Studying And Living: Fraternity Amidst Conflict

I am hurt by the injustice of it all and, since my culture encourages people to respond to violence with violence, I also found this violence within me and would justify it when I saw it in others.

I’ve come to study in Italy at the Sophia University Institute. I had so many questions. I’m experiencing something new here, something powerful. I took the political direction for my course of study, and I began to enter new surroundings. I discovered, for example, that the principle of fraternity can be a true and proper political category alongside freedom and equality. I’ve understood that fraternity is a choice, an answer that repairs injustice. Here you don’t only study, great importance  is given to experience, and the more you live the more you understand what you are studying.

A few months back, I was enormously shocked by the news that Israel and Palestine had agreed on a prisoner exchange. I had seen it on the Internet that there would be 1 against 1027. It was incredible news! Many of these Palestinians had been in prison for thirty years. I would have desired so much to home in order to celebrate this moment with family and friends. I was really moved. I spoke at length with my fellow students about what was happening in my land and they, who are of different nationalities, feasted with me!

A few of us went to church and prayed for the freed prisoners and their families. But as we left the church one student said to me: “. . . I pray also for that Israelian prisoner.” I didn’t agree. How could she say such a thing! Exchanging one prisoner for a thousand seemed deeply unjust.

When I returned home, I took up my books again but was unable to study. I was furious. A thousand thoughts. . . then a question: what is the sense of a theoretical study of fraternity, if I don’t try to experience it? Maybe I should also pray for this one prisoner and his family. . . I had to overcome many things within me, it was difficult, it cost me much, but in the end I managed to really do it with my heart.

Now, months later I still feel so much gratitude towards those who shared that moment with me, the students and professors at SUI. I’m not merely studying fraternity, but now I’m experiencing it both in my relationship with them and within myself. Samar Bandak Jordan”.

(Source: official website of Sophia University Institute: http://www.iu-sophia.org )

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