Earthtribe-Gather: Creativity for Peace    
 Creativity for Peace3 comments
picture30 Jul 2006 @ 18:52, by John Ashbaugh

Following from the discussion on War Games with i2i:
Creativity for Peace
Camp in Glorieta, New Mexico
for teenage Israeli and Palestinian girls.

Also the following:

(KUNM Airdate: 9/30/05)
This month the series on peacemaking and nonviolent conflict resolution spotlights the remarkable Creativity for Peace Camp in Glorieta, New Mexico. That's where 32 teenage girls from Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel spent time in the summer of 2005 learning leadership skills as well as the art of reconciliation and peaceful co-existence. Part of this program features excerpts from autobiographical monologues created by some of the girls and presented to an audience in Santa Fe.
Click here to hear the 29 minute program in RealAudio
Click here to hear the 59 minute version in RealAudio featuring more of the girls' monologues
You may also find out more at
CAROL BOSS: What's the inspiration for the Creativity for Peace Camp?RACHEL KAUFMAN, Director: It's based on the phrase from Knudson that an enemy is someone whose story you haven't heard. So, once they've heard the stories, and they find the commonality of fear, the commonality of losing a loved one, once they see the other -not as an enemy, but as a human being - the all the doors open to understanding.BOSS: You're almost finished with the second group of teenage girls that have been here for this summer. Is there a particularly powerful, moving moment that you can share with us? KAUFMAN: For this group and the last group, we've had the same moment. We had girls from Palestine, two girls, who really expressed that they wanted to meet the Israelis, but they hate them. And the only reason they were coming to camp was to tell the story of their suffering. But they didn't like Jewish, Israeli girls at all. Just about four days ago, when an Israeli soldier killed four Arabs, we were in a dialogue, crying, for three hours, about this. And a Palestinian girl, she was really crying, she said, "I don't hate you all any more. I love you. You're my friend. How can I hate you, when you're my friend?" And one of the other things that happened, on the other side, is, on the first day, a couple of girls from Gaza were talking about the killing of innocent civilians. Two of the Israeli Jewish girls said, "My army does not kill innocent civilians." They really believed that. That's their reality. Then, about four or five days later, one of the Israeli Jewish girls started crying, listening to the stories of the kids from Rumalah and Gaza. She said, "I really didn't know what was happening. And I'm so sorry. When I go in the Army, I'm going to try and change it, so we're not killing children."
So, it was major shifts: from hatred to friendship, and from not knowing what's really happening on the other side to knowing. And that girl, of course, has to sit with the pain. Like she says, "It's so painful, now, to hear your truth, because my truth was different." We can do these dialogues. They cry and they scream and they yell. And then, in the next minute, they're playing their music and dancing and having lunch or shopping. They like boys; they like music and they like shopping. But their lives are not that easy. It's very hard. You sat and listened to them tonight. It's not a normal, teenage life. Normal teenagers don't worry about being blown up or run over. We have a girl here that was chased by a tank. This is not a normal life. We have one girl who lost three friends to suicide bombers. It's very sad to grow up this way. So, I'm really happy that they can have some happiness. THE 2003 CREATIVITY FOR PEACE CAMP TEENS
SABREEN, PALESTINIAN TEEN: Sometimes, I feel that my pen is my land. When I write, I try to write from my heart. My pen is the land I go to when I feel full of anger, happiness, longing. I let the pen slow down on the sheet, to leave behind the imprint of my feelings. But it doesn't mean that I don't need a physical land, where I can feel safe. Safe to feel the warmth of the soil and the depths of the sun embrace me when I cry. And, because of the occupation, I hope - I wish - to have a land, a wide land. And clean authority and a beautiful nation with ease of movement and freedom. To my mind, it could only happen through the younger generation, our generation. I would need many notebooks to write about checkpoints, as they are the worst thing I have ever experienced in my life. When I left Gaza and came to America with my friends to attend the Peace Camp, we had to pass through a number of checkpoints. Each time, it felt like I was being robbed of my self-respect when the soldiers spoke to us, slowly, forcefully and with a teasing insolence that was so humiliating. They asked