This session featured a film premiere of a documentary film made by the Bereaved Family Forum in Israel. This Forum consists of parents who have lost their children or relatives in the ongoing conflict. The film followed one Palestinian and one Israeli in their efforts for reconciliation.
It was also being shown in many other places including Tel Aviv and Ramallah. It featured two men, Rami and Bassam, from the Bereaved Family Forum sharing their struggles and realizations after their daughters had been killed.
More information about the documentary can be found at www.withineyeofstorm.com It is directed by Shelley Hermon. After watching the launch several inspired participants said they wanted to promote the documentary in their city. Both men had addressed Middle East Peace Initiative delegates many times in past years.
Bassam and Rami, a Palestinian and Israeli, were once dedicated fighters willing to kill and be killed by one another for the sake of their nations. Yet each one of them came face to face with the price of war when their daughters were killed in the conflict. Left with the excruciating pain of bereavement, they chose to do the unexpected. They set out on a joint journey to humanize the very enemy, which took the dearest thing from them and prevent the vicious cycle of retaliation in themselves and their societies. Along the way they reveal the friendship and humor that keeps them alive. The film follows their two parallel stories and the moments where they converge, both in their personal experiences and peace work as they face their shattered families, confused communities and opposing society. This is a critical junction in both their lives, as their life mission and personal agenda clash and they stand the biggest test to their friendship.
Celebration Dinner and Cultural Performances
The evening dinner was also a celebration with cultural performances. Ms. Torhild Nigar, songwriter and composer, sang her song “Eternity,” which won in the Norwegian final of the Eurovision Song Contest some years back. Torhild Nigar, Kjell Elvis Bjørnestad, and Faizullah Khan all contributed to a wonderful evening. A great surprise for all participants was the performance of Kjell Elvis Björnestad, number one Elvis tribute artist in Europe. He charmed everybody with his performance. Since this was a peace conference, he took time to share about his efforts to support thousands of orphans in Burma. Our Ambassador for Peace, Faizullah Khan, recited his own wonderful poems as the conclusion of the evening