Since beginning this journey, writing about peace and how we can bring about more of it in the world today, one question has intrigued me: how?
-How is peace possible?
So I decided to ask some people who actually know what they’re talking about, how they think it is possible.
My first interviewee is Anat Ben Nun, a truly inspirational lady and peace activist with gorgeous hair. Anat promotes peace with the rest of the team at Peace Now. They aim is to set up a system within the political paradigm in which peace is made possible.
Anat Ben Nun. @bennunanat Source: Twitter
I asked Anat all about how she thinks Peace could happen, and if it ever will…
- What is Peace Now’s main aim?
Peace Now is a movement of Israelis working to promote a two state solution (in lamens terms, they want to share out the land fairly so that the two groups aren’t fighting over it anymore).
We do so by ensuring the possibility for two states on the ground and by promoting it among the Israeli Public. We view settlements* as the largest obstacle, and for years have been monitoring, exposing and struggling against settlement developments. Beyond settlements alone, we seek to ensure that the issue of the conflict and its resolution remains on top of the political agenda in Israel and do so through demonstrations, educational activities, research and analysis, and campaigns.
*where people from one group are settling where the other thinks they’re not ‘meant to’ (i.e. on their land).
- Why do you think war starts?
Wars around the world have started for a variety of reasons, including state interest in resources or in the spreading of a certain ideology. If you look at the past couple of decades, very few wars have taken place between two nation states but the number of internal conflicts has risen dramatically.
Looking specifically at ethnic conflicts, I think it is important to look beyond immediate trigger and examine the human needs of the parties involved. In the Israeli Palestinian context, you have two ethnic groups, one seeking recognition, independence and end of occupation and the other one seeking security.
- What is the most troubling conflict going on in the world at the moment in your opinion? -Why?
The most troubling conflict in the world right now is the Syrian civil war. This war has turned into a battle between regional and global powers, which is based on cold political interests and disregards the terrible suffering of the Syrian people. At this point in time it is hard to see an end to it.
- What got you interested in working towards peace? Was there a specific moment, or was it simply a feeling of something you had to do?
Experiencing the hope of the Oslo Accords and then the shocking assassination of Prime Minister Rabin led me to turn to political activism at a very young age. Years later, after seeing the suffering of ordinary people from the conflict, and after interacting with Palestinians and learning about their narrative in addition to the Israeli narrative, it was clear to me that I wanted to devote my career to action toward the resolution of the conflict.
- What can the ordinary person do to support the progression of peace?
Join an existing movement, demonstrate, connect with like-minded people, put up a sign, organise an event, sign petitions, write to decision makers, write an article, speak with family and friends, learn and spread accurate information, and donate to those acting on the ground.
- Do you believe that each individual being peaceful will help the larger scale problems?
While eventually decision are taken by heads of states, I think each individual does matter. Politicians are susceptible to public pressure and together individuals can create a critical mass. The work of civil society is critical in both prepare the people for an agreement and in the post-conflict stage of reconciliation.
- Peace Now are attempting to integrate the promotion of peace within governmental institutions, tell me a bit more about that… and how it works.
Peace Now is a non-parliamentary group but we work in order to try and influence policy through influencing the public debate and educating the public as well as decision-makers on issues regarding the conflict in general and settlements more specifically.
- Who else is working for peace that you respect or support?
I respect the work of all of those volunteers who work with Palestinians on the ground. I think they are doing a difficult and important work.
- If the world were to be in a state of peace, how do you think this would come about?
I think peace is not just the absence of war but also the lack of structural violence that may later lead to conflict. I don’t know if that can fully happen, but I believe that interconnectedness and human solidarity are some steps that can bring us closer to this state.
- How can we support Peace Now in the endeavour for peace?
You can learn about the Israeli Palestinian conflict and share accurate information about the reality on the ground. I think there is a lot of interest in the conflict around the world, but also a lot of misinformation going around. You can learn about the work of Peace Now by joining our newsletter, following us on Facebook and twitter, and reading about our work on our website. You can also donate to support our efforts on the ground and volunteer when you are around.
Listen. Musical inspiration for peace. Source: The Tube
Thank You so much, Anat for joining us for this interview today and letting us know from those who are up close and personal with the big issues, how we can all, personally feel empowered to help to create peace on this planet.
After all, without the players, all the conductor is doing, simply waving his arms.
“Everybody always talks about the power of a conductor…) -I will make you a very clear demonstration of the powerlessness of the conductor (waves arms emphatically to the crowd)
… do you hear anything?!”
Daniel Barenboim, Conductor of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra