When it comes to newspapers nowadays, it seems that all of the ink on the printing press is devoted to printing negative headlines. Suicide bombings. Murders. Robberies. These negative announcements are especially pronounced when it comes to news from the Middle East. In most Western media outlets, the words “Middle East” and “terrorism” are never far away from each other.
But fact is more varied than these fictions. The truth is that many people in the Middle East live out their entire lives without ever witnessing a beheading, bombing or heightened conflict. Most of us live in communities sharing jokes, food and jood (jokes told over food). The Arabs are among the most hospitable people in the world, and even neighbors will go out of their way to help you  as though they were not a next door resident, but rather, a family member.
In a region where religion is omnipresent, people make every effort to live by their Holy Book  - be it the Quran (For true servants of the Gracious, are they who walk gently on the earth, and who whenever the jahilun address them, reply “Peace!”) or for that matter, the Holy Bible (Love thy neighbor like thyself).
Even in times of conflict, people will reach deep within their beings (where our goodness resides) and lend a helping hand, overcome adversity or display immense strength of character that can inspire others.
So in the midst of all the suffering of 2013 and at the start of a new year, here are seven heartfelt acts from the Middle East that will restore your faith for a peaceful and prosperous 2014.