Walls of Separation
Lesley Hayoun, Women Wage Peace
I have two homelands which I love deeply. Ireland - country of my birth. Israel - country of my choice.
Both torn by war and oppression.
Ireland: A divided country, the Irish Republic in the South, British rule in the North. Witnessing the impact of terror and bloodshed. Living in an affluent neighborhood in a large house surrounded by a high wall. I am nine years old my parents are constantly busy.
Feeling lonely and excluded I search for friendship, climbing the wall to behold a world so different to mine, a long row of tiny cottages. My brothers climb up on either side, penning me in, I can no longer move. Thwarted, I am completely helpless. Tears of frustration drop silently onto my cheeks.
Determined, balancing on the handle of the locked back door I see two young sisters who invite me to play. Overcoming my fear, I lower myself over the wall into their welcoming arms. Their acceptance and compassion, sowing the seeds for my activism.
Visiting Ireland in 2007 traveling North, I was amazed to discover that the border stations of my youth were gone, made redundant by the peace agreement.
Israel: Appalled by the ever-increasing animosity, hostility, and inequality between us and the Arabs. I join Women Wage Peace, marching together with these inspiring women, striving for peace. I feel that I have finally come home, regaining the sense of purpose and belonging I had discovered as a child.
If the Irish succeeded after hundreds of years, we too can make a sustainable peace.
As women, we can dissolve the walls of hatred and violence between Israelis and Palestinians through understanding and compassion.
Lesley Hayoun, educator and activist, member of Women Wage Peace, a grassroots organization of Israeli women of every background, religion, and political affiliation aiming to reach a diplomatic Peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians with the full participation of women. Member of Servas, International Organization promoting peace, tolerance, and understanding, through traveling and hosting.