Joining hands with the adversary. . .works

25 October 2014


TO RECONCILE conflicting parties, we must have the ability to

understand the suffering of both sides.

            If we take sides, it is

            impossible to do the work of reconciliation.

And humans want to take sides.

That is why the situation gets worse and worse.

            Are there people who are still available to both sides?

            They need not do much. They need do only one thing:

Go to one side and tell all about

the suffering endured by the other side, and

            go to the other side and tell all about

            the suffering endured by this side.

This is our chance for peace.

But how many of us are able to do that?

            ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

                Vietnamese Buddhist Monk

Alienated Citizens
Adults and children with albinism suffer exclusion and humiliation, and sometimes kidnapping and ritual sacrifice due to superstition and inherited cultural practices.
Traditional funerals have included burying live albinos with the bodies of deceased chiefs.
Today citizens with albinism live in great fear and have fled to hide.

One man -- Offuh James Offuh -- and his team are facilitating citizen-to-citizen Dialogue and shining light on albinism and albinos -- their crises, and hopeful, inclusive steps forward.


Historic Albino ~ Non-Albino Reconciliation

September 2014 - Cote d;Ivore, West Africa


Physically-handicapped youth and adults suffer heartbreaking discrimination, neglect, humiliation, and rejection.
Take heart in this citizen-driven initiative to build bridges between Physically Handicapped People (PHP) and Non Physically Handicapped People (NPHP). 

One couple -- Elesse and Virginia Bafandjo -- too, PHP and NPHP by their hands to help them experience (1) giving  principles and skills of community-building Dialogue, (2) dignify the PHP, (3) create compassion for PHP by NPHP, (4) help NPHP discover the equal humanity of PHP, (5) begin PHP-NPHP joyful, sustained relationships, (6) and establish a strong citizen-driven model for lowering walls and diminishing all kinds of discrimination, to be adopted  locally and worldwide by NGOs, religious and educational institutions, and grassroots women, men, and youth.


Dignifying Citizens with Physical Handicaps in DR Congo

August 2014 -- Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo


Alienated citizens
Positive personal contact among individuals from adversarial groups works, as an entry point to life beyond war.
In pre-camp and post-camp studies, Israeli and Palestinian youth participants of Seeds of Peace camp -- -- reported feeling more positive toward, close with, similar to, and trusting of the other side.
Just one close relationship with someone from the other group enabled campers to develop the most positive attitudes toward the other group.
Indeed, forming one friendship was as good or better a predictor of future attitudes toward the other group than the total number of friendships that a person formed.


Peace Through Friendship

Juliana Schroeder and Jane L. Risen

New York Times -- Sunday Review -- 22 August 2014


Two young Palestinian women -- Raghda and Amani -- describe their experiences of face-to-face engagement with quality listening that  humanizes and dignifies adversaries, and brings people closer from their participation in Building Bridges --


Raghda has something to say

14 October 2014 -- 1-min video

Amani has something to say

45-sec video -- 29 September 2014


Neighbors of Peace is an initiative formed by Arabs and Jews from the Wadi Ara region during the last conflict in the Gaza strip and as a relationship-building response to the horrible violence on both sides of the border in south of Israel, whose goal was to show that they want to live together and refuse to be enemies.

Every Friday during recent months they stand together in public wearing white shirts and signs that read Neighbors of Peace.
For more information, contact David Amitai at


Neighbors of Peace

3-1/2 min video - Arabic and Hebrew -- July 2014


Jews and Arabs around the world have been sharing loving images of coexistence and using the hashtag #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies in an effort to change the discourse online.

As millions go online to share information about the Gaza conflict, a social media campaign calling for relationships, familiarity, and mutual dignity is building.


Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies

BBC NEWS Magazine -- 23 July 2014

2-1/2 min video


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