Since the onset of the global pandemic, we have supported local peacebuilding groups to take their work online, awarding over 230 grants as part of a Digital Inclusion Fund. Many of these grants went to women’s groups. This International Women’s Day, we celebrate the female peacebuilders who have kept their work going through challenging times.
Today marks both the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the State of Israel, and the culmination of six-weeks’ worth of Land Day protests along the Gaza separation fence. In light of the recent uptick in violence throughout the occupied territories; Peace Direct’s Scarlett Kassimatis and Oscar Lester examine the violent narrative surrounding the Great March of Return, which yesterday claimed the lives of 59 Palestinian civilians.
Moody is a young Palestinian who lives in Haifa, on the coast of Northern Israel. He is passionate about music, and a full-time rapper. Moody’s life changed when he attended a concert in Tel Aviv where he performed with both Israeli and Palestinian musicians on stage. Moody’s experiences reveal the power of Heartbeat’s work. In a context so often defined by stereotype and separation, Heartbeat’s music unifies people and allows them to explore the complexity of one another’s identity.
Sometimes it feels like Christmas has come early in the Peace Direct office, as we receive kind words of hope and encouragement sent in by our supporters. In our Christmas appeal this year, we asked people to write their own messages of hope to send to Heartbeat, a brave group of young Israeli and Palestinian musicians who make music together, bridging the divides of conflict there.
Heartbeat is a group of young people, Israeli and Palestinian, who have come together to create music and understanding and learn to trust those they have been told to fear. In a place where most young people’s experience of ‘the other side’ is guns, violence and hate, at Heartbeat things are different. These young, inspirational people want to change the current situation – together.
Too often the streets of Israeli and Palestinian residents are haunted by the cries of mothers, the sobs of daughters and the sound of gun shots. However, amongst narratives of war, death and violence which claim national and international headlines, there is a chorus of young voices, disdainful of violence, that should not be drowned out.