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PEACE BY T-SHIRTS

Updated: Oct 12, 2023


The Middle Eastern Conflict Resolved by Possession by The Obvious.

I

One moonlit evening on the Tel Aviv seafront, two loving friends, slightly drunk, happy to be growing old together, wandered along the beach, between the road and the waves, shoes in hand.

Joseph the Jew had been a celebrated neurosurgeon and social engineer. Mulaykah the Muslim had been a fighter pilot. Yes, Joseph had cynically manipulated the thoughts and behaviour of the entire Middle East on behalf of nameless organisations that paid well - and yes, Mulaykah had bombed villages of farmers and been honoured for her mindless, almost-Nurembergian obedience – but time had worn their team-allegiances thin, the years had softened their hearts, and their shared mortality had come into view... They now felt united beyond Judaism and Islam – by the moonlight, by the ocean, by the sand between their toes, by the sweetness of old age, by their grandchildren and by their great-grandchildren.


They felt united beyond tribalism and teams, beyond imposed beliefs and inherited woundings, and beyond the persuasiveness and glitter of ANY political rhetoric. Sometimes they would sit in silence all afternoon, together – on the rocks by the sea, or inland, in an olive grove. They were in their eighties now. They were wizened and, yes, they were humorous and wise: they had both let the pain of the years break their hearts open to The Obvious.

“They´re at it again” Joseph commented, sadly. (By ´they´ Joseph meant the politicians.)

“I know” said Mulaykah, wearily.

“But I have a plan” Joseph said, mischievously.

“Are you joking?” Mulaykah smiled, unsure.

But Joseph wasn´t joking. And as they strolled along the sand, their shoes dangling from ther bony fingers, the warm evening air caressing them regardless of their ethnic origins, the rythmic waves oblivious to the fears and deceits of the human psyche – Joseph explained Project Peace By T-Shirts, excitedly, to Mulaykah.

It was indeed a daring idea. An out-of-the-box plan. A radical, if not revolutionary plan. And a plan – they both knew it – absolutely ideally suited to their combined skills. If anyone could pull it off, it was them.

And so it was that Joseph and Mulaykah made their only-slightly-drunk, brilliant, senile, enlightened accord - and motivated by guilt, repentance, exhaustion, maturity and love - that very same night, at about four in the morning took off in Mulaykah´s small private plane from Tel Aviv´s Ben Gurion Airport and began to circle the cities, towns and villages of Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan.

II


Wherever they went, Joseph and Mulaykah would seek out A Mother of Dignity. And wherever they went, Joseph would aim-and-fire his own invention - the powerful, anarchic Neuro Deconditioner – at the forehead of that Mother of Dignity, just between her eyebrows. This they repeated dozens upon dozens of times. Then they went home to bed.


The next morning, when those Mothers of Dignity arose, and brushed their Jewish and Muslim teeth, and ate their Jewish and Muslim breakfasts - they were all captivated by an idea: to print these words on their T-Shirts: (if they were on the Jewish side) "I am Jewish. I am a Mother. I love my children just as a Muslim Mother loves hers"; or (if they were on the Muslim side), "I am Muslim. I am a Mother. I love my children just as a Jewish Mother loves hers".


So irresistible was The Urge to Print, so possessed by a sense of Divine Mission had these Mothers of Dignity become, that office desks remained vacant that morning, household duties undone, aeroplanes unpiloted, Pilates classes untaught...

It took courage, no doubt, to Wear such Words in public. And indeed, some Mothers of Dignity, both Jewish and Muslim, were hounded and harassed. But so Possessed by the Obvious were these Mothers of Dignity, so humble and gentle in their protest, so relaxed and unpretentious - that soon hundreds, and then thousands, of Other Mothers, both Muslim and Jewish, had caught The Urge to Print.


Queues hundreds-of-women-long were not uncommon outside printing shops, throughout the Middle East. Websites promising next-day-delivery on all T-Shirts, both plain and customised, began to overload and crash. What later became known as The T-Shirt Revolution had been born suddenly, when least expected, as if prematurely, from the Simplicity of Motherly Love.


