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Ibtisam Mahameed - Complete Interview

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We, Palestinians and Israelis, believe that there is a word of mercy, that is found in every religion, and every messenger calls for it. It is found in the Holy Quran, the Gospel and the New Testament. We didn't devise this principle, but we should enforce heavenly laws on earth among us as humans, since we all have one origin: Adam and Eve. We all are created from earth and will return to earth. For this cited saying, there is in our Holy Quran, a verse which says, "In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful, O Mankind! Lo!" "We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes," "that ye may know one another." The phrase "nations and tribes" refers to nations and tribes that Allah created on the earth, and we--peace activists-- are calling people to lead a new life, a life of love and mercy among all people. I come from a land where there was a disaster, which afflicted my family, a massacre that took place in Tanturah. My father came from Umm El Fahm. He was killed, and my grandfather and grandmother's brother as well. I witnessed the war that took place on this land. But we can't remain living with hatred and rancor in our hearts. It is my duty to make peace and to live peacefully. This will be done through the activities I perform. This way, we can live with a new vision. This vision is how to pave the way for Palestinians and Israelis to co-exist without killing, without wars or misfortunes. This will be achieved through my collaboration with Iliaho, Ilana, Sarin and Ester. This activity we perform is called the "Affinity of Hearts." When I open my heart to the other party, the Israeli, I can hear and feel that he has experienced, just as I did, the disasters, has lived in wars, and has suffered pain. So, my heart should be full of mercy, through which I can work with them. We can build a new land of peace where we can live together. Because there are two kinds of policy: people's policy and government policy. The latter is that which hinders peoples' affinities. There is some kind of policy everywhere. Your son, and my son, must be enrolled in the army. When they meet, each of them would hold a weapon, and want to destroy the other. We, peace activists, say that we should give up arms and war tools. Let's try a new round of mutual understanding and love. Let's try a new peace agreement, through which we give the Palestinian people their rights in order to be able to co-exist with Israeli society. Up until now, we saw only one woman among peace negotiators, namely Hanan Ashrawy, on the Palestinian side. Here in Israel, there are no women among Israeli peace negotiators. I say that women must have a great role at the heart of peace negotiations, in order for us to be able to sign a serious agreement. Women have a role in it. This role shall be a political and social one, a role in determining the points of a peace agreement. The woman is the mother, the sister, and the wife. She loses her sons, husband and brother in wars. She has a vital role in the peace-making process. A man always depends on a sense of strength, the language of domination, the desire to enforce his own laws over a woman. She is able to see many things at the same time. A woman has what's called the "womb." She bears her children in this womb, then carries them between her arms. She pays an expensive price as a result of losing her son, husband and brother in war. A woman can do well in the peace-making process, and she is able to initiate dialogue more than a man. A man doesn't think of the future. He doesn't know what can happen to the next generations. His ultimate concern is how to fully control the situation, even through war. But a woman always calls for mutual understanding and negotiation. War is usually the last option for her. Even with this last option, she has no such way of thinking. First, it is not new for women to participate in the peace-making process. Deep in history, the names of Sarah, Roti and Nomin were mentioned in the Gospel. Many other women were also mentioned in the Gospel. We can find women at the heart of the Torah. She is also found in the Islamic principles. Among those, there were Fatemah Al-Zahraa, and Khadijah, who played a great role with the Prophet, peace be upon him. There were many other well-known women, too. We will proceed in this way, believing that every woman is able to give and to create a new atmosphere of mutual understanding among people, in addition to mutual understanding among families, in the streets, and among countries where they live. This is called voluntary efforts and religious activities. We have, in the Islamic doctrines, the Medial, the Sufis, the Islamic Missionary and Islamic movement. All these belong to the Islamic doctrines. They are based on Islamic principles. They are subdivided branches, but they all are built on the same methodology. This is my religion, as a Muslim, Arab woman. I believe that every woman has to assume power herself, in cooperation with a man, since he is her son, husband and brother in her life. If men and women unify themselves to achieve their aims, this will be better than working separately. There are many ways through which we can work together to draw a straight line on a level land of love and mutual understanding. I say that the word Jihad is, for me, to strive as a woman with a new vision to create wider horizons. This way, we can implement the correct methods and tools of "peace" instead of war. This can be accomplished via building a bridge of peace to the other party. As a Palestinian, I can build a bridge of peace between me and the Israeli citizen. I should meet peace negotiators and add the points I want to settle with the other party, not to let negotiators decide this alone. Together with men, we can design this plan. It is so hard for me to work alone, just like men. But together we can reach a common goal. Firstly, we have to learn about all the principles found in the world. As a Muslim, Arab, Palestinian woman, I know my principles. But I don't know yours. In order for me to understand your principles, I should ask you about them and understand what they are. What are your