“When you see the humanity in the other, it’s the end of conflict,” stated Robi Damelin last night at the screening of One Day After Peace. The film follows Robi’s journey to South Africa as a grieving mother grappling with the concepts of forgiveness, peace and reconciliation in the wake of her son David’s death by a Palestinian sniper’s bullet. In South Africa, she meets other grieving families, victims, former soldiers and even high-level officials who gave the orders to kill. What does it mean to reconcile with your enemy? Does peace require a Mandela-like leader? Does the South African experience, specifically the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, provide any hope for the end of violence between Palestinians and Israelis?
The film screening and panel discussion hosted by Outward Bound Peacebuilding explored these questions. Robi was joined by Bassam Aramin, a former Palestinian fighter and the co-founder of Combatants for Peace, and her working partner at the Parents Circle – Families Forum. Bassam’s 10-year old daughter Abir was shot and killed by an Israeli Border policeman. “I am still a fighter,” declared Bassam, “But violence as a response to violence does not work and is not worth the price. Now I fight in a different way against the Occupation that is the enemy of both Palestinians and Israelis.”
Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo, the Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, also shared his reflections on the experience of apartheid, conflict transformation and reconciliation in South Africa. “There is still much to be done in South Africa to make the people feel that the peace they have achieved was worth the struggle they endured,” said Ambassador Mamabolo, “but it is still amazing what has been achieved.”
Thanks to Robi, Bassam, Ambassador Mamabolo and all the members of the Outward Bound Peacebuilding community who joined us for this special event. A special note of appreciation to Lili Nikolova for her work as the volunteer event coordination.