Forty eight hours later, every-other-father on the streets of Tel Aviv, Cairo, Damascus, Amman and Beirut was sporting a T-Shirt similarly breaking all club rules. If they´d been on the Jewish side their T-Shirts read: "I am Jewish. I am a Father. I love my children just as a Muslim Father loves his", or (if they´d been on the Muslim side), "I am Muslim. I am a Father. I love my children just as a Jewish Father loves his".


Next came "I am a Brother", "I am a Sister", "I am a Gender Fluid Sibling", "I am a Grandparent", and so on. And, of course, there were Jokers on both sides, and out came: "I am Jewish, I love donuts just as much as Muslims love donuts, especially the ones with jam in"; "I am Muslim, I love to have my back scratched as much as Jews like to have their backs scratched, especially if The Scratcher has long nails", and so on.


Commentators agree The Tipping Point came when High Ranking Military Officers, both Muslim and Jewish, ´Donned The T-Shirt´. (That was the phrase people had come-up-with to describe that moment, when an individual Let Go of their Team Allegiance - and made their Own Unique Commitment to The Human Family.)


As the T-Shirt Revolution swirled through Middle Eastern Minds like a sandstorm, T-Shirt Donners´ Clubs appeared everywhere - like new dunes. ´Jewish and Muslim Mothers for Peace´ organised all sorts of Motherly Events - like Breast Feeding Competitions, which were judged according to the volume of their babies´ contented gurgling. Two top Football Teams, one Jewish, one Muslim, all having Donned The T-Shirt, shocked the whole Middle East by Playing for Fun. And there were T-Shirt Club Parties where everyone left their Identity at the Door, and degraded themselves together so generously, and so impartially, they could hardly remember having ever not-been-part-of The One Human Family.

And so it was, once upon a time, perhaps in the past, perhaps in the future, that little by little, moment of courage by moment of courage, T-Shirt by T-Shirt, moment of heart-to-heart connection by moment of heart-to-heart connection, T-Shirt Club by T-Shirt Club, that the Middle East was Possessed by The Obvious - and returned from the Distress of Forgetfulness and Division, to the relief and peace and happiness of All, once again, Belonging to the One Human Family...


*

Adapted from The HanuHanu Gita by Mark The Mystic Activist Mark´s books can be downloaded as free ebooks, or purchased as paperbacks from this website: www.markthemysticactivist.com


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markthemysticactiv
Nov 05, 2023

Thank you!

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Unknown member
Nov 05, 2023

A beautiful story with a sense of playfulness.Yes, it is rooted in the world we live in, and that is the heart from which it was written. No criticism.

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markthemysticactiv
Nov 05, 2023
Replying to

thank you.

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Guest
Oct 13, 2023

Enjoyed the story. Thank you 🙏

I feel to make two comments. One technical and the other more substance-wise


1. First just a technical note - Seems to me that the tagline "The Middle Eastern Conflict Resolved by Possession by The Obvious" might not be very clear in terms of phrasing. I wonder if "The Middle Eastern Conflict Resolved by the Obvious revealing itself" might be a better way to phrase it?


2. Secondly, I wonder if the first sentence that the t-shirt says - "I am Jewish/I am Muslim" - isn't itself an expression of the very tribalism that you earlier indicated that Joseph and Mulaykah went beyond. After all, it is precisely the going beyond and shedding of…


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markthemysticactiv
Nov 05, 2023
Replying to

Hi Amir,

thanks for your feedback and sharing.


I did wonder about exactly what you're saying - about T-Shirts aiming to dissolve ethnocentricity using words that affirm it.


In the end I chose to write the story the way it is because I imagined the Women of Dignity of the story wearing the T-shirts in an atmosphere, as you say, absolutely drenched in division, opposition and even hatred. And (in my imagination!) I see the words "I am a Jew, I am a Mother, I love my children as a Muslim Mother loves her children, etc" as being (although, for me, like you, existentially incorrect), as being the most impactful.


And... having just shared this story over the last few…


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Guest
Oct 12, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Lovely story

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