My Experience as An Intern at IFLAC By Dan LuitonPosted: 2016/12/31
My Experience as An Intern at IFLAC
By Dan Luiton
I think coming to Israel was one the best decisions I have ever made, because I have learned so many things I didn’t know, and IFLAC has played an important role in it. My experience at “IFLAC: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace,” has been a truly eye – opener about the Israeli – Arab conflict. The reason it is an eye – opener is because I learned the other side of the story – the Israeli side, by reading the Iflac Peace Anthology, and many Iflac peace books, discussions with Prof. Ada Aharoni, who was always ready to answer my questions, and the research for the writing of my assignments. Moreover, IFLAC has taught me that Peace should and can be achieved with the help of Literature and Culture.
Before I came to Israel, I had a really bad impression of Israel and Israelis in general. I thought they were horrible people because they violate human rights in relation to the Palestinians. I always said that if I ever become President my first foreign policy action would be to write a statement like “The US does not recognize the State of Israel, and we are cutting all funding to it.” In other words, I just didn’t want the State to exist; really strong words, I hated Israel without even knowing the country (because of the influence of the Palestinian propaganda). Yet, for some reason I ended up in Israel. Furthermore, my first weeks here in Israel were not really pleasant, due to the new culture I was encountering, I thought people were rude, they didn’t smile, and customer service in the shops was lacking.
IFLAC played an important role in changing my way of thinking about Israel. One of the novels that really made me change this perspective was FROM THE NILE TO THE JORDAN, by Prof. Ada Aharoni. I learned that the Palestinians were not the only victims in the creation of Israel. I learned that more Jews were expelled from most of the Arab countries, due to the creation of the State of Israel, than Palestinians who ran away from Israel. I felt that I had been brainwashed by the media, to think that only Arabs were the victims and Israel was the villain. This book was a real eye – opener for me.
Moreover, I learnt a great deal from a real story about World War Two, in the book NOT IN VAIN, also by Prof. Ada Aharoni. In this book Thea Wolf, a Jewish German nurse, living in Alexandria, Egypt, tells a surprising story of how she convinced Arab institutions in Egypt, to help her save Jews to escape from the Nazi Holocaust in Europe. It is still quite unknown that Arabs helped Jews in Egypt, through the Jewish Hospital in Alexandria, to save Jews from Nazi Europe. However, it is a historical fact, and I think this can be a good example to believe that there can be peace between the two brothers. I was so impressed by this book and by the heroine Thea Wolf that I title my review on the book THE MOTHER THERESA OF THE MIDDLE EAST.
Apart from learning the other side of the story in the Arab – Israeli Conflict, I learned that literature and poetry can be one of the weapons to promote peace. Reading poems of poets and kids about the various aspects of Peace Culture, and the promotion of peace, made me understand that peace is not something abstract; it is a goal that can and should be achieved. I learned that words can be used as “bullets to kill war” and bring peace, and this is the best way, because it does not
Kill humans. Moreover, spending time with Professor Ada Aharoni, has been a learning experience, we had several deep conversations on the Arab Israeli Conflict, and I was really amazed when she told me her story as a Jew who was uprooted for Egypt with all her 2500 year old Jewish Egyptian Community. This story was name by her: “The Second Exodus of the Jews from Egypt,” that occurred in the mid- twentieth century.
I was also amazed by the richness of the Peace Culture research and articles and stories which I read on the IFLAC websites. It has enriched my knowledge as a student of history and of Conflict resolution. It greatly helped me with the various articles I wrote under the tutelage of Prof. Ada Aharoni, and I am very glad some of them got published on amazon, in English and in Spanish (my mother tongue) as well as on the Iflac website, and on its IFLAC Digest, and in the PEACE Magazine in Spanish “UNILETRAS.”
IFLAC has made me open my eyes to the other historical side of the story of the Conflict between Israel and the Arab world. It has also given me tools and convinced me to work toward achieving peace with the help of literature and culture. For me, IFLAC has been a really rewarding experience, and I am very glad that I chose to Intern at this remarkable and so helpful organization. As its Logo states: THE PEN IS INDEED MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD.