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DIALOGUE AT THE CENTRE OF THE CLASH

posted Oct 1, 2012, 7:35 AM by Plural CentroStudiEuropeo

Interview with Zoughbi Zoughbi director of WI’AM Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center.

By Greta Sarracino

 WI’AM Center is a No Profit Organization born in 1995 in the city of Bethlehem, placed in Palestinian Territory of West Bank, founded in a difficult political and social context with the aim to support Palestine population under Israeli military occupation but also to implement Arab tradition of mediation known as Sulha, to open a dialogue among people came from different religious groups. WI’AM also was honored with the 2010 Peace building Award in the World Vision International Peace Prize competition for “successfully integrating traditional Palestinian mediation customs with innovative academic models of conflict analysis to address the very difficult circumstances of Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank.” The Association’s works is linked to a series of Humanitarian Principles which are the base of actions of material assistance to people came from  weak social bands, but also of the implementation of  dialogue mediation between young, women and elderly people and about the promotion of basic human rights and democracy values.

“WI’AM” in Arabic means “cordial relationships” and developing relationships is the essence of your mission. Basically, every kind of relationship deals with the mutual capacity to express each other, and learn to listen. What is the story of WI’AM Centre? Why you decided to start this challenging work?

WI’AM Centre was born in 1995 in period of transition, after Oslo Accords and during a revolutionary moment: the Centre born to support and to help people in order to resolve conflicts among different communities involved in the struggle. WI’AM’s aim was to engage society in the participation of different topics, to tie people in communication and cooperation among them. It was necessary for the participants to give them back hope and to guarantee dignity for everybody. We have promoted different programs of socialization for the necessity to create a positive background for People from all ages who needed to meet and to talk among them: for children, for women and for man, in order to help us and to give an answer and a prospect for their frustrations with an active way as to empower civil society.

I was wondering what kind of people currently work in the Wi’am Centre: volunteers, experts, maybe part of the church community; please, tell us about an ordinary day at Wi’am: how many cups of coffee you need?

 Currently in our Centre there are experts but also many volunteers involved in different programs to help children, women and elderly people. Everybody needs help, for this reason WI’AM actions are addressed to the construction of human basic dignity, so our volunteers work in different programs and with different people. Today we have around one hundred twenty people devoted in different projects, for example, in July 18, 2012 will start the Children Summer Camp where around ten volunteers will be engaged: their role will be to make fun with children and to entertain them in different activities as to play, to draw etc.

Could you explain me your working method? Are there differences between young and elderly people in the capacity to accept the idea to stop the dynamic of hate?

WI’AM Centre employs a traditional method of conflicts resolution called Shula which is an approach composed also with a part of western mediation technique. We borrow Western non violent methods (came from Europe, North America, and Canada etc...) and we blend those with Arab traditional methodology which came from generation to generation and which is composed with our community values. It’s necessary to teach to the new generations the importance of non violent challenge and the importance of dialogue because they are our resource, our hope: they are the future of the World and the Future of our land. Our duty is to invest our resources to teach to everybody to live in peace. We are interested to promote peace values and the basic human rights all related to the necessity of that people could live responsibly in peace and dignity. Palestinian people want just to live in peace and prosperity.

 

In Europe and Western Countries what we know about today’s Palestine is only about military occupation and the inefficacy of international policies; in other words, we have only a political dimension overcoming the level of normal citizens. What about the real Palestine people: the dreams, the hopes, the positive aspects? 

 From years we are the object of a terrible military Israeli occupation so we demand to live as ordinary citizens of our land, just in human equality. We ask to Governments that Palestinian people could have access to basic Human Rights, the same rights which are violated by the occupation and which are necessary for the course of Palestinian daily life.Today the 87% of Palestinian Territory is occupied by Israeli military force: for example Bethlehem is surrounded by 23 Israeli settlements.

The situation is dramatic because Palestinian people could not have access to potable water which is considered one of the first well necessary for the survival of the population: many Palestinian families don’t have access to water, on the contrary Israeli families can have all water they need. Violence damage people’s dignity and remove the hope of the construction of a new democratic society based on the respect of human rights.

Palestinian people are not treated in good human condition:  we need to create the bases of a democratic society and a collective responsibility, and following this road, we must to resist. We believe in the construction of a dignity justice maybe without the western countries’ help, but doing what we need as the end of this occupation in order to give hope to a population that continue to suffer.

The aims of WI’AM Centre are to promote human rights and basic cooperation but we need the ended of this occupation, perhaps with a religious base that could be create with religious dialogue and cooperation because religious fundamentalism destroys dialogue and menaces the end of the dynamic of hate.It is necessary to listen and to open all minds so that everybody could live in prosperity and hope to have a chance in the future, because we need to reach peace: we must give peace a chance.

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