Equally intelligent, beautiful,
human Israeli and Palestinian families continue burying their children.
They wep and mourn in unspeakable pain.
Both "respond" with more killing and other forms of violence to "show them they can't do that."
Both peoples -- intellectually and spiritually gifted among them -- allow themselves to become less human, less religious.
Yet, there are LIVING EXAMPLES to
show us we can move beyond this human tragedy of revenge can end.
1. Amy Biehl's Family
In Summer, 1993 Stanford University graduate Amy Biehl was stoned to death by enraged young South African Blacks.
They did not realize she was there as a relentless fighter for human rights.
In response, her parents began devoting their lives to establish programs to train and help South African Blacks, including the same young men who killed their daughter.
The year after Amy's murder, Apartheid ended in South African, and there was a new birth of freedom in the land.
Read about the Amy Biehl Foundation and her life at http://www.amybiehl.org/ .
2. The Parents Circle - Families Forum
In the Middle East, 500 Israeli and Palestinian bereaved households, all of whom have lost an immediate family member in the on-going conflict, choose to reject violence.
Instead of seeking revenge, they grieve and build new relationships together.
Palestinian Dr. Adel Misk, is the Chairperson of the Palestinian branch. Israeli Boaz Kitain, the Educational Activities Director, has replaced Orthodox Jewish Israeli Yitzhak Frankenthal as General Manager.
The inspiring story of this new breed of Semite is at http://www.theparentscircle.org/ .
3. Judea Pearl and Akbar Ahmed
Two years ago American journalist Daniel Pearl was murdered in Pakistan.
His father, Judea, chose to encourage Muslims and Jews all over the world to reach out to one another to build relationships.
He models his idea by travelling and speaking with Muslim Akbar Ahmed, another university educator, as a living example of redeeming violent death by treating a root cause -- ignorance of one another, not listening, not feeling heard and understood.
Judea's newly established Daniel Pearl Foundation is described at http://www.danielpearl.org/ .
A more detailed story follows at the end of this page.
4. Nick Berg's father, Michael
In May, 2004 26-year-old American Nick Berg was beheaded by angry Iraqis.
They released the gruesome video to be seen by his family and the world.
Can you imagine his family's response? Perhaps.
In early June, Nick's father, Michael, mailed his response to a handwritten condolence letter expressing hope that the growing MIddle East public peace process would help redeem his son Nick's life and death.
Mr. Berg said:
"Thank you for your letter. You, the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group, Nick and I all share one common thought: All people are worthy and valuable. I have used the words you quoted about listening to our enemies over and over again. My sister, a Jew, married a Muslim Iraqi man in 1965. It was always her dream to open a restaurant called: "The Knish and the Kabob." Had she lived, that restaurant would have embraced the brotherhood we so need. Michael Berg"
It was Summer 2001 -- exactly
three years ago -- when a forward-thinking Beirut Star correspondent sat in our
She was interviewing us Palestinians and Jews for the first-ever story on Dialogue for that Arab newspaper.
"Arabs and Jews discover each other" read the headline of that Beirut Star breakthrough article.
Now, Summer 2004, the same leading Arab Beirut Star newspaper has chanced a call to end revenge and champion Dialogue.
It tells us and the world more about Daniel Pearl's dad, Judea, and his Muslim partner-in-listening, Akbar Ahmed, re-printed from the Voice of America, this act itself a new kind of coming-together.
"Pearl says his son's death is a symbol of what has gone wrong in Muslim-Jewish relations. He hopes that by breaking down negative stereotypes and shifting the nature of discourse from accusations to understanding, he will help keep his son's spirit alive.
and know that you are not alone.
And live this life yourself, and work together with others. It's a great life worth getting good at and passing on.
Published by The Daily Star -- Beirut, Lebanon --
Saturday, June 26, 2004
Father of Murdered Journalist Daniel Pearl
Promotes Jewish-Muslim Dialogue
London: The father of a Jewish Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered by Islamic extremists in Pakistan two years ago is leading a series of public dialogues with a Pakistani scholar aimed at improving Jewish-Muslim relations. The series that began in the United States last year moved to London this week and will continue to travel around the world. Megan Parlen reports.
After Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered, his father turned his grief and anger into a determination to help bridge the gap between Muslims and Jews. Israeli-born computer science professor Judea Pearl teamed up with a Pakistani scholar of Islamic studies Akbar Ahmed to launch a series of public discussions. The series began in Pennsylvania last year. It received such a positive response that they decided to take the program abroad. Their European launch was at the University of London in front of a multicultural audience that included Muslim religious leaders and rabbis.
Professor Pearl says his son tried to promote cross-cultural understanding through his work as a reporter. And Pearl says these talks are in honor of Daniel's memory.
"He would have loved it, of course," he said. "He would have been thrilled to see people getting together that normally do not meet and dealing with issues that are at the center of global conflict."
The Islamic representative, Professor Ahmed, says he hopes these dialogues with Pearl encourage Muslims and Jews to try to listen to each other, and gain a mutual respect and understanding.
"I decided to do this dialogue because I felt every one of us involved in living in today's world, this very difficult, changing, dangerous world, needs to be involved in interfaith dialogue, particularly between Muslims and Jews, because the Muslim-Christian and the Christian-Jewish dialogues are developed. It's happening in many parts of the world," he noted. "But the Jewish-Muslim dialogue is not very well developed. It does take place but it's not developed. I think this will help not only Muslims and Jews but ultimately help America and its relations with the Muslim world."
In their presentation in London, Ahmed and Pearl discussed the similarities and differences between Islam and Judaism. They also discussed the role religion plays in terrorism.
Professor Judea: "Religion does play a role. The perpetrators that commit those crimes constantly speak in the name of Islam."
Professor Ahmed: "Here's the hard evidence Judea. Who are the nineteen hijackers? They're not religious leaders. They were spending nights at the bar before they take their flights. Who is Osama bin Laden? Now he may be fighting what he thinks is a religious war, but he is not a religious figure. Who are all the Al Qaida people who are slitting throats and brutalizing people? They are not coming from any great religious tradition."
Pearl says his son's death is a symbol of what has gone wrong in Muslim-Jewish relations. He hopes that by breaking down negative stereotypes and shifting the nature of discourse from accusations to understanding, he will help keep his son's spirit alive.
This article was reprinted with permission after publication by Voice of America at: