Heart to heart

Isabella Weisman, Inforgraphic Editor

Like many of my fellow seniors, college has recently been the only thing on my mind. Where do I want to go? Which schools require essays? Will I get into the college of my dreams?

The process is stressful. However, there is actually something invaluable that comes out of it.

Contemplating essay topics and building a resume has forced me to think about my perspective, beliefs, and values. I thought about how much I have travelled in the last two years and my experiences. Because of my experiences in other countries, I am more aware of the issues in the world, one of which is equality.

One specific experience I remembered that holds a special place in my heart was during my trip to Israel last summer. I visited an organization called Save A Child’s Heart (SACH).

SACH brings children to Israel from other countries that do not have adequate cardiology care available. SACH pays for heart surgeries if families cannot afford them and provides a home for the families during recovery. Having dealt with a heart trauma in my family, I felt an instant connection to these children when we visited their temporary home.

When I was thinking about my experience, I wondered what these children’s lives are like besides having a heart defect.

I discovered that they like to be active, just like me. The little girls like to play dolls, just like I did. They have friends and family, just like me.

But unlike me, they mostly come from the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Iraq and Morocco, but also Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.

I knew I could relate to the children because of the heart traumas they went through, but I wasn’t sure I could completely connect with them because some of them were from countries that have put the Jewish population and country in danger.

I think it is human nature to automatically put your guard up when being faced with people who are against your beliefs, and this is what I was doing when I first met  the children.

Depending on your political views, you may look at that list of countries and disagree with SACH’s decision to treat these kids. But my beliefs and the fact that the children and I are from opposite sides of the world was not a barrier at all. Everything we had in common completely trumped anything I thought I knew about their homes.

My beliefs about the children’s lives came from information I heard on the news. I believe everyone’s views are molded to a certain extent by the media’s portrayals of world issues.

We all hear the media discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Al Qaeda, and, most recently, Isis. We choose to listen to and believe stereotypes portrayed by the media because we feel it is a reliable source.

But how can I believe everyone from these countries is involved with terror when I have gotten to know these precious, innocent children that I have so much in common with? These children like the same activities that my friends and I participate in. Their parents must share my value of family if they were willing to leave their homes and families to save their child.

Sometimes we need to put our political views aside and realize that not every person from supposedly dangerous countries is creating a crisis. Only a small percentage of these countries’ populations are creating danger.

The majority are civilians that are innocent and are directly affected by the actions of terrorist groups, wars, and many other factors. We actually share many of the same interests, beliefs, and values.

The children involved in SACH now have a bright future ahead of them, and they shouldn’t be destined for a life filled with judgements because of stereotypes the media creates. From now on, I know will think twice about listening to the media and forming  stereotypes. I challenge you to do the same.