Breaking the Silence

Very impressive tour in Hebron by Breaking the Silence. It is an organisation of former soldiers who give tours through places they have served. Some facts:
Hebrons city centers economy is destroyed, the streets are desolate. 850 settlers live in two handfull of buildings and 35000 Palestinians can not use the main roads anymore.
Some frontdoors of Palestinian houses have been sealed and they have to leave their home by crossing roof tops. Palestinians can walk certain streets to get to the holy tomb of Abraham, but cannot drive vehicles.
The central busstation has been transformed into an army base. On this army base live 6 settler families.
A 7-years-old kid tried to trow a raw egg at our tourguide but did not dare in the end because we could be hit too.
We passed through a checkpoint in a desolete street and were suddenly in the middle of Palestinian city life. The contrast was immense.
The meet market, the fruit meket, the jewelry market, the vegetable market: all destroyed or abandonned.
All the main routes from North to South in the city center have been closed of blocked.
Palestinian children have to be protected on their way to school by an international organization (Tiph). The 850 settlers have to be protected by an army of 600 soldiers.
The last time an Israeli was killed in Hebron was in 2003. Almost ten years later this is no reason to lift some of the restictions for Palestinians.

What dialogue brings to young people

The dialogue meeting this afternoon at the Youth and Media Center of AEI in Bethlehem was of a whole different nature than yesterdays meeting. This time we met with young people and had a dialogue about ‘Fasting’. It was eager and enthusiastic and at moments more like a discussion than dialogue. The participants were so eager to contribute and react :-).

For young people these dialogue meetings bring them a lot: meeting people, useful experience for a future job, to break my shyness, to learn English, talking to men (said a woman), celebrate feasts, discuss honestly without fears, develop my leadership, learn to reflect and communicate and imagine (different from school where focus is in reading), really getting to know eachother, learn how to share my opinion in a produtive way, helps to analyze, breaking barriers between eachother, practise listening (“that is hard for Arabs”), getting wisdom, learns to be a peace maker, respect differences, learn about our history, express myself and my feelings and emotions, makes me more aware of who I am and last bur not least “I am visible now!”.
Enough reasons to meet every Saturday as a group? I would think so!!

Connecting through sharing

Today we had the first meeting with the Arab Educational Center (AEI). We met in  the Sumud Story house, a community center where personal stories are collected. And personal stories we shared today! After a warm welcome and an introduction of the dialogue method that AEI has developed, we were invited to participate in a womens group. The best way to learn about a new way of dialogue is of course to experience it ourselves.

The dialogue focused on “Forgive and Forget”. We read a quote and reflected on it. “Feel deep inside what this words mean to you; what thoughts come to mind?” It was hard but we succeeded to be silent for two minutes and then started sharing stories about forgiveness. Our dialogue facilitator managed very well to create a safe atmosphere in no time, so very personal and impressive stories could be shared. A special moment of great openess and we all felt connected to eachother through our stories and across our differences.

We ended this dialogue with stating an action we wanted to do immediately. The same way a dialogue of ‘Nederland in dialoog’ ends. We decided among other things to walk to the wall just outside the Sumud House and looked at it together and made wishes for the future.
This wall that has been built right through the city of Bethlehem and separates the  city, the Palestinian villages and the settlements for security reasons. It’s very high and ugly and has disrupted a lot of lifes. In our blogs the wall topic will be discussed in more details the next days, I guess, because the impact on lifes of Palestinians is great.

The most impressive moments for me today were the sharing of stories and seeing the very professional dialogue facilitator doing an amazing job with the women. I learned a lot, not only from participating in dialogue, but also about living in the occupied territories of Palestine. 

Palestine dialogue

Only three more weeks and then I will fly to Tel-Aviv as member of a Dutch delegation of dialogue experts.
We will be trained by a Palestine organization in their dialogue method: several days of training and learning while doing. I am very excited about it, as you can imagine!
Our journey will take ten days and a great program has been prepared for us including visits to several organizations in cities in the occupied territories and Israel.
Any people we should meet related to dialogue (we FB-ers have a great network together!)? Please let me know and I’ll do my utmost to fit it in.
Being part of this delegation is a special occasion of my UWC-spirit in action and that means a great deal to me. Like UWC: we are going to learn a lot and have a personal experience that will bring about change, no matter what of how.
I promise I will report here.

