Ten years ago, November 5th, 2005, in the Palestinian city of Jenin in West Jordan, 12-year-old Ahmed Khatib was severely injured in the head by an Israeli soldier and died shortly afterward in the hospital. He had a toy gun in his hand which the soldier has mistaken for a real gun.
His father Ismael, who himself had sat in Israeli prisons as a Palestinian activist, donated the organs of his son for three children in Israel – the children of his enemies.
He told me, when I met him at home for tea (picture): “My human action irritated the Israelis. That is something much bigger than to kill a soldier”.
He is still sad about the loss of his son, but happy to have shown mercy. As a Muslim and Palestinian. There in Jenin the situation becomes worse and worse. No reconciliation policy by the Israel government yet.
Menuha now lives with the liver of the young Palestinian. She is the daughter of an Orthodox Jewish family who thanked father Ismael for his unique gesture of reconciliation.
The Israeli Druse girl Sameh lives with the heart of the killed boy, and also the Israeli Bedouin boy Mohammed lives, because Ahmed had to die.
The German documentary maker Marcus Vetter and the Israeli Leion Geller filmed this moving story and thereby recorded a convincing template in the media for a best practice for respect and reconciliation. The film The Heart of Jenin is a great deal more powerful and illuminative than the usual news clips in the evening news about Palestinians throwing rocks or shooting Israeli soldiers, and proves how “soft” human issues of tolerance and respect can open our hearts.
It shows humanity, greatness of thinking and that tolerance and respect can prevail – in the end.
We all must support mutual respect and reconciliation, promoting universal Human Codes of Tolerance and Respect. Please visit our special website: www.codesoftolerance.com.
The Human Codes of Tolerance and Respect project addresses affinity groups who have the most influence on promoting tolerance and respect towards other religions and ethnic minorities: families, educators, religious leaders, journalists and politicians.
We include many best practises for each of the groups from all over the world to show how each group can promote a tolerant world now.
Tolerance and respect are the lifeblood of peaceful coexistence and crucial elements of the “soft powers” of peacemaking.
We need a global vision and a soul. We need globally respected moral values, and just as importantly, we need a steady promotion.
Unfortunately, today we leave the most important questions of peace, reconciliation, tolerance and respect to a loud but tiny minority of radicals, a majority of mediocre politicians, and mainly backward-looking academics.
Furthermore, we do not have an action plan like in business for their promotion.
Does this work? – No.
Will this work in the future? – Not at all!
Who can actually change the world and promote tolerance and respect effectively? Only you – the global elite of this world – can do it! – but we remain for the most part silent and passive, and we only observe the negative actions of radical minorities on TV.
We own this world intellectually.
We have influence.
We have the power.
We have a large pool of creativity and optimism.
But what do we do with all this?
I am calling for the elites in all 198 countries to take over the promotion of tolerance and respect as a common soul of our global village now.
I am calling to impeach the radicals by taking responsibility for a better world of moral values, especially for our children.
This should be one of our main tasks in 2016. Let’s go for it!