Human Rights Day

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Human Rights Day

DATE • 10 December 2018 

GOAL • Bring into awareness that Human Rights includes everyone

PARTNERS • the Galilee for Everyone Network that includes 42 different organization

AUDIENCE • Jews and Arabs, from different communities and organizations in Galilee

WHERE • Maarag Community Center in Kfar Vradim

WHO • xx Attendees

Humans are Humans are Humans

On December 10th, Human Rights Day, we planned an event with Women Wage Peace called “Humans are Humans are Humans” that would bring the issue of human rights, an issue we sometimes take for granted, to public awareness. The plan was that our Playback Theater Ensemble would play back from the stage stories about situations where our rights were honored or not and where we ourselves honored the rights of others or did not. Our students from Tel Hai College who are training to become playback theater actresses and listening circles facilitators were also invited to come and participate in the performance.

All of this happened but not in the place it was supposed to.

We asked a few places to host this important event and were turned down. This would not have happened a few years ago but the rift is growing between Arabs and Jews, right and left and there is so much disrespect for the “other” that some people feel they have the full backing to act out their prejudices or just don’t want to be called leftists. As one woman told us accusingly: “Equal Rights is a distinct leftist value.”

Anything involving Arabs and Jews working together for a more just and equal society is considered by many a threat.  It is so sad that trust building which actually enhances a sense of security is viewed as a threat to our security. Sometimes it seems as though someone is working hard to keep us separated and in a state of fear….

Back to the story … We finally found a community center that agreed to host us and signed a contract with them. Yet the day before the event, the head of their board called and told us that we would not be able to have our event there because the community center is named after a soldier who died in one of our wars and our work demeans the memory of fallen soldiers.

We tried to talk with him and explain that on the contrary, an event that is aimed at building trust and promoting human connection and rights honors and strengthens the democratic home those soldiers fought to defend but he would not even listen.  No was the answer and that was that.

 We could understand his pain since we also have friends and family members who were wounded or killed in those same wars and yet we were deeply hurt by his decision and words.

Nevertheless it was not the time to talk or challenge him so we worked hard and found an alternative venue for the event. A Conservative Synagogue in Kfar Vradim willingly agreed to host us.

During the event many painful stories were shared that could easily have led to a breakdown in communication if we had just talked and argued about them. But hearing the story, seeing the person who shared it and witnessing the Arab and Jewish actresses play it back together on the stage moved the audience and helped them actually feel the humanity of the storyteller.

Later that evening I heard another dose of mostly bad news on the radio, but I still held inside the miracle of our work and how deeply it touched all those who were present. I wish … oh how I wish… that many more people here could have this experience

~ Nitsan Gordan, cofounder of Together Beyond Words

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