us to take some of our clothes off. And it felt like someone drained my soul. If they weren't so concerned about world opinion, I'm sure they would have asked us to undress completely standing naked in front of everyone. They treat you worse than an animal. And you can't even know who's giving you orders. The guard speaks down to you from a tower, high above the ground: so far up, that you can hardly catch his eyes if you squint. For me, it is the worst feeling in the world, to have to encounter such difficulties and endure such humiliation, just to leave Gaza and wait, for hours on end, to pass through the checkpoint. This endless waiting is hardest on those who are ill and in need of medical treatment abroad. And some prefer to die from the sickness, than languish at the checkpoints. I hope that, one day, my land will be free, so that I can live in it in peace - and without checkpoints.
SHOSHAN: ISRAELI JEWISH TEEN: I live in Israel. My home is built on the side of a hill, beside a mountain. The life in the place where I live is disconnected from the reality. It does not mean that I don't know what is happening in Israel and around the world. It just means that the place where I live is where I felt most safe in all the world. Last year, my mother and her friend collect money and bought three hundred school bags, notebooks, pens and pencil boxes with much effort. We filled them with the notebooks and the pencil boxes. And when it was all ready, a group went to a village near the refugee camp, and give the bags to the Palestinian children. Four months later, I went back with my mom to see how else we could help. On the way home, we saw all the children with the bags that we have give them, returning from school. [link] It was a very moving experience for me. As soon as I saw the children, I felt I have make a difference in the world. When I'd helped the children, I felt like it is small act. But, when I saw them went with the school bags on the back, I understood that the small act was greater than I had thought. These are the poorest children in the village. They have no money for school bags, notebooks and most other needs. So, often, they just don't go to school, don't get an education and cannot get ahead in their society. I felt I was not giving from a place of pity. I was offering them a chance for growth and a better life. I felt I was giving more than school bags. I was giving them hope: hope that they could get an education, and also hope by knowing not all Jews are bad. Their only contact with Jews is soldiers, whom, of course, they see as the enemy. I wanted them to know that there people who care about them, and some of these people are Jews. I have a huge fear that the war will never end. It make me think a lot about what "country" mean to me. Actually, I felt that I had no country. I don't feel that any country is mine. I can live anywhere. I don't care. [link] Many feel that the land of Israel is theirs. But, in the truth, no land belongs to anyone. All land belongs to the world. If all the people will begin to understand that nothing in this world belongs to them, peace will came sooner. Peace starting with the understanding that land belongs to everybody.
LOZIAN, ARAB ISRAELI CHRISTIAN TEEN: My name is Lozian. I am a Christian, and a girl that lives in Israel, in a small village in the north. Where I was born is a Jewish land, but the Arab Israelis live here and believe it is our land, too. I live, with my big family, peacefully in my village. But when we want to go to other places in Israel, we are afraid, because of the bombings that happen in Israel all the time. I hope that the nations soon come to an understanding and find a peaceful solution, because Jerusalem belongs to them equally. I think that each letter in the word, "peace," has a meaning. "P" means "people." "E" means "equality." "A" means "acceptance." "C" means "communication." "E" means "education." There are so many meanings to the word, "peace." For example, there is a peace between a person and himself. This is a peace that is setting you with yourself. Peace between people is every day. It is meeting new people, and how you view them and behave towards them. We all need to have hope for peace, because it will be a wonderful thing in the world, especially between Israel and Palestine, and also in Iraq, and any other place that is not peaceful. I feel that peace is the most beautiful thing in life. And when peace will come to the world, all the sadness will go away from the people.

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2 Aug 2006 @ 03:47 by Hanae @ : Beyond the Blame Game

The basis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the competition between two legitimate concerns, and the fact that each side studiously ignores the claims of the other.

