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Shalom

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Shalom/Salaam: A personal Palestinian Perspective By: Munir Fasheh

The Palestinian perspective on peace and its connection to the current international perspective is an analogy of Arawaks and the early Europeans contrast ideologies of peace in the 13th century. For the Arawak tribe peace meant retaining good relations with strangers where as for the Europeans it symbolized obedience and subduing the ‘other.’ Similarly, in today’s world the Palestinians follow the Arabic term of peace meaning greetings and salutation and take it a step forward by emphasizing more on harmonious relations whereas the international system is imposing a western perspective of peace as a the ideal model.

The author further elaborates this analogy by the dividing the article into three main sections: the harmonious relations amongst the Palestinians that the author grew up in, explanation of peace at the institutional level and lastly, the Palestinian perspective of peace in a personal and an interpersonal level.

According to the authors stories Palestinians depend on their community, surroundings and culture as the backbone of their lives. Even under the Israeli military occupation the Palestinians lived under warm, nurturing relationships full of aliveness, dignity, generosity and freedom. People in the region followed a common cultural practice that consisted of three different religions Christian women would go to an Islamic town to pray under a Jewish symbolic tree to conceive. All these examples express respect and recognition towards others, which further advocates the notion of peace.

Institutions and formal language has imprisoned the individual mind to see the world through words, abstractions, definitions and identities through a linear line. Once it is formalized the term loses its energy and spirit. The word Arabic in peace along with salaam means ‘Al-Muthanna’ that doesn’t have an English translation thus might confuse the western intellect mind. However it exists in the Arab culture referring to the third person-relationship- between ‘you’ and ‘I’.

The attitude and logic of the institutions of education and religion in a way leads to psychological perceptual violence as they stated there is nothing of value a person can learn from in his/her community or culture. Peace without dignity and respect is lifeless and shallow.

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