Storytelling is central to human experience, it is used in every culture around the world. It intills moral values, expands empathy and grants wisdom. Sharing personal stories is a core tenant of Combatants for Peace. The movement uses storytelling to gain empathy for the “other,” bridge gaps between peoples and build community. Sharing personal narratives helps people understand the conflict from new perspectives and opens people’s hearts and minds to the values of nonviolence, equality and fairness. When people are able to see each other’s humanity, discrimination and violence naturally fall away – one person at a time.
Combatants for Peace regularly goes into both Israeli and Palestinian schools to share their stories and expose the students to the “other,” often for the first time. In Israel and Palestine, it is often very difficult for children and communities to interact. They are blocked by separation barriers, road blocks and check points, not to mention cultural and language barriers. Combatants for Peace knocks down all these walls as they travel from school to school and community to community to share their stories, foster compassion and build peace from the ground up.
In 2016, Combatants for Peace was invited to Copenhagen to participate in an international conference called ‘Stories of Hope,’ organized by a Danish organization called ‘Livia Foundation.‘ The Livia Foundation awards a yearly prize for individuals and organizations that promote Hope and Peace. Combatants for Peace won the award in 2009, and has been invited back on several occasions to share the personal stories of its activists. Activists Samar Naklah (Palestinian) and Rami Ben-Ari (Israeli) attended the ‘Stories of Hope’ conference. They held workshops for the participants and presented the movement during the award ceremony. They also gave several interviews to the local and international press. The top two videos below are Rami and Samar sharing their personal stories.
The bottom interview was published by ‘Peace it Together films’ and tells the personal story of Sulaiman Khatib, Combatants for Peace co-founder and co-director. Sulaiman tells of how the separation wall encroached on his family’s land, challenging his convictions about peace building between Palestinians and Israelis.
“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” —Robert McKee, Author, Screenwriter and storyteller.
“Stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, challenge. They help us understand. They imprint a picture on our minds. Want to make a point or raise an issue? Tell a story.” — Janet Litherland, Author and Editor