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From Oslo to the Orient: Reflecting on the Interplay Between Personal Relationships and Global Coexistence

A peaceful dove with an olive branch, flying over the Israeli-Palestinian border, symbolizing harmony.
Kaia Thonul, Friday, October 13, 2023, 07:50

Outside my window, the frost-kissed Norwegian countryside transforms into a tranquil tableau, as the early morning sun casts its mellow light over fields and forests. A tinge of melancholy seeps into my veins as I journey through this stark serenity, on this familiar train ride towards Oslo.

I woke up today to news from a distant landscape, one that is marred by an ongoing territorial conflict that seems to endlessly wrench apart communities. The story of a Bedouin village facing displacement touched my heart and it led me to ponder on the universal law of coexistence, that remains the foundation of everywhere we call home, in every relationship we attempt to build and sustain.

On building relationships - healthy ones, it is essential that we foster a spirit of understanding and mutual respect. But human relationships, like the old oak trees that dot the landscape, are complex. They grow deep roots, absorb light and shade, endure storms, and over time, become a part of the very fabric of our existence.

We all yearn to form strong, fulfilling relationships, whether it is with family, friends, or lovers. But often, we lose sight of the basic tenets that form the crux of such connections - empathy, acceptance, openness, and communication. Boundaries get violated, respect gets overshadowed by boasts of power and control, creating an environment that is toxic, mirroring the fraught situation between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Whether it's a political relationship between nations, or personal bonds that we individually cultivate, the vocabulary should be one of understanding, not dominance. We should strive to create a space that values individuality and promotes well-being, much like this train journey of mine, where every passenger retains their individuality yet coexists harmoniously with their co-passengers.

We must remember that healthy relationships aren’t just about longevity, but also about dignity and mutual respect. The same principles apply to nations as well. As much as Israel has the right to secure its borders and citizens, it should also respect the Palestinians' rights to a home, a sense of identity, and security.

As I journey through the countryside, I realise our lives, much like this train ride, are about moving forward, encountering different landscapes, adapting and understanding the value of coexistence. Embracing the fact that we all are different, but, not so different. We all want love, respect, and a sense of being cherished. It is this realisation that can help us build healthier relationships and a world that is not scarred by conflicts, but healed through our collective efforts.

It is a beautiful serene morning in Oslo and I share these thoughts with you while gazing through the frosty windows, contemplating the delicacy of human relationships and the frame of the world molded by these relationships. It's a complicated tapestry yet embracing its complexity might just be the first step towards understanding and eventually, healing. I hope we learn to build our walls not just with bricks but with bridges too.

Tags: human relationships coexistence world conflicts

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