2008 inherits wealth of 2007 communication,

citizen peace process breakthroughs

Sunday, 30 December 2007

     2008 begins the 11th year of these e-mailed success stories of Jewish-Palestinian and interfaith relationship building in the Middle East, North America, and worldwide.
     Over 500 of these victories of adversaries reaching across borders to each other are preserved at:

     2008 must now include a grander CALL FOR QUALITY PEOPLE-TO-PEOPLE COMMUNICATION all around Earth.


     Humankind has been, and will continue to be, protected and saved from catastrophe by citizen-based communication.
     Governments, big and slow, will not detect problems or solutions, nor respond early enough.
     Citizens can and must communicate across all borders -- for survival itself.
     You and we will detect and pass on information and stories that matter, to quickly reach a wide circle of humankind.
     We citizens will continue to be the first to hear about and pass on early warnings of catastrophes, and leading-edge stories about remedies to medical, social and economic dilemmas.
     As with killer diseases like smallpox and polio, early detection and early treatment are imperative.

     A global exemplar in Canada is The Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN).
     GPHIN is a secure, Internet-based "early warning" system that gathers preliminary reports of public health significance in seven languages on a real-time, 24/7 basis.
     Governments follow.
     SEE the inspiring 26-minute video of  physician Larry Brilliant, MD, who describes how mass communication by many citizens eradicated smallpox.

     Our future depends on similar networks of e-mailings, blogs and Web sites of you, us, everyone -- observing, communicating, cooperating.

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We offer the strength of six final 2007 stories
of needed cures to eradicate the disease of human separation.

==  1  ==
Sharon, Massachusetts, USA

     In September, 2007, high school students of INTERFAITH YOUTH ACTION -- http://ifaction.org -- gathered 400 Muslims, Jews,  and Hindus to create "Sharing Sacred Seasons. "
     This historic moment celebrated Ramadan, Jewish High Holy Day and Navaratri
     Over 100 Muslims broke fast in a Jewish sukkah, prayed maghib, then joined the larger community for a kosher-hallal south Asian Ifthar
     Three teens spoke about what the holidays meant to them.
     The program and menu were planned by the high school students of the Interfaith Youth Leadership Program.
    SEE the 1-minute video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jn1NFdLoM5k .
          It was "incredible," says Interfaith Action's Janet Penn (Janet@ifaction.org ).

==  2  ==
Arava Desert, Israel

     In November, 2007, THE SULHITA PROJECT helped 85 youth from Israel, the West Bank and Gaza live together for a week.
     SEE their short video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arem0Q00cHQ .
     The boys and girls (15-16) from all religions and political backgrounds experienced listening circles, study  workshops about each other's culture and political dilemmas,  interfaith prayer, cooking, dancing, and making music together.
     The desert, its seclusion and beauty, offers a unique environment that helps people connect.
     Since 2005, Sulhita gatherings in the Negev and Arava deserts have involving 400 teenagers.
     The Sulhita descends from THE SULHA PEACE PROJECT -- http://www.sulha.com/ -- working primarily on the grassroots level.
    The Sulha and Sulhita are preparing people for peace "from below" by complementing peacemaking efforts that are undertaken at the governmental and diplomatic level.
     This healing and reconciliation of the children of Abraham, Jews and Palestinians, is inspired by the indigenous process of mediation (Sulha) to move beyond a specific political agendas, stereotypes, clich humiliation and despair which separate the people, and to build a partnership of trust while restoring dignity from heart to heart.
     The next Sulhita gathering will take place in Spring, 2008, says initiator Elad Vazana ( Elad@havayati.co.il ).

==  3  ==
Palestinian-Israeli border

     Since December 2003, the ALL NATIONS CAFE -- http://allnationscafe.org/ -- continues to innovate projects that allow people from warring nations to meet each other even at the worst of times.
     Opening a coffee shop in East Jerusalem opposite al-Aqsa mosque at the height of the al-Aqsa Intifada; touring Jordan and being the first group including Israeli-Jews to perform at one of the biggest Arab Music & Arts Festivals in Jerash; Organizing a one-week Palestinian-Israeli Families Camp during the recent war in Lebanon and in Gaza; these are only few examples.
     A safe place is created at Ein Haniya village on the border of Israel and Palestine for growing get-togethers of intimate listening, spiritual openness and family-like celebration that draw people of all nations to come together every week and bring their feelings, ideas and longings.
     Palestinians come from towns, villages and refugee camps in the West Bank; Israelis come from Jerusalem area, the Galilee and even from settlements; and internationals come from Europe and the Americas.
     Diverse women, men, and youth transform indifference and despair to optimism and hope, writes coordinator Dhyan Or ( AllNationsCafe@yahoo.com ).

==  4  ==
Between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

     On December 5, 20007, Arab and Jewish children of the NEVE SHALOM ~ WAHAT AL-SALAM (Oasis of Peace)  Primary School, together with parents and neighbors, celebrated the Hanukkah, Eid al-Adha and Christmas holidays as a community.
    WATCH photos at:

==  5  ==
Silicon Valley, northern California

     December 16, 2007, the San Jose Mercury News article read:

For region's Muslims and Jews, rapport builds slowly but surely




     Modeled are a Salaam/Shalom public presentation series, and successful meetings of students and staffs from Muslim and Jewish schools.
     Evidence grows of continuing movement toward citizen engagement in America, typically, understandably "slowly" at first.
     It's important to establish a relationship before tackling divisive subjects, for Muslim Maha ElGenaidi ( Maha@ing.org ) of the Islamic Network Group.

==  6  ==
Jerusalem area

     PeacePlayers International -- http://peaceplayersintl.org/ -- brings young Palestinian and Jewish Israeli boys and girls together to learn about basketball and each other.
     The Jewish coach is Yoav Shapiro, formerly a vengeful Israeli soldier.
     He now encourages the youth and adults to re-examine assumptions about one another.
     His Palestinian coaching partner and gifted basketball player, Ghassan Alayan, finds sports a good way to begin learning respect and cooperation.
     READ the generous story:

Hoops and harmony: How PeacePlayers is changing the Middle East

By Chad Ford

Published by ESPN.com -- 29 September 2007


     Reporter Chad Ford ( Chad.M.Ford@espn3.com ) covers the NBA and the NBA draft for ESPN.com, is the director of the David O. McKay Center for Intercultural Understanding.
     Ford is an assistant professor of conflict resolution at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. 

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     Let us enter 2008 on the wisdom of an American rabbi and an Iranian intellectual.

     Rabbi Tirzah Firestone warns about physical and emotional boundaries we maintain.
     "Walls keep us safe, but lonely; highly functioning, yet disconnected The danger of our barriers is a kind of sclerosis of the soul, a deadening of our humanity.

    Iranian scholar Ramin Jahanbegloo, speaks recently from the Center for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, India.
    "This is what I think is so important to people of the Middle East....They want to keep their own identity.
     "They want to be proud of their past.
     "But it's very important to open up to other cultures.
     "Democracy is a result of this.
     "Democracy is a government of dialogue."
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