Though Israelis and Palestinians might have differing views, when it boils down to it, the majority of each side is rooting for peace. Centuries of history have proven that the more conventional means for reaching a harmony (such as attempted negotiations and conferences) do not always have the desired outcome, or even a strong effect on the general public. Fortunately, many projects in recent years have focused on bringing the effort of reaching peace down from a national level to a personal one; in other words, rather than make this endeavor a heavy diplomatic one, it is being made more relatable to the people, who ultimately control the result.
One of these projects, called “Cartooning fore Peace,” took place this past June in Israel. The workshop included a diverse group of cartoonists, among them Israelis, Turks, Palestinians, Americans, French, Algerians and Egyptians. These artists had the opportunity to present their work to one another, and take part in educational sessions (whose audiences included diplomats). Israeli political cartoonist Michel Kichka, who helped to found “Cartooning for Peace” explains that the event was important because it gave these people an opportunity to talk. He says that this allows us to discover “how much we have in common and how similar is our fight.”
He also emphasizes the relevance of peace to cartooning; while it is an art, it is too often used to ridicule certain ethnicities and religious groups. He explains that the beauty of the workshop is that it teaches to not take democracy for granted. Freedom of speech is a powerful right; it can either be used forcefully for the worse, or tremendously for the better.
By appealing to the hobbies of individuals, these projects help the more unlikely of people to connect by highlighting their shared interests, and perhaps even achieving peace along the way.
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