In the world of globalisation, the increased flow of people, products, and ideas has led to both wonderful progress and heightened tensions. Traditional geographic and cultural barriers no longer separate groups, and they must learn to live together. This is particularly poignant in Israel and Palestine, where a history of violent conflict makes intercultural understanding and communication difficult. In order to foster dialogue between the two sides, Women without Borders (WwB) presented the documentary ‘Encounter Point’ in Vienna on 15 March 2009. The film tells the story of an Israeli settler, a convicted Palestinian fighter, a bereaved Israeli mother, and a wounded Palestinian ex-prisoner who sacrifice their safety, public standing, communities, and homes in order to pursue a grassroots movement for peace. Robi Damelin and Mazen Faraj, an Israeli and a Palestinian representative of the organisation Parents Circle-Families Forum: Bereaved Palestinian and Israeli Families for Reconciliation and Peace, spoke after the event about their own experiences with trauma and forgiveness.

Speakers:

Robi Damelin, whose son was killed while serving as a reserve in occupied territories in the military. He was a young philosophy teacher and peace activist.

Mazen Faraj, who lives in a refugee camp near Bethlehem to which his father fled from his Palestinian village in 1948. In 2002, his father was killed on the way home from a supermarket by an Israeli Defense Force soldier who mistook his bags of food for a threat. Mazen decided that seeking revenge would not ease his pain or bring back his father. He speaks out to stop the cycle of violence and bloodshed.

Moderator:
Christian Ultsch, Journalist at Die Presse

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