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reconciliationbowl.pngThis bowl is part of an exhibit, titled “Offering Reconciliation,” which displays the work of Israeli and Palestinian artists, who were given 135 identical ceramic bowls to paint, decorate, inscribe, or embellish.
The exhibit is organized by Bereaved Families Forum for Peace, Reconciliation and Tolerance, a group of about 500 Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost loved ones in the Middle East conflict. Now they work together to educate Palestinians and Israelis, as well as people around the world, about how both sides can live together without hatred.
Robi Damelin, an Israeli woman, and Ali Abu-Awwad, a Palestinian man, who lost a son and a brother, respectively,spoke at Pomegranate Gallery in SoHo last night, where the exhibit can be seen through Oct. 18.
“There is a lot of pain on both sides right now,” says Damelin. “You meet these hardened people — kids, even — who have no reason to believe in reconciliation. How do you fight [against] that?”
“The point is not to hug and kiss and forget our pasts. The point is to realize, ‘OK, we disagree. But you’re human and I’m human and the pain we’re causing each other is not the answer, “Abu-Awwad said.
The peace process begins, they both said, by talking with and listening to the other side. You don’t have to love your neighbor to live in peace with him, Abu-Awwad said, but you do have to regard him as a fellow human being.
Their message is so much the opposite of what is happening (and has always happened) in politics, and history. Listening to them makes you pause and remember that hatred is learned.
The gallery talk was presented last night by Torah NYC
I was moved by the exhibit, and the conversation, and so I bought the Parents Circle Peace Bracelet, a gesture of support for their work.