This book recounts the fulfillment of a 30 year-old vision that I would someday work for peace in the Middle East.
To pursue that goal and the quest for spiritual meaning and passionate purpose to my life, I set out on a long journey from Paris that led me to an Islamist mosque in Morocco. There I was held captive by members of a militant cult. After my escape, I fled Morocco and returned to France, thus abandoning my quest . . .
Until five years ago! Friends dared me to pursue my voyage to determine whether it was a true vision or an illusion. I took them up on it and traveled to the Middle East to find the answer.
I could never have foreseen what I would find there! Not only did I discover it was a true vision, but my life became quickly intertwined with many people of all faiths in the intense struggle to bring Muslims, Jews and Christians together under the roof of peace and understanding.
In sum, it was not an empty calling. . .
My search led me to the most contested areas in the West Bank, as the Jenin Refugee Camp and the Old City in Hebron, to especially work with extremists. My life became quickly tangled with the people there, some still living in the shadow of the Intifada, others motivated by hate, fear and illusions.
To arrive there I often traversed a gauntlet of checkpoints, walls and subject to countless interrogations, arrests and even . . .attacks.
Those challenges however reinforced my vision and the importance of continuing my work as I found that the interfaith peace movement, working with individuals in particular, is one of the keys to peace in the Middle East.
During my journey, I had to make some necessary sacrifices, sometimes compromising my own safety. But I could never have predicted the impact that it would have on my own personal relationships, intimacies and even some close friendships, lost in the battle to remain faithful to my vision. . .
But the greatest sacrifice was made by two friends and fellow peace activists, Lance Wolf and Juliano Mer Khamis, murdered in Jerusalem and the West bank respectively. This book is dedicated to them.
Their dauntless, loving spirit lives on in me and now, my friends. . . in you.