Many people "want"
peace, and sit home waiting for "something" to change.
Surprised and disappointed that nothing "happens," people withdraw further into disappointment and hopelessness.
No way, said Dorothy Day: "No one has the right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do."
John F. Kennedy instructed us
more: "Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually
changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new
About Palestinians and Jews, Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights recently visited from Jerusalem and told us:
"Only one can empower the other. Neither Jews nor Palestinians can do it alone. It boils down to hope that something new can happen, by each person's personal choice not to curse the darkness but to light a candle."
example. . .
Muslim Palestinian Israeli Laila Najjar, and Jewish Israeli Adi Frish, both 21, light candles and live this life in the Middle East.
They were among the first children born in "Oasis of Peace" -- Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, where Arabs and Jews have lived together for over 25 years, described at http://nswas.com/ .
This week in May, 2004, Adi and Laila are designated MIDDLE EAST HEROES by Global Heroes Magazine at:
"'Roadmap to Peace' exemplified through the friendship of two young girls in the following story" says the title.
We learn about each others histories, cultures and languages, states Adi. We understand each others identities.
As the political conflict has intensified, the friendship between Laila and Adi has grown closer, not further apart.
A difference is that ongoing face-to-face encounters at the Oasis of Peace. "Students, both Israeli and Palestinian, are encouraged by trained facilitators to examine each others opinions and emotions" and thus deepen their respect and strengthen their relationships especially when times are the hardest.
"We have a very special friendship, Laila says. We are like sisters. I know everything about Adi and she knows everything about me.
"Treaties and political negotiations have produced little results since the outset of the conflict," the article continues.
" Perhaps it is the ideas of two young girls who have not yet completed their university studies that truly offer us the framework to peaceful coexistence."
For Laila, the way to peace is best exemplified in the village by living, learning and dealing with problems together.
To truly have peace, both sides have to learn to relate to each other, she says.
We all are human beings, Adi states. We have to know the other side better. We need to communicate and listen.
Finally, in one of the day's
superb, new, practical articles. . .
"The Role of Civil Society" is beautifully described by former treaty-writer Ron Pundak, Director General of the Peres Center for Peace, on the Web site of "Bitterlemons-International" that publishes Arab and Israeli insights. The the full text is at:
"Sustainable peace in the Middle East is dependent upon more than politically negotiated agreements. It will succeed or fail as a consequence of the depth and warmth of cross-border human relations," Dr. Pundak makes crystal clear to us citizens.
Pundak helps us the condition we men and women must fulfill, knowing that "the road to peace must follow a more multi-dimensional approach, which considers political agreements and security issues, as well as economic and commercial matters and the relationship between Arabs and Israelis. Peace must be approached through the grassroots of the populations involved as well as via the political leadership, and will only be achieved when these two sectors - the public and the political - converge in ideology and practice."
"Civil society cooperation can act as a complement to governments, fulfill peace-building needs and cooperate in ways not feasible for the cumbersome machinery of governments."
Reading Pundak's encouraging article is a must, so we can understand why each of us must ACT AND INITIATE on the "responsibility of everyone interested in promoting peace to become involved in those aspects of cross-border civil society cooperation, which can make a positive contribution towards the goal of living side by side in harmony."