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NPR Interview with the Parents Circle’s Bassam Aramin

A Palestinian Takes A Different Road In His Fight

Bassam NPR 2Hear and read from Bassam Aramin, the Parents Circle’s Palestinian spokesperson, about his youth in Palestine, and how his time in an Israeli prison and the loss of his daughter Abir to the conflict caused a radical change in his heart, from hatred to peace. From the NPR article:

Bassam Aramin was not born hating Israel, but he learned young.

He was 5 or 6 years old the first time he saw Israeli soldiers. This was about a decade after the 1967 war, when Israel captured the West Bank. Aramin’s large family lived an ancient lifestyle. Like many families in the area, their home was in a cave in the south, near Hebron. They farmed for a living.

Now 46, Aramin looks back on a fast track to hating and to fighting Israel that would be familiar to many Palestinians. But eventually he flipped — both his worldview and his ways.

He credits a very unexpected stir of empathy that happened in an unexpected place.


PCFF’s Robi Damelin Receives Dewey Award

Dewey Winburne SXSW flyer Robi SXSW Dewey 3Congratulations to the Parents Circle’s Israeli spokesperson, Robi Damelin! Robi was honored yesterday at SXSW’s Dewey Winburne Community Service Awards ceremony for her continued and brave work in peacebuilding and reconciliation in Israel and Palestine. From the SXSW webpage for the awards:

Dewey Winburne was one of the original co-founders of the SXSW Interactive Festival, but he was many other things in the Austin community: a family man, a teacher, a visionary, a connector and an innovator. He believed that technology could bridge the digital divide and help those less fortunate than others. Although Winburne passed away in 1999, his legacy continues. His life exemplified how one individual can truly make an impact in their community.

The Dewey Awards celebrate the spirit of community in Austin that we think is unique to SXSW. Each spring, ten recipients are recognized for their use of digital technology to help others. Each honoree will receive a complimentary registration to SXSW, a $1,000 grant to their favorite 501(c)(3) and a chance to spread the word about their work to the SXSW community.

In Honor of International Women’s Day

Today, on International Women’s Day, we celebrate the work of the bereaved Palestinian and Israeli women of the Parents Circle and their personal journeys towards reconciliation.

women to women dialogue 2.27
Women-to-Women Dialogue Meeting, 2.27.2016 in Jaffa

Last summer, the American Friends of the Parents Circle successfully raised funds that went towards training 45 Israeli and Palestinian women to become stronger leaders for peace. The trainings have strengthened their capacity to facilitate dialogue meetings, improved their public speaking skills and provided them with storytelling coaching from veteran facilitators.

With more trained female facilitators, the Parents Circle is better equipped to hold “Women to Women” Dialogue meetings. Newly trained female facilitators have held two Women to Women Dialogue Meetings since their training.  By sharing their personal narratives of loss and and their choice of reconciliation, the women draw the groups together. Individuals from the “other side” are no longer seen as enemies to be hated or feared but as humans who want to be acknowledged and respected.

This past weekend, more than 150 Israeli and Palestinian Parents Circle members, staff and alumni of the Parents Circle’s Narrative Project marched together in solidarity at the Freedom March in honor of International Women’s Day.

As part of PCFF’s “Narratives for Change” project, Israeli and Palestinian women come together regularly for “Women to Women” Dialogue meetings. Here, the participants are given a safe space to share personal narratives about those they’ve lost in the conflict, and to share questions, expectations, fears, and hopes about ongoing reconciliation and peace efforts.

Thank you to all who generously contributed to our Indiegogo campaign and for helping make this opportunity possible for so many women!


Our Tears Are the Same Color

By Robi Damelin

Robi color

What makes you think that the tears on a bereaved, Palestinian mother’s pillow are a different color than those of a grieving Israeli mother? What makes you think that there cannot be any mother whose suffering is greater than an Israeli mother’s?

All mothers who have lost their beloved children share the same pain and no matter what image or label the media, politicians or the powers that be assign, their lives will never be the same.


Robi Damelin and Bassam Aramin will visit the US

Robi and Bassam

Parents Circle members, Robi Damelin and Bassam Aramin will visit Austin, TX, NY,NY and Washington, DC from March 11-March 16.  Highlights include participation in the SXSW Conference in Austin (March 11-14) and Theatre J’s production of David Grossman’s Falling Out of Time in Washington, DC (March 17).  Would you like to invite members of the PCFF to speak to your community?


Live Streaming Discussion with Bereaved Palestinian & Israeli Fathers

Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan, Jerusalemites and bereaved Palestinian and Israeli fathers and members of the Parents Circle – Families Forum (PCFF) spoke at an online live streaming event. They spoke of their choice, as bereaved fathers, to work together for peace and reconciliation, and about the current atmosphere of violence, fear, and unrest in the region and the current work of the PCFF.


We’ve Reached our End of the Year Goal!

Thank you for helping us raise more than $25,000 so that Israeli and Palestinian members can participate in a  2-day Emergency Member Assembly to engage in dialogue and recommit to the principles of reconciliation in the face of intense social, cultural, and political challenges. Palestinian and Israeli members must address what is happening together, to put the current situation into context together, to make plans for a more hopeful future, and to give one another the strength and support necessary to carry on this intensely emotional work.


What is hardest for us during this period, is the inability to meet with our partners on the other side. We know all too well the consequences of this violence and the toll it takes on our morale. This is the most challenging test of our individual and collective ability to put words into action, to continue to pursue dialogue, and to empathize with the other side