile, so why engage, has been the resulting stalemate and continuing theft of Palestinian land and institutionalizing Gaza as a mass ghetto.

  6. whatsthatsound says:

    Wonderful story, Mightywoof. Thanks so much for posting it.
    “I Shall Not Hate” -- what a strong, enlightened perspective to take. I have thought about this often. First the question is “Whom to hate?” and the more we think about it, is it really even possible to hate a person? No, we hate what they DID, or DO, but not they themselves. A sickness causes them to do the things they do that harm us. We may as well hate a person for catching pneumonia.
    Then, “What to hate?” A deed? How can we hate a deed? It can enrage and infuriate us, or frighten and demoralize us, yes. But can a deed be hated? It’s roots are stupidity, ignorance, fear. Do we hate those? We might as well hate a two year old throwing a tantrum, then. Or the tantrum.
    Ultimately, we are left with only the feeling itself; hate. We have a choice. Nurture it or refuse it. It comes down to that. And that reminds me of the story of the tribal elder telling the children of the tribe that he had two wolves inside him, a loving, kind one and a hateful, ravenous one and that they are at constant war with each other. “Which will win?”, the children ask him. And he answers, “The one I feed.”

    • Mightywoof says:

      And that reminds me of the story of the tribal elder telling the children of the tribe that he had two wolves inside him, a loving, kind one and a hateful, ravenous one and that they are at constant war with each other.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        Yes, that’s it exactly. Perhaps the reason that hate is so destructive is because it is fed and nourished. With rage, you get senseless acts of violence, which are bad enough. But with hate, you get Treblinka and Abu Ghraib.

    • Questinia says:

      The glib response is “hate hate”.

      • KQ says:

        I just wish some people would stop making it so hard for me not to hate them.

        For example.

        ” alt=”fds” />

        I know I should not hate anyone but with assclowns like Fuck Dick Cheney it’s beyond my human limitations.

        • Questinia says:

          I think we should just replace “hate” with “fuck”.

          A. It gives the spin of annoyance, thereby knocking the object of disdain down a notch of importance

          B. It is also consistent with the saying “There’s a thin line between love and hate”

    • KQ says:

      Spot on and beautifully expressed. The passion I was talking about in my response to Mightywoof was the same passion I saw in your last illustration with the Pandoras box and oil metaphor. You obviously have the same passion for Gaia as you do for peace and that’s wonderful.

      I wish I could be as peaceful. I think there are some humans that are so dangerous to peace and society that we have to respond aggressively by capturing or even killing them sometimes. Sure people are driven to violence based on what they experience in life but Dr. Abuelaish is an example of someone who did more than make the right choices, he overcame all the excuses he could have made for perpetuating hate.

      So yes I do hate some people but I’m only human.

      • Questinia says:

        One in ten is a sociopath.

        They come in a full array. From mild to bat-shit psychotic. I suspect they are responsible for a full array of human ills. From the abusive, manipulative, power-hungry boss to the heads of nations and corporations (same thing prolly)

        What should society do with sociopaths?

        • Khirad says:

          I’ve wondered about this, too.

          It brings up questions of Minority Report.

          It’s a conundrum.

          • Questinia says:

            I’m sure there have been all sorts of sci-fi stories about it: Sociopaths plucked from society for the greater good. Prison systems create super-sociopaths. “Polite” society loses something because of the lack of sociopathy in the general population. Sociopaths escape, wreak havoc, re-integrate.

        • KQ says:

          Good question.

          There are millions and millions of functioning sociopaths and instead of just punishing the bad behavior maybe we should study to find why many sociopaths do not hinder society.

          • Questinia says:

            Can you clarify, KQ? What do you mean by “not hinder”?

            • KQ says:

              I mean many just figure out a way to exist without damaging those around them. There’s a difference between just being a functioning member of society and a positive member.

            • PepeLepew says:

              I think I described (utterly incapable of giving a damn about the effect of one’s behaviour or actions on another person) as narcissistic personality disorder.

              I’m pretty sure I dated a couple of women with NPD back in the day.

            • Khirad says:

              It can be a nebulous term, Pepe, as far as I know.

              It can be referring to Antisocial Personality Disorder (per the DSM), and there is debate on how this, sociopathology and psychopathology overlap and interrelate.

              It goes as this, from the DSM-IV:

              A. There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 18 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:
              a. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
              b. deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
              c. impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
              d. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
              e. reckless disregard for safety of self or others
              f. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations
              g. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another
              B. The individual is at least 18 years old (under 18 see Conduct Disorder)
              C. There is evidence of Conduct Disorder with onset before age 15 years.
              D. The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia or a Manic Episode.

