We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

John W. Eyster: Middle-East-peace seminar offers rare opportunity

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John W. Eyster
November 6, 2014

I always read first and foremost any article with ANNA MARIE LUX's byline. Today there is a FRONT PAGE article, “Palestinian peacemaker Zoughbi Zoughbi bringing story to Janesville” reporting on the free seminar, “Understanding Conflict in the Middle East” to be held at Cargill United Methodist Church, 2000 Wesley Avenue, Janesville at 6 p.m. on Sunday, November 9.

Zoughbi Zoughbi is the founder of the Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center in Bethlehem. He is in Wisconsin to participate in the “Voices for Peace and Justice in the Holy Land tomorrow and Saturday at the Pyle Center at UW-Madison. My wife, Marilyn and I are participating in this conference. For more information, use this link: “Voices for Peace and Justice Conference.”

Kathy Holcombe of Janesville traveled with Pilgrims of Ibillin on an educational trip to Palestine (West Bank) and Israel. The Executive Director of the Pilgrims of Ibillin, Joan Deming, who was the pastor of First United Methodist Church in Milton (1976-80) led the trip Holcombe was on. Deming leads up to two trips annually to the Middle East. Check out the Madison-based Pilgrims of Ibillin.

I urge readers of my WE THE PEOPLE blog to read ANNA MARIE LUX's “Between the Lines” feature in today's Janesville Gazette for more information about the free seminar at Cargill, Janesville and the credentials Zoughbi Zoughbi, a Christian Palestinian, who founded the Wi'am Center for Conflict Resolution in 1995.

I think it is significant that Zoughbi grew up in Bethlehem and received an advanced degree at Notre Dame University in the United States. Zoughbi is involved with the World Council of Churches, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Arab Partnership for Conflict Prevention.

In 2010, he received the Peace Building Award in the World Vision International Peace Prize competition.

Zoughbi's work as a nonviolence educator brings him to Madison this weekend for a conference about peace in the Middle East.

“We do not demonize the other,” Zoughbi is often quoted as saying. “We humanize the other. We still look forward to a future of peace and living together.”

Joan Deming commented, “Zoughbi's desire for peace grows from a deep sense of belief that all people are made in the likeness of God.

“He and other peacemakers refuse to let a very difficult situation be the definition of their lives,” she explained. “They also have a deep belief in the inherent worth of all people. They refuse to be enemies. They refuse to hate.”

Referring to peacemakers in the Middle East, Deming reports, “I have heard them say that believing in the power of love is so important. They have decided the best thing to do is to keep reaching out to the best of humanity.”

The free seminar at Cargill Church, Janesville on Sunday, November 9 @6 pm is a valuable opportunity to gain more information and perspective about the situation in the Middle East focusing on the Palestine—Israel crisis. I hope you will post comment after you attend the seminar sharing your experience and learnings.

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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