For international flights, the airlines are recommending arriving at the airport 3 hours before your flight. This allows lots of opportunity to meet people... in lines, while waiting at the gate, etc.
The couple in front of me in the security line were also across from me in the waiting area of our gate. Sitting and talking with them felt like an argument. I was saying something about non-gender and he said: "Why do we need categories?" The conversation followed that format. After a bit, she, with her gorgeous French accented English (who had been silent) said "that is your mission." Ah, thought I, there's something more important to talk about. "What is your mission" I asked her. "Israel" she stated. And off we went, into what felt like an argument about the Israel-Gaza war. I don't know the how and why of arguments, not when it's so easy to be on the same page, or at least, include nuances of the same view. I shared with them about the American Friends of Combatants for Peace and the original organization that they are supporting: Combatants for Peace.
On their website, CfP describes itself as "a grassroots movement of Palestinians and Israelis, working together to end the occupation and bring peace, equality and freedom to our homeland." Since I am a peace activist by nature, I really like their mission statement: "Committed to joint nonviolence since our inception, we use civil resistance, education and other creative means of activism to transform systems of oppression and build a free and peaceful future from the ground up." I only learned of this organization a year or so ago, though they've been active for 20 years now. "Launched in 2006, we are the only movement worldwide that was founded by former fighters on both sides of an active conflict. As a result, we were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 and 2018." What's not to love and support?
When I shared about these organizations, the couple said "this is not about Israel and Palestine." Ok. I am not well versed by any means about world news and politics. There was some fine point I was missing and I accepted their statement. Whatever I said toward compassion, the man (especially) heard as an attack on him, personally. In the long run, come to find out, his belief was that you can not talk with a terrorist, and terrorists should all be killed. His wife stated that she did not think this way. She wants all terrorists to be imprisoned. Not killed, not tortured, just locked away.
There are many opinions about the why and how of dealing with conflict. The Middle East conflict is old and (so far) unsolvable. I think we can all agree that war of any kind leaves a rippling trail of pain and suffering. I would very much like us humans to figure out peaceful solutions to our differences. It would be helpful if we figure out how to do that before we (humans) or nature wipe(s) us (humans) out. In the meantime, there's compassion. Compassion for pain and suffering is a beautiful thing to tap into. Tapping into compassion helps me. I may not know much, yet, this (compassion being beautiful and helpful) I know. And so, no matter the conversation or communication style, I would like to keep coming back to my own compassion.
And now, we board.