Beste boeken 2011

Mijn favoriete meest indrukwekkende boeken van 2011 zijn:
– Marlen Haushofer – De wand (1963), vanwege de onwaarschijnlijke echtheid van een bizar verhaal dat nog totaal actueel is.
– Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged (1957), omdat het helpt de Republikeinse krachten te begrijpen/ de weerstand tegen de overheid.
– Laurent Binet – HhhH, door de unieke vertelvorm van een akelig verhaal.
– Hans Fallada – Alleen in Berlijn (1949), omdat het waargebeurd en onwaarschijnlijk is en Duitsland in oorlogstijd helpt begrijpen.
– Kathryn Stockett – Een keukenmeidenroman (nu als film The Help). Een mooi verhaal over het overbruggen van verschillen die er uiteindelijk niet zijn.
– Ingeborg Bosch – De onschuldige gevangene. Een zeer confronterend boek over het opvoeden van kinderen en hoe je daar sowieso de mist mee ingaat en wat je daar toch nog aan kunt doen.

Opvallend vind ik de “golden oldies” die op de lijst prijken. En eigenlijk hoort daar Arjen van Cor Bruijn uit 1947 nog bij, een prachtig Terschellings verhaal.
Zo terugkijkend een heel mooi leesjaar!

Voor de recensies:

Opening of the doors to the Future

I dare to LOVE in each moment
even if I am afraid of being hurt.
I dare to live in TRUST that all is well
even if I feel fear with mounting prophecies to the contrary.
I dare to let go of GUILT for whatever reason even if it has provided me with a safe haven in which to limit myself.
I dare to let go of SHAME for whatever reason
even if I feel others blame me.
I dare to feel WORTHY
Under all conditions and circumstances.
I dare to SPEAK TRUTH in each moment
even if it may cause temporary chaos.
I dare to be BRILLIANT
even if I am afraid that I might make others jealous.
I dare to be POWERFUL
Even if I am afraid I might misuse this power.
I dare to be OUTRAGEOUS, AUDACIOUS and OUTSPOKEN – even if I am afraid that it may intimate.
I dare to be UNIQUELY ME
Even if I am afraid that I might not be accepted.
I dare to be WEALTHY
even if I am afraid that I might lose it all and/or others believe it is not spiritual to be rich.
even if I am afraid that no one will take care of me.
Even if others may threaten me to stop.
I dare to enter the NEXT WORLD joyously
even if I am afraid of the vast void in front of me.
Most of all ….. I dare to GIVE MYSELF back to GOD
Even if I am afraid I might lose myself.
Because losing myself to God makes all the other things
I think I need to DO or BE….. obsolete.

Tankstation voor de Liefde

Gisteren – op de warmste 4 november ooit – heb ik heerlijk in het duinlandschap gewandeld met Lie van Schelven om samen te verkennen wat het project/mijn droom “Tankstation van de Liefde” zou kunnen worden. In ieder geval een Tankstation voor warmte!

Het is nu een grillige fase waarin ik nog niet goed onder woorden kan brengen wat het Tankstation kan zijn. Of het een fysieke plek kan zijn of een community of een virtuele plek, dat weet ik niet. De belangrijkste woorden die er zijn: warmte, troost, wijsheid en saamhorigheid.
Saamhorigheid is wat mij betreft een beweging die tegengesteld is aan individualisering. De samenleving bevindt zich dus ergens op een schaal tussen saamhorig en geïndividualiseerd.

Ik ben vandaag mede dankzij Lie tot de conclusie gekomen met een kleine stap te beginnen. En die stap is: te gaan eten met mensen in het teken van het Tankstation van de Liefde en dan te kijken wat er kan gebeuren/gebeurt. Vanavond in huiselijk kring meteen ook geëxperimenteerd met eten en praten erover en veel nieuwe inbreng gekregen van mijn oudste dochter.

En terwijl ik dit allemaal opschrijf denk ik: “Iets minder zweverig en abstract verwoorden zou fijn zijn…”. Maar als een echte Plant, volgens de Belbin teamrollen, is dat natuurlijk geen sinecure.

Als je dit leest en denkt “dat eten en praten erover dat lijkt me wel wat”, laat het me dan weten.

Wordt vervolgd!