            • PepeLepew says:

              I wonder if there is a clear and agreed-upon definition of what makes up a sociopath?

              To me a sociopath is someone utterly incapable of caring about the effects of their decisions or their behaviour upon other people.

            • Questinia says:

              It’s a good question, KQ. People who are sociopathic are detected by their “as if’ qualities. They act as if they are sincere. Their interactions are marked by a histrionic shallowness (either that of complete lack of affect). For people who possess a conscience and the full palette human emotion, it is possible to detect the falseness.

              These people know the words, but they don’t know the melody.

            • KQ says:

              I have no problem with educating people about dealing with sociopaths. But then wouldn’t you be educating the 10% that are sociopaths too?

              I’m being factious but I think we can both agree that dealing with sociopaths is perhaps our biggest problem but it’s probably our most difficult problem to solve as well.

            • Questinia says:

              But the sociopath is all about getting over on others. Being passive and neutral are not in their repertoire. I think educating the public is important.

              If people were educated as to what to look for regarding sociopaths, it may actually create a social pressure for sociopaths to change.

      • Khirad says:

        I admire this man, because, I don’t know if I could overcome the rage -- which has nothing to do with religion -- of losing my family.

        I, too, am only human -- and not a saint.

        Men like this, Elie Wiesel, Desmond Tutu, Tenzin Gyatso, Mahatma Gandhi, etc., have an inner strength, and faith in the peace of forgiveness, which I could never measure up to.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        I understand and respect that, KQ. I don’t hate anyone, but I completely agree with you that there are people so benighted that, at least in this life, they are irredeemable.

        And thanks for your words about my post.

  7. Chernynkaya says:

    Mighty, that piece was a blessing to us all. Thank you so much for posting.

  8. KQ says:

    Mightywoof excellent piece. It’s so good to hear about a man so devoted to peace and humanity despite the hate he’s seen all around him his whole life. It’s easy to hate, because it’s built off one of our strongest emotions, fear. Truly brave and exceptional human beings like Dr. Abuelaish move past this fear and learn to love not hate. I am honored to now know just a little about an extraordinary man like this because of your article.

    • Mightywoof says:

      It has taken months for me to pluck up the courage to write anything and, yesterday, after hearing of this brave doctor, the piece just wrote itself. It is my honor to have introduced his story to the Planet.

      • KQ says:

        Awesome I love when a piece just flows. You usually need one crucial thing to write a story like that, you have to be passionate about it. That’s why I appreciate your story so much I can see your passion for peace in it as well.

  9. choicelady says:

    Mightwoof -- this is both heartbreaking AND enormously hopeful! What an amazing man this is! Thank you for reminding all of us -- and especially me who is often under siege from the Religious Right -- that anger is one thing, hate is quite another.

    I have spent the morning replying to Christian extremists who are attacking the Military Religious Freedom Foundation that my organization supports. MRFF just got extremist Franklin Graham dis-invited from being the prayer “warrior” at the Pentagon, and all hell has broken out from his supporters. I have taken this message you posted to heart in my replies to people who say we are the Devil’s spawn, not Christian, and worse. My replies have been firm but not hateful for how can I rebuke Graham for his virulent anti-Islam rhetoric and then USE vitriol myself? I take the doctor’s lead -- I Shall Not Hate.

    Thank you for telling us of him, his experiences, his writings. He is a hugely important figure for good and for justice. I deeply appreciate your posting this!

    • KQ says:

      I’m glad you commented. High profile peacemakers like Dr. Abuelaish are important to make the world a little bit better. But it takes thousands if not millions of people like you CL to put that dream in motion. So I just want to say thank you.

    • Mightywoof says:

      CLady -- thank you for your kind words -- it means a lot coming from you, one of life’s Good people in my book.

      Graham is such a misinformed and blinkered person. I also try to emulate the ‘anger not hate’ in my life. Sometimes it’s hard to stop crossing that fine line. I shall remember not to hate Graham and others like him but I reserve the right to hate his words and their actions!

  10. Mightywoof says:

    AdLib was good enough to help me get this published -- I was defeated by all the bells and whistles …….. but in the process I’ve lost a couple of links that I’ll stick here as I don’t want to tempt the gods (or AdLib) by trying to edit for the umpty-umpth time

    For the audio recording on CBC Radio:


    Random House


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