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Posted by on 2014/08/04 under Uncategorized

Where does hate come from? Like a bloodthirsty tiger slamming its body into the hard cylinders of a zoo cage. It arrives in the tiny ruffle of a bird’s landing on the other side of the metal bars. In an instant his head snaps up and in the next his heavy body hits against the metal bars, leaving them shaking. Defeated by the cold metal, he retreats with his head down and forces a roar. At the fading echoes of the rattle he begins to lift his head again; slowly, thoughtfully this time. Then he hits again. Another pound. The bird waits patiently, he remains positioned as the contact becomes louder and faster, rhythmic like a heavy breathing heart. The tiger leaps, hate breaks through the ribs like a zoo tiger in a metal cage and the bird gets away.

I imagine that’s what I would say to a child if they asked me where hate comes from. Hate comes from within. Alive in the heart, pounding against the ribs, caged by bones and skin.

Never go to bed angry: though I can’t remember all the reasons that earned me the same long lecture as a child, I remember the countless times they ended with these words, my mother’s most useful and unyielding lesson. It’s not worth it, she would say. It’s not good for your heart. After spending almost a month in Israel amidst the Israel-Gaza conflict, I think about all the forgotten reasons for having gone to bed without saying goodnight to my mother on those nights and the tightness of anger that lingered every following morning.

The second thing I think about is where I am. For the past three weeks, I have been waking up and falling asleep as a volunteer at the SACH house like all the mothers and children brought to Israel by this organization. I think about the fact that this is not really any of our homes – home is where I have left and where I know my family will be waiting for me when I return on my flight in three weeks.

What is the meaning of home? Whether it is fixed or following us wherever we go, a home is a space designed and built to specific purposes. It means a building, people and a relationship. A home is the most determined and forceful protagonist for the values and habits that it vows to shelter. A home holds the density and probability of the world – its ability to mean so much with so little.

My father, being an architect, is naturally an optimist – I say naturally because optimism and architecture are held in doubleness. Architects have to believe in the face of all discouragements and vicissitudes of the process of building that their construction will arrive in the end, and that it will be worth having. To build is to labor now in the belief that in the future, it will prove to have been worth it.

During this time of conflict in Israel, this word “home” is the center of radio and television broadcasts, whether the meaning is given to the place being defended, being fled, or the latest target of destruction. This is all that is being fought for – on every definition of the word. For a space that allows our freedoms and qualifies them. The motivation behind a home is the same as the creation of any other building – human troubles. Human disappointment, defeat and hurt make us yearn for the creation of a home, of an architectural cosmos where ache is healed and disorder ordered. A home becomes a world where the master is maker, where everything is as he or she wishes it to be. The same wish drives children to build homes out of cardboard. A home is to fix bricks and mortar where there was previously nothing, to fill in the voids and wrong in our life. But what happens when an older child comes and knocks down the cardboard home?

Three weeks into the Israel-Gaza conflict and two weeks away from the end of my summer I am left with these two questions: Where does hate come from? And what is the meaning of home? It dawns on me now that my parents have been feeding me the answers my entire life –Hate originates in the sleeps when we go to bed angry and a home is a symbol of hope. It took me 19 years to learn these two lessons from my parents. I wonder how many more nights the world will waste going to bed angry and how many more cardboard houses will be sacrificed for us to be allowed the social integration, peace, and hope to which we are fully entitled.

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