Laith Follows His Own Path
Laith is a young Palestinian who loves his family and his country and pursues a positive vocational perspective in the midst of very difficult and conflict-ridden circumstances. By means of a solid education he strives to acquire the requisite know-how to make a difference in Palestinian society. We are pleased to present this video of our partners STEP International, as it offers a positive accent from this corner of the world from which mostly depressing news is forthcoming.
Aggressive assailants or desperate victims of a political conflict: Palestinians are frequently characterized as one or the other in the news. Although not always totally incorrect, these stereotypes do certainly not represent the full truth at hand.
Since my time as an English teacher for STEP in the West Bank, I have found it regrettable that Palestinians are often reduced to one of these images. The conflict is of course a definitive element of their everyday life and quickly becomes a topic when one strikes up a conversation in Ramallah, Hebron or Nablus. And time and again the paralyzing lack of perspective, which springs from the conflict, becomes clear. But so much more is to be found in personal encounters, and this video is a reminder thereof.
Laith tells us of his father with great warmth and a strong sense of family, which Palestinians often exhibit, but which we in the West more and more fail to display. I have always been highly impressed by how intensely social connections, as well with neighbors and friends, are cultivated in Palestinian society. In addition to that a deep and moving attachment to the land, its resources and its history become clear in Laith’s narrative.
Moreover, at the age of 32, this Palestinian works hard on putting into effect his plans for the future. He has improved his English language skills through courses at the English-Center of STEP International in Ramallah and has assumed the coordination of classes and other activities at the said institution. He would like to pursue a Master’s Degree Program abroad, aiming to aid and encourage women and children in the West Bank with the acquired expertise. Laith will surely need substantially more determination and endurance in pursuing his career goals than might be required in other parts of the world. Individuals like him, who refuse to give up their goals although facing the most adverse conditions, are most surely needed by his country and we wish him all the best in his endeavors.
This video however also reflects something else: In the Middle East organizations can be found which work totally outside of the headline grabbing political discord, with the aim of providing Palestinians a perspective in life, for example through language skills and education. Their activities require substantial personal commitment and intercultural competence of teachers and organizers. Only this way they are able to provide a safe environment where those eager to learn, like Laith, feel welcome and in good hands. Being treated with respect is just as important for individuals from the West Bank as an effective and competently provided language course. STEP International pursues this concept and therefore we feel strongly committed to their work and support their program.
To start the video please click the arrow in the center of the second photo from the top.
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