127-Year-Old Photo Shows What Peace Can Look Like in Syria


This is the story of Mohammed and Sameer, two friends who lived in Damascus in the late 1800s. One could not see; the other could not walk.

It is said that they were both orphans, constantly together, and totally dependent on one another.

Sameer relied on Mohammed for transportation, and Mohammed needed Sameer to guide him through the busy Damascene streets.

Sameer was Christian. Mohammed was Muslim. 

They were different in almost every way.

Their faith was different.

Their tribes and ethnicities were different.

The problems they had were different.

These differences were important, but they didn’t keep Sameer and Mohammed them from cooperating, because both men understood something bigger: they needed each other.

This shared need is still true in Syria today. Christians and Muslims, Arabs and Kurds—they still need one another.

Shias and Sunnis still need one another.

Israelis and Palestinians still need one another.

Blacks and whites in America still need each other.

According to the story, when Sameer died, Mohammed stayed in his room crying for a week. He had lost his other half. He died from sadness shortly afterward.

The age-old belief that just because we’re different, we don’t need one another is a lie. We belong to one another. That far-away child in a Nairobi slum is just a different-looking you, whether you understand it or not.

That mother in an Iraqi displacement camp speaks a different language, but her heart beats for her children the same way yours does. 

The family trying to survive the violence in Syria—they want the same thing you do: to live in peace. 

We still need one another.

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to one another."
—Mother Teresa

Photo of Mother Teresa by Manfredo Ferrari, CC BY-SA 4.0


About Matthew Willingham

Matt Willingham is Preemptive Love's Senior Field Editor and writes primarily on politics, history, general updates and visual peacemaking through photography and film.

See other posts related to peacemaking Syria Interfaith Dialogue

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127-Year-Old Photo Shows What Peace Can Look Like in Syria
127-Year-Old Photo Shows What Peace Can Look Like in Syria
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