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by Daniel Kroft, Gray Academy Student

After more than 3 years in Afghanistan, and the seemingly ancient Arab-Israeli conflict, citizens of Canada have become sceptical of relying on their leaders to make peace. A group of students have realized this, and organized their own peace talks from a very unusual source: Facebook. “My Polls”, an application of the social networking site, has given the opportunity for teens to discuss important issues, such as the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. I was lucky enough to be involved in one of these conversations.

When I first got involved, the comments I read were based purely on opinion, and most of them very rude. I joined in excitedly, determined to give my two cents in the matter. After a few minutes, I suggested to the Israeli boy, Palestinian girl, and several Winnipeggers that were involved in the conversation that instead of cursing and name-calling, we should instead post links to websites with actual facts on the matter, in order to make for a more fruitful and meaningful dialogue

In the blink of an eye, the entire conversation changed for the better. People began posting links and videos and discussing rather than arguing, and some fantastic points of view began to emerge. “We only fight back because you guys insult people. You don’t know or never have walked in their shoes. Even though I haven’t been in the war before, I still know how they feel,” said the Palestinian youth.

“We are still people, and if you are willing to listen, and if we are as well, none of us will have to deal with this anymore. But that won’t happen… Leaders are too corrupt,” a student from Gray Academy explained hopelessly.

And a response from the Palestinian: “Forget the leaders. It’s not like they’re controlling us. I think they pick the wrong leaders all the time…”

Many good points and interesting topics later, everything started to come together. “I hope that eventually, people like “Sarah” and “Ahmed” will make their opinions known so we can finally have someone to talk to that’s actually interested in having peace!” said a Gray Academy student.

“Sarah”, the Palestinian, made a wonderful point that summed up our conversation: “People have to show each other that it doesn’t matter where we come from. We’re still all people – equally.” At the end of our conversation we realized that we don’t need politicians to make peace for us. We, in our own homes, can try to make efforts to bring about peace in the Middle East – with one click of the mouse.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.