This week’s blog is written by Musa Abu-Dalu from East Jerusalem. Musa has been with PeacePlayers-Middle East and is sharing about his journey with PeacePlayers.
My name is Musa Abu-Dalu. I’m 16 years old, and I live in a small neighborhood called Beit Safafa, in Jerusalem. I’ve been participating in PeacePlayers for over seven years, and now I’m part of the Leadership Development Program (LDP). PeacePlayers has impacted my life in more ways than I imagined. Over time, I’ve learned how to treat all people the same, and that nobody is really that different no matter what their religion, identity, or beliefs are. We are all humans.
At first when I started participating in PeacePlayers I didn’t fully understand what it was all about. I thought the main focus was only basketball with diverse people, but as I grew older I understood that PeacePlayers is a life-changing program. The impact PeacePlayers has on people is astounding and I hope that it will only continue to grow and reach its full purpose to combine two divided communities together. PeacePlayers works because people start to enjoy the company of each other. Through PeacePlayers, my perceptions and ideas were changed.
One of the most life changing experiences that I had with PeacePlayers was going to a joint practice, a Twinning, that combined Arab and Jewish communities. It was very hard for me to participate in this practice because of all the stereotypes and false beliefs that I had about the other side. I even thought about quitting the program, but with more practices, I started to get to know the Jewish participants better and we eventually became friends. I have come to realize now that what I was taught was wrong and there is in fact hope for these two communities to come together and move past all the wrongdoing.
After seven years in PeacePlayers I’m now part of the LDP, and now I get to coach and teach young kids who believe the same things that I used to. I try to help them change what they think in every practice, Twinning, or just a small activity that we do as a team. I want my peers and the younger participants to have a more open mind and heart about everything in their lives in hopes that they then instill this in the next generation and so forth.
Being part of PeacePlayers is a privilege that not everybody gets to experience. I feel so blessed that I have the opportunity to be with a program that cares about its participants and wants to make a change.