His backpack swung back and forth as he wandered to class. He kicked a piece of limestone as he walked. I shouted to him, “Hey buddy!” He turned around and looked at me. I snapped a picture. Then I made a motion for him to kick me the rock. Energetically, he gave it a kick. We played a small game of soccer before his professor walked out and motioned for him to get to class. He ran off and I picked up the rock.
He didn’t know or care that I was from a different culture, or had a different name for my God. He was friendly and naive, untainted by the cultural prejudices that surrounded him.
Some friends and I visited three sites that same morning: The Western Wall (Judaism), the Dome of the Rock (Islam), and a Lutheran Church (Christianity). Each bears a dark history of religious violence.
The future of the Middle East weighs on the shoulders of my new friend and his classmates.