While very little investment is placed in advancing and protecting workable solutions, huge investments are made in advancing non-solutions whose main aim is not peace but an escalation of the conflict based on one-sided propaganda that the other side is to blame and that, with enough time or force, the other side can be pushed into the sea (the anti-Israel final solution) or into the desert (the anti-Palestine final solution.)

Ideologues and propagandists for either side have built up a great literature of blame. Hundreds and thousands of pages "prove" conclusively that one side or the other is exclusively to blame for the conflict—I mean one doesn't need to go very far for that, lol, just read the blogs of our own NCN's resident ideologues, whose blogs are, for all practical purpose, exclusively dedicated to that purpose—each new event is assimilated to this literature.

Meanwhile billions of dollars are invested in the "war machine" based on the "who is to blame" model, and very few genuine efforts ever are really believably invested in solving the problems, or, if any progress seems to be about to take place, one side or another will sabotage it at the last minute through one act of provocation or another.

The sad reality of this duplicitous game is that it is the innocents who suffer. The conflict is NOT a conflict of the Palestinian people (or the Arab world, or the Muslim world) versus the Israeli people. The conflict is not about "occupation" or about "terrorism" or about "Israel defending itself." The conflict is about two visions, the vision of those (both in Israel and in the occupied territories) who genuinely want a two state solution, and the ideologies of those (both in Israel and in the Arab World) who are for a winner take all solution.

I read somewhere on NCN, {link:|here} (I found it, following up on blueboy's comment, as I was looking for instances of Jane Elliott's name on NCN), that "wars only happen when enough people take sides" and that we should therefore abstain from taking sides, because "there is only one side - us!"

Although I can relate with the spirit which inspired such a statement, I will however somewhat depart here with the form of the statement if not with its essence.

There ARE two sides!

Those against violence and for protecting the rights of Palestinian Arabs and Israelis are on one side.

Those who justify violence and look for which side is to blame are on the other side.

You'll know them by their fruits.
-_* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * _-
Hanae, you have very finely stated what needs to be said.
I am with you wholeheartedly on this one.

4 Aug 2006 @ 16:56 by koravya : Lines
Fingers reaching
towards one another
across the lines in the sand.
Instead of caressing the trigger
While drawing a bead
Along the lines of sight
And through the crosshair
Of the tortured eye.
Between the fevered Iris
And the tendons through the wrist,
Pictures from yesterday flash across the screen
Sorrow reaching out
Along those lines of sight
Melt into the tear,
Its only true release,
when one set of fingers
finds another set,
when one palm meets another.


17 Oct 2006 @ 20:10 by Hanae @ : "Along those lines of sight" :

- the creation of an American Jewish peace lobby?

A group of Jewish Americans is seeking ways to express the under-represented support of the majority of the Jewish community for the peace process. One of the group stated goal is to seek ways to press the current administration and U.S. Congress into becoming more actively involved in the search for a real solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The fuss surrounding the new group stems from the perceived challenge it poses to the dominent lobby group, {link:|AIPAC} (American Israel Public Affairs Committee).

Although AIPAC defines itself as representing the overall Jewish community, it does NOT in fact represent the majority of the Jewish community at all.

AIPAC's influence has always been prominently right-leaning and pretty much pro-Likud in its orientation---regardless of what the political tendency so happens to be in Israel at any given time. As a result, and contrarily to its claim, the interests AIPAC pushes often fall short of representing the interest and opinion of the overall Jewish community in America, or, even, for that matter, of the overall Israeli community. And so, AIPAC (not unlike the {link:|PNAC} in so far as American interests at large are concerned) ends-up representing its own narrow interest at the expense of both.

I think the emergence of another lobby would be a positive development for an authentic democratic debate and a much needed remedy to the current lack of a fair an balanced representation of the existing variety actually present in the American Jewish community.

More {link:|here}.  

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