I first found My Favorite Enemy by accident when looking for music by Aya Korem. You see, I live in the Uk, in Manchester a city that has a very diverse population. After buying the download I started to dig a bit deeper into the background.
My Favorite Enemy is a mix of Israeli, Jordanian, American and Norwegian musicians who have come together to collaborate in music making. They are part of the Middle East Project based in Jerusalem and Washington DC who are interested in finding ways of living together in peace across the Israeli/Palestinian divide.
For many years I have had friends who are Hindu, Muslim and Jew as well as a mix of Christian and Secular, I was raised a Roman Catholic but havent practiced a faith for a very long time. Under most circumstances conversations are cordial, friendly, without incident (especially when food is involved) but there is one subject that will cause consternation…
My view is often described as pro-Israel. I’ve been, seen the country, been to the West Bank and spent a lot of time in West Jerusalem. However, the vision that MEP brings, a view of creating a long-term and stable peace is a courageous commitment from an extraordinary group of people. How many times I’ve heard of tensions is many but how many times I’ve heard of Israelis and Arabs joining hands for a common cause is few (if any).
And so in the Uk. You only have to read the national press, watch the news, listen to expressed opinion. Its true the divides are here too, they may only be ripples but what matters in the Middle East matters here too. We may not be aware of our misconceptions, our prejudices here in the Uk far away from the Middle East, a small stretch of land that the Jews call home, but its shared with the local Arabs too. Each has to learn to live with the other, it doesn’t really matter if it’s called Israel what matters is access to the sites, monuments, places that are dear to the people. That Arabs can and should live peacefully within the borders of Israel and that (and this is the true test of peace) Jews can and should live peacefully within the borders of Arab lands. This cuts both ways.
I used to think that peace was about politics and world leaders; I was wrong!
Peace is about people and their everyday lives, its personal.
If it stays personal then there’s hope, a ray of light, an aspiration that living together with our differences can really work.
The music is great and its an honor to be able to listen to it. Their message is about how we can come to appreciate what really matters, how we treat our fellow humans, embrace our differences, how we develop understandings. Or do we use our differences as an excuse to avoid each other? My view is the former; embrace and learn.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post.