We often use the word “coexistence” to describe the imagined peaceful future of Israelis and Palestinians. The Parents Circle, one of our peacebuilders, recognizes that an understanding and acceptance of the other’s humanity is a necessary precondition to achieving coexistence. The organization brings together bereaved Israelis and Palestinians who have lost an immediate family member to the conflict to find reconciliation through common pain and loss. The Parents Circle believes empathy is a powerful tool for resolving underlying anger and feelings of revenge that stem from conflict.
Boston Partners for Peace is honored to host Rami Elhanan and Mazen Faraj, co-founders of the Parents Circle, in Boston to share their personal stories of loss and reconciliation between September 27-29. They will talk about why relationship building, mutual recognition of the “other,” and a belief in reconciliation is crucial to sustainable peace.
The Parents Circle is connected to over 600 families, and since its founding in 2000, has arranged almost 7,000 dialogue meetings with more than 200,000 people. The organization describes itself as the only association in the world that does not wish to accept new members. Yet as the conflict continues and more people seek lasting solutions, they realize the best way forward is to turn to one another.
I hope you will join us to hear our incredible speakers share their stories and messages of hope. We will host events at Wellesley College, Temple Israel of Boston, Temple Beth Zion, and the Old South Church. For more details, visit the American Friends of the Parents Circle website.
As one Palestinian participant, Aziz Abu Sarah states, “It is a hard decision to abandon revenge, and an easy road to follow your feelings…each day I must choose again to love and forgive those around me… I believe we are all obligated to do our best to create peace, and not wait until it hits home. After all, there is no good war or bad peace.”