Born and raised in Jerusalem, Louis is a seventeen-year-old senior living in West Jerusalem among Jewish neighbors and going to school in East Jerusalem among Arabs. I got a chance to sit down and speak with him about his life and experiences. Louis describes Jerusalem as “two different worlds in one city.” In fifth grade, Louis got involved in Kids4Peace through an Arabic teacher at his school.
“My mom didn’t really understand and said I could go to America but when I went to the interview I understood that it was much more.”
Louis went to group meetings in Jerusalem and ended up in an American summer camp in North Carolina. He described to me some of the understandings he gained there.
“What really surprised me was how many American kids didn’t know about the conflict. They asked if we had things like IPhones and washing machines, which I thought was ridiculous. Of course we have these things.”
Making a decision to continue with the program, Louis soon became a counselor for other kids participating in the summer programs. “Being a counselor taught me to communicate with kids better and the experience helped me a lot in being responsible.” We took some time to discuss the conflict and what Kids4Peace was doing and Louis shared some insightful ideas.
“What Kids4Peace does a little differently is concentrates on the social aspect of the conflict. It tackles the social perspective by bringing the people together instead of the government. Ultimately, the people decide and it is great for future leaders to have Kids4Peace always in the back of their heads. Kids4Peace is investing in the next generation to create a more peaceful people.
Usually the problem when the two sides hate each other is because one side doesn’t see the other as human beings. But when you get to know them on a personal level, you can see them as human with their own jobs and their own lives. Staying together in a camp is proof that we can live together and imagine if we build our country in a way where we can all live together. Kids4Peace allowed me to look at it from all perspectives. It helped me grow as a person and express myself better.
My hope for the future is that whatever needs to happen for all the deaths to stop will happen. I believe that every person needs to live life free and not be scared to go out on the street. And I hope for peace. I cannot define peace but you’ll know peace when you have it.”