Let There be Peace

>> 11 December 2012

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

If we were living in Oslo in 1940, watching the young German dissident Willy Brandt, exiled from his own country, struggling against the Nazi army as it occupied Norway, not one of us would have predicted that this man would one day be the leader of Western Germany, play a role in German and European reconciliation and unity, and win the Nobel Peace Prize. The difference between Willy Brandt, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Martin Luther King, Jr, and us is that those people believed that they could make the future, that they can change things. And they did.
I’m happy now to announce that I’m going to visit Israel and Palestine for the first time in my life, finally, after a long time of being denied travel by Egyptian authorities, and after being pushed away by the Israeli embassy in Cairo.
I am scheduled to give my first speech on December 23 at the Truman Institute of The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the same university which Ahmed Lutfi el-Sayed, my godfather, represented Egypt at its opening ceremony nine decades ago.
Later during my stay, I’ll also speak for The World Union of Jewish Students in 31 December 2012, and also for Tel Aviv University in 2 January 2013. I’ll also visit Ramallah (Palestine) to meet Palestinian activists. People around the world will be able to follow my trip through Twitter hash tag #MaikelinIsrael
After years of calling for peace, I have realized that practicing peace is more important than talking. My visit is a message from the Egyptian peace community that we have had enough violence and confrontation and we want this to end. We want to live together as human beings without violence, racism or walls.
I’m aiming with my visit to end the monopoly which governments have over peace processes. Our governments held this portfolio for decades, and obviously they have gone from one failure to the next. It’s time to open the process to other actors. If we couldn’t achieve anything, at least the competition will pressure politicians to work harder.
My trip is organized by UN Watch, the Human Rights organization based in Geneva, which played a role in defending my freedom when I was imprisoned in Egypt last year for 10 months for defending Human Rights. Its director, Hillel Neuer, is known for his scathing attacks on dictatorships in The UN Human Rights Council. He is a very brave person, and a good friend.
While applying for the visa, I opposed the idea of getting a visa to Israel without putting a stamp in my passport, to avoid being banned from entering countries which don’t allow those who visited Israel before to enter. I decided this simply because I don’t wish to visit any country which doesn’t recognize the right of any other country to exist. Having two passports or having a visa without a stamp is just encouraging racist regimes to continue practicing racism in the 21st century. Racist regimes should pay for their racism, not be encouraged by tourism. In the end, I received my visa on a separate paper. I’m sad that the state of Israel is adapting to this ugly situation.
From the beginning, I decided also that I’m not going to visit any religious places, and I won’t meet any members of the clergy. Religions have been always part of the problem, not part of the solution. Fighting wars, racism and violence obligates me to avoid their causes, and religions are on the top of them.
Middle-Easterners will be following my visit with their eyes. If I succeeded, more will follow. It can be a point of change in history. Anyone who cares about Peace is invited to do whatever he can do to make this visit succeed in improving the situation in the Mideast.
In the end, I understand that I may face a horrible fate because of my visit. While walking in Jerusalem, I won’t be able to stop my mind from thinking about King Abdullah, Anwar Al-Sadat, and Yitzhak Rabin. But still, I’m willing to take this step, to put another brick in the wall, willing that others will follow doing the same thing, believing that one day we will be able to end this insanity which has been ongoing in the Middle East for centuries.

Maikel Nabil Sanad
Germany, 11 Dec 2012

This Article was published in English in The Times of Israel

List of my articles on Israel and Middle East Peace

1-   To be a Politician in Egypt (Only in Arabic)

2-   Why am I pro-Israel?

3-   Re-Production of Shit (Only in Arabic)

4-   In which side is Israel standing?

5-   Why don’t we also be Peaceful with Israel?

6-   Yes to Peace for Egypt

7-   I'm the White OX (Only in Arabic)

8-   Frivolous thoughts about the Israeli and the Palestinian Affairs

9-   Establishing a Palestinian State is in the Interest of Israel

10-Me, And the other Revolutionaries ... Honestly

11-Egypt & Israel: A New Treaty Is Needed

12-Will Egypt’s Christians face the same fate of Egyptian Jews?