habits? What are your customs? This prevents me from crossing the red line so as not to create a kind of discontentment between us. We need to learn mutual respect from each other. We need to know how to listen, not with our ears, but with our heart. I should tell you that I want to open a new life page with you, and that I want to give you my hand, not to betray you, but to say you are welcome in my home. I shall like to visit you at your home, to hear more from you, and hear more about the world. This is what I call the "language of mutual love in the world." In the Gospel story, both Hagar and Sarah took their children and went away. One went to the East, the other went to the West. Hagar took her child to Arabia, and Sarah took her child, too. So, there was a kind of separation in the family. My idea is how to bring Sarah and Hagar back into this tent again. This center is set up to unify Sarah and Hagar. It is not for the Arab and Jewish women alone. But to unify all the women of the world in this tent of Sarah and Hagar's. From this place, from everywhere on this earth. I invite every woman in the world to come and sit down here so that I can feel they are my sisters. This center and this earth call for all Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Indian and American women to all come and learn from each other about tolerance, love and giving. From here, we go out into the world with Hagar and Sarah's tent. This is my prayer I perform every day. This is my hope and my dream that I want to come true on this holy land, God willing! We will be able to resurrect hope again through fair peace, God willing! I say that we have to bring up a new generation. Such a generation should know that we have to co-exist. The last generation had put into their minds that only with strength can they restore land. I mean that with a new generation, tomorrow's young people must be brought up who can think in a new vision other than war. This can be done via courses, through enlightening hearts, and through teaching them that one can obtain his rights without war and arms, and instead via mutual understanding. When we were young, we were taught to defend ourselves and how to hold a stone and to throw it. We have been taught to not give up our rights. But we weren't taught how to restore our rights without throwing stones, without tanks, and without fighting planes. We weren't taught how to reach the other and to try to build with him a link of mutual understanding and mutual dialogue, then use other methods. I mean there are many ways and methods, but we can't, and don't want to see them. We can say that there's a mutual link, but too often there's no link between us, Palestinians and Israelis. Rather, each side has its own way. Here, we teach Israelis and Palestinians our principles, then exert efforts to gradually bring them close to each other. You can't start with teaching Palestinians the language of peace, while the Israeli army kills many people in Gaza daily. You can't direct the Israelis to peace, while people are killed in buses without any guilt. First, you should get rid of the language of war. Then, start a dialogue with each of the two parties. Only after that, can you gather them. We can't say there's a link between us while we fight each other, while we hate each other, and while we kill each other. The idea of unification can't mean to unify religions, but we can work on the basis of religious foundations and respect the dignity of other religions. But you can't say that we want to unify religions. There is a secret in that our God created Moses to entrust him with the Torah, created Mohammad to entrust him with the Holy Quran, and Jesus to entrust him with the New Testament. With this, there's a mutual understanding among religions, and among peoples. The word "unification" is a bit difficult, since you can't say that we would unify religions. But we can unify peoples. This can be accomplished through education, through mutual respect. But we should understand that we have to respect each other's religions. I call this the "language of people respecting each other through religions." For me, strength is to entrust my reason to inform my decisions. For me, strength is not being bodily strong, arrogant and violent. Rather it means to sit down and plan a future to live in peace. The word "strength" for me means how to be able, under the prevailing circumstances, to follow through in what I have started in despite of all of the difficulties around me. This strength does not come from nothing, but it is achieved through the determination, persistence, and willingness to create a new atmosphere. I should listen to those people around me and proceed in my way, believing that the power of peace is the power of all peoples. I want to express my sorrow that we spend money to create misfortunes; so many millions of dollars are spent to launch wars. How much money is allocated to make peace? Just peace alone? I can't plan for a better future without an economic scheme. This plan is dependent upon the sum of money allocated to the plan. But I can see today several billions of dollars are spent to launch wars, and just a few pennies are allocated for peace. How can we make peace? I know many needy families whom I want to help. But there's nothing I have to satisfy them, not even enough for them to have one meal. However, there are many people in the world who want to make peace with me, but they don't know how! Thus, I address all living hearts in this world to positively consider those peace-makers, to assist them, and to come and join hands with them to make a better future. I don't doubt that my way of peace is difficult and long, but I'm sure that future generations will gain the fruits. The next generations, perhaps, are my grandsons. I don't work for the present, but to serve one hundred or two hundred years to come. After two hundred years I will not be here, but then I will have planted a tree of peace in this holy land from which my sons and grandsons can benefit. Patience. It is called patience.

Video Details

Duration: 18 minutes and 52 seconds
Country: Palestine
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 152
Posted by: global on Feb 2, 2009

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