Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Can you understand how difficult it is for me to read that I have no right to be living in my home, that I am a criminal, a thief, a murderess, a Nazi?

* * * *

When we have an idea in our head, we often close our eyes and ears to anything that doesn’t coincide with this idea. We already know. We don’t need any further input.

I know I do this. I may try not to, but I do. Bish finds this tendency of mine extremely infuriating. I think the trick is to try and be aware that this is happening and then there is a possibility that we will manage to open ourselves to other ideas.

I know this doesn’t happen just to me. It happens to other people too.

If, for instance, I am discussing what anti-Zionism means to an Israeli, and you are a caring person, who is very concerned about Palestinian rights, you might not be able to hear what I am saying at all. This might happen if, for instance, all the time that you are listening, a little voice inside your head is shouting “But what about the injustice to the Palestinians? But what about the injustice to the Palestinians? But what about the injustice to the Palestinians?” and so you are not able to hear my words, above the racket the little voice is making.

Maybe I am not talking about the Palestinians right now. Maybe I am saying something that is not about the Palestinians that is worth listening to. Maybe I am saying something that will help you understand why Israelis do things that they do. Things are usually not black and white, after all.

Maybe, even if you don’t change the idea you have in your head as a result, hearing another point of view, without immediately judging, can enrich you and to some extent deepen your insight into the situation.

And then, when I come to listen to what you have to say, knowing that you have listened to me, really listened, maybe even with some compassion, it will be easier for me to open my heart to your point of view, as well.

So this is what I am going to do – I am going to make an effort to be better at listening to other points of view, and I am going to try to be more aware of when I am shutting things out with the little voice shouting in my head. This is very difficult, because I find many things I read and hear extremely threatening. And then fear arises, followed by anger and defensiveness.

Update: Thank you, Angua.