The Lion and the Lamb

The weird and wonderful world of peace education

Gershon Baskin explains that the way he does “peace” is that when one side says something, the other side gets a chance to also say something.

Jonathan Kolieb

Jonathan Kolieb

Its midnight on Day 2 of the peace education conference here in Turkey.

It’s been really good so far. Great people, great discussions, even some heated arguments.

The conference has been refreshingly practical-based — with most people not here talking about “in theory” but rather sharing experiences and knowledge of what has worked for them.

My only gripe, is that there are a few too many participants that are simply getting up and spending 30 min lectures “selling” their organization, rather than conveying some skills or knowledge to the audience.

I really do not enjoy sitting thru these self-promoters.

I’m speaking tomorrow, so will let you know how it goes.


First about “harnessing the power of language for peace”

And secondly I am conducting the interactive workshop I call “Mahmoud Abbas’ Preparation Session for Middle East Peace Negotiations” – a lot of fun, and hopefully insightful as well.

Wanted to give you a few random observations and thoughts which I’ve jotted down over the course of the last few days:

Gershon Baskin – the organizer and leader of IPCRI – began the entire conference with an apology. He apologized that in the first session there was a table of five speakers without one woman.

Whilst I agree there should have been a woman, I find it odd, and bemusing that one needs to apologize for one’s absence….

He then went on to explain that the way he does “peace” is that when side says something, the other side gets a chance to also say something – …. Both of these things frustrate me – political correctness gone mad. And in my mind, both hamper true meaningful dialogue.

It took exactly three speeches for the Holocaust to be brought up (by an Israeli) for the first time, and four for the Occupation to be brought up (by a Palestinian).

When will we be able to acknowledge these “collective national traumas” and move beyond them?????

And if not us, who?

A great Palestinian peacebuilder Zoughbi Zoughbi shared an amusing story. He said that there aren’t too many journalists here at the onference because they are all back in Jerusalem – they heard Henry Kissinger was just appointed a director of the Biblical Zoo.

They took a tour of the enclosures and then they came to one in which there was a lion and a lamb lying together.

The journalists were amazed, and asked how they do it….

Henry Kissinger responded in his typical dry deadpan voice: “A different lamb every day.”

But for me, my current thinking – boosted by what I have heard here – is about HOPE. I believe that the conversation should be about HOPE – the lack of it, and how we go about generating it, and exactly what we should be hoping for….

Hope is, in my view, an absolute prerequisite for peace.

Moreover, it is far less a politically loaded term than “peace”.

Let’s work towards building hope amongst Israelis and Palestinians, and other concerned citizens of the world.

Hope is not a strategy for peace, but it should be a goal of peace education, for providing hope is a critical step on the long road to peace.''

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