July 22, 2014 by IJV
An extract from the recent message by Chani Smith of the Bereaved Families Forum:
The events in Israel and Gaza are hard to witness, and we are all affected by the terror and devastation that the fighting is causing. Our hearts go out to all the victims in Gaza and Israel. It is natural at this time to look at one’s ‘side’ and blame the other side. But, in the long run, it does not lead down a constructive path: the conflict continues and more blood is spilt. The Bereaved Families Forum is responding to this dreadful situation by inviting everybody, Palestinians, Israelis, and their supporters, to look for another way, which involves both sides being part of the solution through dialogue, and through acknowledging the human face of the other side, and the suffering on both sides.
Although the circumstances of our daily lives have become more challenging and distressing, it is the days that follow that we dread the most. Once the canons and rockets fall silent, Palestinian and Israeli societies will be left with dead to bury, shattered economies and, most notably in our field of work, damage to our moral fibre, human resilience and social competencies for compassion for the other and for reconciliation.
We Don’t Want You Here
The Israeli and Palestinian members of the Parents Circle came together last Tuesday to film a video, ‘We Don’t Want You Here’, created by Saatchi and Saatchi. The clip is powerful and it’s best if you just watch it. Please forward it to your contacts and share it through social media. The clip is receiving a lot of attention in Israeli and international media:
Within a week of the escalation of violence, the PCFF set up what’s being called the ‘Peace Square’ – a haven, in the centre of Tel Aviv where PCFF members share their stories, their support for reconciliation, facilitate dialogues, screen films that represent our messages and when necessary, go to bomb shelters together.
In the Peace Square, PCFF holds a vigil from 7-10pm every night to provide an alternative to the propaganda and hatred running rampant in Israel. The shared Israeli and Palestinian vision of ending the cycle of violence seems illegitimate to many. I believe it is also a place of healing from the psychological and emotional damage this type of violence has on society.
Alternative voices in the media
Our members, their stories and our messages are being heard in the U.S. media through a variety of outlets:
· Read Robi Damelin’s ‘Cry for Sanity’ in Huffington Post WorldPost
· Listen to Robi and Bassam Aramin’s interview on NPR’s Tell Me More
· Watch Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan on Huffington Post Live World Brief
· Read Robi’s Blog Post on BlogHer
All this and more updates can be found on the PCFF Facebook page.