Mittwoch, 15. Oktober 2008

Women engendering Peace and Democracy

This publication tries to sum up almost ten years of an intense and passionate process of finding a common language between women from Israel, Palestine, and Germany. They tried together to learn from and strenghten each other in their common endeavour of protecting women´s rights in their societies and fostering democratic values.

Between 1998 and 2007 they met five times. Three meetings were held before the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa-Intifada and two after its downbreak. The meetings took place in Israel, the Occupied Territories and Germany.

The participants discovered the diversity of their lives and different narratives. What turned out as a problem at the beginning was seen at the end as a source of strength. The women were realistic in their expectations. They could not change the political agenda and could not prevent the growing militarization, violence, and deterioration of social conditions. What they achieved was the creation of peace from bottum up, i. e. an infrastructure for peace which is substantial when political visions shall come into life one day.

The voices of these participants reflect a simple truth: „women are not natural born peace-builders.“ They were not free from militarized thinking and hatred. „They have no immunity from the processes of dehumanization.“ They admitted that they were trained in thinking in „we“ and „they“-categories. Edward Said called this process „othering“.

The articles indicate how difficult the process of rapprochement was. During the intifada the group was linked only virtually by electronic media. Although the composition of the group changed over time the core of the triad never gave up.

The title of the publication „between the lines“ fits perfectly well with the approach of the organizers. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not suited for black-and-white portrayal. With great empathy and endurance the project was successfully completed. It was initiated and coordinated by the „Arbeitskreis deutscher Bildungsstaetten“ (AdB). It is a good example in order to imitate it in the field of political education.