Tuesday, September 22, 2009

“Do not stand aside. Do not let us sink back into the cycle of violence…..”

“Do not stand aside. Do not let us sink back into the cycle of violence…..” With these words, Israeli Rami El Hannon tells us Americans what he needs from us so that the violence in his country will come to an end. His words are the plea of one Israeli father whose daughter was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber. Today’s BBC “Outlook” broadcast features two fathers, Rami El Hannon and Bassam Aramin, one Israeli and one Palestinian, who have used their grief to try to change the future. They are part of a group called Parents of the Bereaved, where Palestinian and Israeli parents whose children have been killed by the violence, meet and get to know one another. They listen to each others’ stories, drawn together by the grief that they share.

Today’s broadcast of “Outlook” on the BBC World Service (I heard it in Denver at 10:30 this morning) is an interview with these two men--one fought in the Israeli army and the other spent time in Israeli prisons. Now they are trying to make a difference through their work of peace and reconciliation. As Rami says, “Everybody knows exactly what needs to be done to get peace tomorrow morning….”

As President Obama meets today with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/world/middleeast/23prexy.html?_r=1&hp) , we can pause to think about what we can do to support a peace effort.

Listen to the 13-minute interview with Matthew Bannister: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0049k59 Their story is told in a new book, “Nine Lives, Making the Impossible Possible,” by Peter Braaksma: http://www.amazon.com/Nine-Lives-Making-Impossible-Possible/dp/1906523266/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1253642086&sr=1-3

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