Windows – channels for communication

A Window to the Conflict

On 21 October, Flowers in The Desert arranged a meeting at the small Windows office in South Tel Aviv to learn more about the organisation. Cindy Katz wrote the following post:

I almost had a sense that none of us, myself included, should have been there.  Watching a panel of five young women from Israeli, Palestinian, and Palestinian-Israeli backgrounds – all friends who have grown up together – wrestle with the inevitable question of what will happen next year, when the army calls on the two Jewish ones, almost felt voyeuristic.  The dialogue was nothing but respectful and compassionate, but the charge in the room was palpable.

None of us had been quite prepared for the intensity that had taken over the meeting. Yet these women remained poised, confident and articulate.  Despite the immensity of this conversation and the eyes of the enthralled audience- strangers, most of them, these young women, not yet out of high school, fared better than I would have, should I ever be put into such an absurd situation.  And this is exactly why the work that Windows does is so important.  It challenges young people, born into a conflicted land, to confront everything their society’s want to sweep under the carpet. It encourages them to grapple with these issues together, and it gives them the skills to show the world what they have done.

A window to collaboration

Windows is a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization that encourages hope, dialogue and peace through long-term media based educational youth programs.  This is done mainly in the form of a Hebrew-Arabic bilingual magazine written by and for youth.  Understanding the importance of long-term relationship building, Windows creates “triangle groupings” of Israeli, Palestinian, and Palestinian-Israeli cohorts who stay with each other for a full six years, the course of the program.  Participants come from inside and outside the Green Line, from places like Tel Aviv, Bethlehem, the Galilee, Yaffo, and Nablus. These groups learn journalism skills through the writing and putting together of the magazine, and along the way, they become friends. Windows spreads its message via its magazine, but they also run in-school workshops for Israelis and Palestinians, lectures, film screenings, exhibitions, tours and a new program that includes foreigners from around the world.

Through this lens of journalism, public education and friendship, the youth are encouraged to confront whatever “ickiness” comes up in appropriate, compassionate and respectful ways.  They learn how to express what they are feeling, they learn how to disagree, they learn how to relate. This may not seem such a momentous thing, but here in Israel, these three groups have very little, if no, contact.  Sitting before this panel of women- all brave, reflective, and strong-the products of Window’s labor- was all the evidence I needed to believe in the impact of this program.

A window to peace

I continue to watch the two young Jewish girls struggle over what they will do when the army recruits them. Torn between the pressures and expectations of Israeli society and their own sense of morality and right and wrong, there is no simple solution for these young women. The Palestinian girls repeat that they hope their friends will not enlist, but either way, they will respect their decisions. My heart goes out to all involved: No sixteen year old should have to turn her back on her culture because of what she knows is right; no sixteen year old should have to ask a friend to reject her own culture lest she become an agent of oppression.  Yet that’s what is happening here, and despite the difficulty, I am glad that it is. Because it needs to.

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IF WINDOWS WERE TO WIN $1000, it would run 10 new school workshops which would empower 300 more youth in Israel and Palestine. Windows school workshops educate youth to think critically, and thus combat racism and discrimination, while simultaneously providing youth with tools to advocate for the values of human rights.


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Comments
One Response to “Windows – channels for communication”
  1. مرحبا بتمنى من الجميع انه يصوت لجمعية windows for communications لأنه اصواتكم بتهمنا كتير لحتى تدعموا مشاريع السلام والكثير من المشاريع الثقافية و التربوية
    واذا كنت تتسائلون عن هذه الجمعية وما هو عملها فسأقول لكم
    شبابيك هي جمعية تقوم بتنمية المشاريع والفعاليات التربوية والثقافية ما بين الشعبين الفلسطيني والاسرائيلي
    اللتي تعالج الكثير من المواضيع مثل حقوق الانسان وهذه الجمعية تتكون من اعضاء من جانبي الخط الاخضر لدعم هذه الجمعية وجعل
    هذه المشاريع والخطط الثقافية قابلة للتحقيق

    وشكرا لكم لدعمنا

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