13-Destroying the Fourth Reich

14-Several short notes between my Crazy notes


sentjao 13/12/2012, 20:37  

I'm impressed much by your blog. You write that you support Israel as a state of the Jewish people. Frankly, as an Israeli and a Jew, I don't quite understand what this "state for the Jewish people" thing means today. It's allright when national liberation movements emphasize the ethnic and cultural dimension of their struggle. For example, the pre-state Zionists or today's Palestinian national movement. But once they achieved their goals and engage in the state building, the nationalism becomes reactionary ideology.
When Zionists were asked, before the state was established, what this "Jewish state" concept means, they often replied that Israel will become Jewish state in a sense that England is an English state. But why is England an English state? Does it discrminate against those who are not Anglo-Saxons? Does it register ethnicities of its citizens? Does it demand from other countries to recognize its English character? Does it ban party lists which deny English character of the state from running in elections? No, it does nothing of this kind. Than is there anything English in England? Yes, of course. English language, English culture, poetry, theater, pubs, football, the queen, the humor, the parliament - everything, even the air and the nature. And diversity is not an obstacle for everything English, on the contrary, it merges into something very rich and reflects the English tolerance and fairness.
Every fifth Israeli is not a Jew. Is Israel his country or not? Of course it is. This "Jewish state" thing is therefore anachronistic and reactionary in our days, it is used to justify the institutionalized discriminaton and marginalization of the Palestinian citizens of Israel, the occupation and the colonization of the Palestinian territories, imprisonment and bad treatment of the African refugees and other ugly things. Israel is a democracy, but this democracy is imperfect. In order to become better democracy, Israel must get rid of the concept of an "ethnic democracy". And to do this, Israel must end the occupation and colonization of the occupied territories, must help Palestine to become viable state and for the Palestinian people to have their rights. This is the only way for Israel to become democracy where the Jewish culture develops in a natural way in interaction with other cultures within and outside the country and without discrimination and marginalization of the Palestinian citizens.
I think what you are doing is very important. The lack of trust and the hatred is what makes this conflict so hard to solve. Most Israelis do want peace and to end the occupation and don't want to suppress the other people. But they believe, that "they", the Arabs, want to kill us all and don't want peace. The terror and incitement in the Arab world and in Palestine is a proof for them that peace is not possible in the near future. On the other hand, the polls show, that majority of the Palestinians support the two states solution, too, but they perceive Israel as the side which refuses peace and the IDF and settlers violence and settlements expansion is the proof for them that the peace is not possible in the near future. I think, that your voice is the voice of reason, which can show the people in Israel, that there are different opinions among the Arabs, that the Arab societies are not static, but changing and new ideas are developing there, that the good will is possible, that we have common interests. I believe, that in the future there will be peace and prosperity in the Middle East, the peoples will understand that cooperation is much better than the wars. And I think that your activities contribute to this eventuality, thank you.

Jerry 25/12/2012, 10:55  

Its in the Al-ARABIYA I found information about your blog.

I wish you a success in your action for peace - yes its about time to do more then just talk about peace.

I don't know if are aware that there was a "crazy" israeli that tried with his own way to do something for the peace between Egypt and Israel.

This israeli landed with his aeroplane illegally in Egypt - find out what hapend with HIS peacemaking...

Anonymous,  13/01/2013, 00:25  

A point of view
In the last two months, a lot has occurred in our region.
In November, the tension between the Palestinians and Israel has peaked. It reached a level of aggression that was unbearable, so much that the reasons for the argument between the nations were long forgotten.
It all came to a boil in the Pillar of Defense operation. The attacks of both sides had come to an end with a cease fire agreement.
In the last few weeks, we heard some violent declarations of radical Palestinian groups. In addition, the UN recognized Palestine as an observer state, a move that can advance a one way establishment of a Palestinian state without a peace agreement and without resolving the conflict. In response, Israel decided to build new settlements.
We know that the disagreements between Israelis and Palestinians began a long time before there were settlements. I believe that if we don't look at the political front but on the civilian front, we can find a lot of people that just want to live their life quietly and peacefully. I ask you, should settlements really be the bargaining chip?
Throughout the years, we can see that Israel has tried to make peace and proposed different peace plans.
I believe that the reason we did not reach a settlement yet is that every side holds strongly to its position, and does not understand that holding your position does not contradict the other side's position.
For many years, the Israelis wanted the legitimate recognition in the Israeli state, and the right to live peacefully in their own land. Today, the Palestinians want the same things.
We need to take a subjective argument and make it objective. We should neutralize the extremes on both sides and compromise. The west bank is important to both sides because of the historical meaning of the region and also because it provides a large living area.
"Constant and true listening to the voices from within and from the outside will show that there's a way other than 'me or him'. It can also be 'me and him'."
Dr. Adel Manna and Prof. Motti Golani
"If we want to make progress, we need to overcome nationalism."
Maikel Nabil Sanad, an Egyptian political activist and blogger.
- Written by an Israeli that loves her country and wants to live in peace. There are many more like me who believe that we have the legitimate right to coexist in peace and not in war.

Jerry 13/01/2013, 12:30  

A point of view, both Israelis and Arabs are in fact the same Semites, one a descended from Abraham's first son Yishma'el (יִשְׁמָעֵאל) (إسماعيل‎) Ismāʿīl, the other was יִצְחָק, Yitskhak Isaac ( إسحاق‎ or إسحٰق ʼIsḥāq).

Than starts the division in form that in Jewish tradition, Abraham is the father of the Israelites through his son Isaac.
In Islamic tradition, Abraham is considered a prophet of Islam, an ancestor of Muhammad, through Ishmael.

That old is the dispute in this family, that today no one will just accept that this is the same family, and families should stay families.

Jerry 18/06/2015, 10:54  

@ chenlina

Although trade proves that peace reigns but I do not think you should turn "Let There Be Peace" blog into a commercial site.
I suppose that Maikel Nabil Sanad has the same opinion.

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