Politics

#1148 Giving Columbus a rest in favour of first peoples

These petroglyphs are from the Taino people of Puerto Rico. Columbus would not have seen them, but he might have seen similar figures created by the Tainos he dubbed “Indios”. Photo by Geoff Gallice, via Flickr Creative Commons

In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue… That little ditty helped me remember the date of one of Columbus’s voyages when I was a child. It was the date attributed to the Italian sailor’s discovery of the Americas.…

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#1108 Jews and Arabs plant love in place of hatred

Collage made by Arab and Israeli youth

Part of the collage of their days, created by Arab and israeli youth; photo clip from top video below

Only someone who’s been hiding under a rock is unaware of the tragedy unfolding between Israel and Hamas. Whatever our judgments of both sides, those of us not living in the region have the luxury of safety while we express our opinions. For young people in the path of conflict, the cause of peace is no abstraction. It is a necessity.

In 2013 the Peres Center for Peace collaborated with Google and the ORT Education Network to bring Arab and Israeli youth together via Googe+ Hangouts. The video collage they created of their daily life does not need translation to make its point: teenagers’ lives across their two cultures is more alike than different.

Even better than the video itself was what preceded it. Youth from Arab and Israeli high schools got to know each other through a series of Google+ Hangouts. They used Google Maps to plan a tour together, of archaeological sites sacred to both.

As Wasim Jaas of Ort Hilmi Shafie School says in the video below:

There are Arabs who hate Jews without even meeting or getting to know them, and now they found out that we have a lot in common. To be honest, I felt the same. After participating in the project I learned that we can cast off the hatred and plant love in its place.

Hanging onto hatred is always harder when we get to know the ordinary, beautiful, flawed people behind the label of “enemy”. As these young people become tomorrow’s leaders, they will carry the seeds of peace planted by this project.

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