Searching for Peace
The Capital City Hues
October 30, 2014
From Barbara Olson and The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project:
Do you feel baffled and disturbed by what the major media variously describe as "an age-old religious conflict" or "the endless cycle of violence" between Israel and Palestine? Did the pictures of the terrible bloodshed, destruction and suffering in Gaza last summer leave you wondering what’s really going on there and what role our government is playing and why?
Do you wish that there could be a peaceful and just solution for all the people of the region? Do you wonder what you could do to help?
You have a chance to explore these and many other questions at the upcoming Voices for Peace and Justice in the Holy Land conference, Friday and Saturday, November 7 and 8 at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street, Madison.
The conference will examine the role of the U.S. in the Palestine/Israel conflict, featuring the stories, political viewpoints and theological perspectives of Christian, Muslim, Jewish and secular scholars, writers and activists concerned with justice and peace for all people of the region. It is designed to educate, inspire and make connections and to galvanize advocacy for peaceful, just and creative solutions.
Distinguished plenary speakers and workshop leaders from the US and Palestine will address the current situation on the ground in Gaza and the West Bank, and explore the impacts of US foreign policy, the media and religion on the region’s struggle for justice.
Participants will have a chance to interact with others about relevant historical realities, discuss timely updates regarding facts on the ground, and explore creative responses such as fact-finding and witness tours, campus and church organizing, community education and humanitarian assistance, and peaceful strategies for change like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and public policy advocacy.
The conference also features two showings of the film Where Should the Birds Fly?, the first film about Gaza made by Palestinians living under Israel’s siege of this tiny enclave. The film itself breaks the blockade, since Gazans have never had the opportunity to make a full length, professional documentary of their reality. Film maker Fida Qishta, born and raised in Rafah, Gaza, will lead discussions of her film.
Friday night features a Palestinian dinner for paid conference participants. At 7:30 there will be a free cultural evening open to the public, with performances by Palestinian poet and spoken word artist Remi Kanazi and the Milwaukee Students for Justice in Palestine Debke folk dance troupe.
A beautiful traveling poster exhibit called “Boycott: The Art of Economic Activism” will be on display during the conference. Created by the American Friends Service Committee, the exhibit features 59 posters from over 20 boycotts, such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, United Farm Workers grape and lettuce boycotts, divestment from Apartheid South Africa, anti-sweatshop boycotts, the Palestinian call for BDS, and many others. It can be seen before the conference at The Crossing, 1127 University Avenue, with an opening program at 2 pm on Saturday, Nov. 1 and running through Thursday, Nov. 6.
The conference is sponsored by Friends of Sabeel-North America and UW-Madison Students for Justice in Palestine, along with a number of local churches and other community groups. The cultural evening is funded in part by Associated Students of Madison.
For more information on all aspects of the conference including speakers, workshops, schedule, sponsors and costs, plus the hours for the poster exhibit, visit https://fosnamadisonconference2014.wordpress.com/ or call 520-2039. You may pre-register on line or download a mail-in registration form at that website. Walk-ins for either or both days are accepted, however, you must be pre-registered
by Monday Nov. 3 in order to attend the dinner.