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Cartooning in Conflict
Chicago Nov. 4-6

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Women Forum members Conference

Azariah, August 2006

You might ask if the Parents Circle continues with its activities in this difficult period.  The answer is a definite yes. One only had to be a fly on the wall in Azariah where Palestinian and Israeli women came to meet last Friday. Indeed there was a certain amount of tension when we arrived, some of the Palestinian women came for the first time to a meeting and did not know what to expect. In fact what else could we expect with all the media displaying the horrors of war from both sides. 
Tamara, Daniela and Miri immediately made everyone feel at home. They have this innate quality of giving space to all and not judging which allows a sense of trust in the room.  Once we all introduced ourselves and shared who we had lost in the conflict, there was such a sense of empathy and understanding. This common pain opens up possibilities for deep and intimate sharing.
Nassra Shihab from Nablus, who lost two sons, pressed this little poem in Arabic into my hand and the translation is as follows;
In the name of love we bond as one for peace, we meet up to appreciate peace and love. Our goal is to reach peace, love, live safely and know the rights of each other although our lives are filled with pain and grief. Love and peace for all.
How to improve our language skills and communication was a subject to tackle. We decided to share important words in Hebrew and Arabic and promised to learn them by the next meeting, the words chosen speak a thousand messages, future, world, beautiful, nature, want, divorced, unconditional, free, dialog. These are just a few.
Through some of these words the level of sharing became intense and there was a mutual desire to learn about each others narrative and culture.  A possible plan for our next meeting will be to bring a photograph album of your family and tell the historical narrative of the family through the pictures.
The clear message from this gathering was, "No matter what happens we will not give up hope and remain committed to our goal of non-violence and reconciliation.

Robi Damelin


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