War and Beyond War -- Dignifying the enemy

11 July 2014



"Healing people in difficult situations enriches my soul.

I can't compare the joy I derive from healing people in trauma to any self-gain.

It is invaluable and significant to me -- my reason for living. 

Useful and fulfilled, my whole being rejoices.

My life has no meaning without people in total liberty.

The freedom of humankind is the purpose of my existence."

        ~ Offuh James Offuh

             Cote d'Ivoire citizen-peacebuilder (10 July 2014 e-mail)


Every day by the dozens and hundreds In Palestine, Israel, Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan (the suffering nations planet-wide are many)  children, women, and men -- mostly innocents -- are blown up, shot dead, immolated, kidnapped, tortured, maimed, humiliated,and emotionally scarred for all the days of their lives.

Every militant or military has a reason, just cause, self-proclaimed moral high ground, or rationalization -- the illusory, lesser function of the fear-arrested human being. 
Let's be clear; war is mostly crimes.

with power to misuse, wild with fear, blinded by grief, arrogant with self-importance, with silenced souls we prey on one another to create more victims -- the predictable failure and human tsunami.
On predatory crusades, we crazily imagine we'll be safer, repair our heart's sickness, cure our social retardation with animal acts.
How inhumane, how primitive we've been -- http://www.condenaststore.com/-sp/I-hear-it-s-because-we-re-right-and-they-re-wrong-New-Yorker-Cartoon-Prints_i9468025_.htm


"Humiliation is the most important obstacle to a post-predatory era for humankind."

        ~ Robert W. Fuller

             President, Oberlin College


Our predatory, war-like instincts which may seem to have worked will increasingly fail us, because others are getting too powerful.
We are realizing the means are the ends in the making.

Beyond War
To survive and thrive into an excellent future, our first step today is to protect the dignity of our assailant, our humiliator, our "other."
What a paradox; what a life saver.


"An enemy is one whose story we have not heard." 

        ~Ms. Gene Knudsen Hoffman


To dignify one another, listen in circles instead of shouting in squares.
Listening-to-learn humanizes and dignifies both the speaker and the listener.
The person with the will and skill to listen has the power to transform the relationship and re-direct history.

We finally begin to discover one another as human and equal, then to want the best not only for self but for the other equally.
This is freedom from fear and loneliness,  freedom to travel safely, collaborate, create, experience the ecstasy of human reunion -- life beyond war.

Middle East exemplars persist
together amidst violence
The families of murdered Israeli teen Naftali Fraenkel and murdered Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir are drawing comfort from an unexpected source: each other.
 In an emotional and special telephone conversation" between two families that have lost their sons, Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammeds father, and Yishai Fraenkel, the uncle of Naftali Fraenkel, comforted one another.

In a separate visit,  Palestinians from the Hebron area showed up at the door of the Fraenkel family, looking to comfort the bereaved.
Asked why they had come, one Palestinian said, Things will only get better when we learn to cope with each others pain and stop getting angry at each other."

"Our task is to give strength to the family and also to take a step toward my nations liberation.
"We believe that the way to our liberation is through the hearts of Jews.

The Palestinian visitors also mentioned an initiative spearheaded by Jews and Muslims.
They wish to transform July 15, the Jewish fast day known as 17 Tammuz, into a joint fast day
for people of both religions to express their desire to end violence.

At another time, over 350 diverse citizens together initiated a compassionate visit to the Abu Khdeir family in the tent of mourning in their Palestinian neighborhood of Shuafat, northern Jerusalem.
The visit was organized by the Tag Meir (Light Tag) Forum, a coalition of more than 40 interreligious, Jewish, and Arab-Jewish coexistence communities throughout Israel.

READ more:


Families of Slain Israeli and Palestinian Teens Turn to Each Other for Comfort

The Jewish Daily Forward -- Sunday, July 6, 2014



And LISTEN to another bereaved Muslim Palestinian father and Jewish Israeli mother:


Israeli and Palestinian Parents: "We Need to Stop This Madness"

National Pulbic Radio (NPR) -- 03 July 2014

10-minute radio interview



More Middle East heroes
defying war to engage
Take heart knowing there are many more youth and adults who refuse to be enemies, and insist on engaging as prescribed in:



Deb Reich -- April 2011





Shulamit S. Gubkin -- April 2013


Take instruction and take courage from them, as they continue strong even during war.
Emulate them where you live.

Wahat al-Salam ~ Neve Shalom (Oasis of Peace village) -- http://wasns.org -- gathered  Israeli Jews and Palestinians at the School for Peace determining to maximizes larger circles of human engagement and cooperation to (1) dignify humanity on all "sides and (2) more powerfully reject violence of all kinds.

Hand-in-Hand (Yad B'Yad) Schools  -- http://www.handinhandk12.org -- of Arab and Jewish teachers, students and families equally continued -- didn't cancel -- teacher workshops on issues that grip their community every year -- Land Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Nakba Day.  Transcending fear of Jerusalem fervor, teachers created actions plans to positively impact the culture within and beyond the school because "we have a responsibility to influence our surroundings outside of the school walls. 
Hand in Hand Arab-Jewish bi-lingual youth camps continue in Wadi Ara, Jerusalem and Jaffa.  The entire educational, teaching and community staff will gather for two days of training around one issue -- the equal place of Hebrew and Arabic in bilingual schools.

North American summer programs for the Middle East public peace process are vigorously continuing to shape young adult artisans of communication.  Refusing to be enemies, the Palestinian and Israeli youth-peacebuilders are gathering  at Building Bridges -- http://www.buildingbridgesshift.org -- Creativity for Peace -- http://www.creativityforpeace.com -- Hands of Peace -- http://www.handsofpeace.org -- Seeds of Peace -- http://www.seedsofpeace.org -- and Kids4Peace in the USA --  http://www.k4p.org -- and Jerusalem -- http://k4pblog.org

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These and hundreds of other success stories are preserved at http://traubman.igc.org/messages.htm