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23 March 2007


I know that it has been a while since we launched, and I haven't written much in that time. It hasn't been for lack of things to write about though! So I want to give a little round-up of stories and events – any one of which could easily be extended to a longer article.

First of all, a big thank you to Len and Libby Traubman for sending me a couple of inspiring DVDs about their Jewish-Palestinian dialogues. Len is a retired paediatric dentist in San Mateo, California, Libby is a retired social worker. Just over 14 years ago, they started a 'Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Process' in their home. Initial meetings were not easy, people left – some because they were frustrated at what they perceived to be a slow pace of progress, others because they were not yet ready to listen to people from whom they had been alienated for a long time – but over time the group has grown, evolved and clarified their purpose.

The two DVDs I mentioned are available from their website; traubman.igc.org/vids2007.htm Peacemakers – Jews and Palestinians at camp (83 minutes) documents a 'peace camp' in the Californian mountains which brought together 140 Jews, Muslims and Christians from around the USA and also from the Middle East. Dialogue at Washington High (43 minutes) records two members of the group – Jewish and Palestinian – going into a 10th grade class at a regular high-school to model a dialogue and teach the kids how to have dialogue amongst themselves. Both films are grounded in the teaching that 'an enemy is someone whose story we have not yet heard'.

Another amazing story of trust-building I recently came across is that of Bruce Wallace, who left a comment to my blog entry on 8 March. Bruce's nephew, Mitch, was murdered on 11 September 2001 in New York. Along with other relatives of 9/11 victims, Bruce decided to deal with his grief by starting a dialogue. He has made several visits to Iraq and started a blog 121contact.typepad.com/ which aims to enable the voices of ordinary Iraqis to be heard by Americans and vice versa. Reading through some of these blog entries what shines through is their humanity and authenticity. They are 'saying it like it is'. And by being given a voice, and being heard, they are a true channel for healing. If, like me, you are a person who finds the nightly news catalogue of slaughter and suicide bombs too unbearable to comprehend, then I recommend Bruce's blog. Thank you Bruce!




COMMENTS

Thanks, Mike, for having the courage to read the 121Contact blog, and then the good heart to let others know about it. I know it is not easy to accept the truth of what is happening to innocent civilians caught in political violence, but I feel that it is required knowledge if we are to make informed decisions about our actions in the world.

Correction: Nope. I've never been to Iraq. Others from September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows have visited, shared stories, and made friends there. Just not me.

Bruce Wallace, 28 March 2007


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