So, it is March, and yet Brussels is still like an ice box, or un frigo, and I have really had it with dressing like the Michelin man every time I step out the door. When will this madness end?
Well, anyway, today was quite charming. After a nice stroll to visit some bookstores, my friend and I decided to check out a book fair being held in the north of Brussels. It was huge, and it featured books from all the major French publishing houses. I saw dozens of books that I wanted to buy, such as Albert Camus‘ “L’homme Revolté” and many other titles. However, the books cost the same as those in regular book shops, and in the end it was not really worth it.
But, one of the titles at the fair caught my eye. It was an illustrated children’s story called “When the Shark and the Fish first met”, and it was written by none other than Gilad Shalit, who is still, after three years being held hostage, with little sign that he will be released soon.
The book talks about a shark and a fish who encounter one another for the first time, and obviously the fish swims away petrified, but the shark follows him. The fish asks the shark why must he devour him, when they could play together? The shark agrees and they enjoy a playful afternoon . Their mothers tell them,when they return home, that they should stop seeing each other, because they are both enemies.
Months go by, and they don’t play together, until one day they meet, and they decide to put their differences aside, and make peace.
Of course the parallels are undeniable, and it is a beautiful testament of hope in an extremely troubled region. It is also an answer to all the cynics who believe that young generations of Palestinians and Israelis have given up on a peaceful future. I just hope more people have an opportunity to read this story.
Thank you Gilad, we won’t forget you!!