Special Guest Anael Harpaz, born in S. Africa and living in Israel, Poet, Author of upcoming childrens book on peace and nonviolence. She will share her profound personal journey of transformation and share what she witnessed working with young Israeli and Palestinian women during her time with Creativity For Peace, a camp that immerses young women and girls from Israel/Palestine in sharing, NVC, creative arts, deep expression and understanding.
Anael, In Her Own Words...
I am a person who grew up in a land of separation- South Africa in the fifties, and at the age of seventeen left the apartheid I hated only to go to another country of deep separation, Israel, without even being aware of this separation, because I only knew my narrative as a Jewish child born soon after the Holocaust. I grew up hating Arabs and Germans - had I met any? No, but this was my cultural conditioning!
About twenty years after I had immigrated to Israel, I started on my spiritual path and took part in a workshop on suffering. I had lost a baby and wanted to heal the terrible pain I was feeling. I had no idea that the workshop was taking place in Nablus, in the West bank. For the first time I met Arab people and I met their suffering! This was a life changing moment for me.
I felt that all my life I had been standing on thick glass, I knew what I so deeply believed, who my enemy was and what I was fighting for- in a moment someone dropped a big hammer on the glass....my whole belief system smashed into a million pieces! It took me years of work on myself, and much courage to move from a person full of hate to a peace maker. In 2003 two American friends and I started a peace organisation for teenage girls from Israel and Palestine called Creativity for Peace.
I worked there for nine years and amongst other things facilitated the compassionate dialogue which is part of the program. I learned so much from these courageous young woman who have chosen the path to peace and now being here in the States for a while, where I am on a writers retreat, have come to a place where I see that violence is not only in the war zones in this world. It is in the schools, in poor areas, there is domestic violence, we are showing our children violent movies and computer games where the solutions are to kill each other.
I have written a children's story about Billy Bully....a child who is a bully because all he experiences is violence- hurt people, hurt people....the story is called Billy's Wake Up Dream. It is about his journey of 'waking up' to see that there could be a different reality....that peace starts within....
NOTE: Anael's book has just been accepted into Kickstarter.com so look for it there and support her work! The book will include a "peace pillow" that will be exchanged with children all over the world.