Dr. Ghassan Abdallah (Palestine)
(Welcome letter: Issue #48 – October 2007)
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
The fact that I was given this honor to write these words for the GCPE is more than an opportunity to communicate with you, but also it is a good sign of recognition and affirmation of diversity by the Global Campaign for Peace Education. It is also a way of appreciating ALL our efforts towards achieving sustainable and just peace for the whole global community.
Despite the ongoing violent confrontation in my area, besides the daily violations of human rights and different forms of humiliation, we still believe that there is Hope and a possibility for ending occupation and settling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through dialogue and negotiations. Both sides have been trying all aspects of violence and bloodshed without reaching a final stable solution. It is our responsibility, as educators, in order to abolish violence and oppression, to face hopelessness and anger, we All have to walk arm in arm, as “we must be the change we are wishing to see in the World” (Gandhi).
We are all, Palestinians and Israelis, motivated these days by a new sign of hope – the Autumn Peace Conference to be held in mid-November 2007. We see in this meeting an opportunity for wider active engagement in order to push forward joint Palestinian-Israeli educational work so that our children might start to know the other face of the coin. Unfortunately, Palestinians and Israelis have been missing the train of daily communication on a mutual level for decades. That is why We always say: “My enemy is that one, I did not hear her/his story yet.” We are doing the maximum to face hate and the delegitimizing of the other – we seek instead to bring the human face of the other, and to break down the barriers between the two nations. These barriers, in my opinion, are not only clouding the relations between the two people, but also preventing the possibility for peace and sustainable development to prevail.
Therefore, our efforts and yours are more than an absolute urgency. Peace education can correct misunderstandings and misconceptions of the other. Peace education can build and foster bridges of understanding and mutual cooperation, not only for our benefits, but also for the young and coming generations. We have to educate these young generations that it is possible to avoid conflicts and to solve our disputes peacefully, making it clear that Peace is not merely the absence of daily violent confrontation, but it is also the presence of justice. If we can make justice prevail then we can achieve a peaceful Global community.