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November 15, 2002 - Image 93

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-11-15

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Field of Dreams

Seeds of Peace International Camp cultivates
conflict resolution along with lasting friendships.

By Miriam Liebman


ut beyond ideas of wrong-
doing and right-doing, there
is a field. I'll meet you
there," said Mevlana Jalal e-
Din Rumi (1207-1273). But this idea
did not- end with Rumi. It is a com-
mon theme used at Seeds of Peace
International Camp located in
Otisfield, Maine. Camp at Seeds of
Peace is not simply playing basketball
or baseball, but it is about learning.
And by learning, I do
not mean studying
math or science. By
learning, I mean learn-
ing about people.
Learning about peo-
ple, however, neither
comes.easily, nor does it
always come through
conversation. Learning
about people comes
from watching a group
of girls from
Afghanistan learn not
only how to play bas-
ketball, but, through
basketball, learn what it
is to be a woman. And
learning about people comes through
watching an Israeli and a Palestinian
help each other walk across a rope
when they are 40 feet up in the air.
And learning about people shows
through a group of girls from India
and Pakistan doing a dance together
for a talent show.
At Seeds of Peace, when you are
playing street hockey it does not mat-
ter who you are or where you came
from because everyone now has the
same goal — to win the game with the
help of teammates who have all come
from the same area of conflict. At
home, they may have been enemies,
but at camp they are teammates,
bunk-mates and, even more than that,
the person who may once have been
your enemy at home is now your
When asked to describe my experi-

ence at Seeds of Peace, I can not do it.
T-here are no words to describe the
feeling I got when a Palestinian girl
came up to me in such a good mood
because they had come up with a
compromise over what to do with the
land in the Middle East. There are no
words to describe the sorrow I felt
when a girl from Afghanistan
described to us being beaten with her
own books by the Taliban because her
Burka fell off.
I'm not saying that this camp does


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...always in

good taste

not come with its share of hard times.
I wonder to myself, being a Jew, what
I am supposed to think when someone
denies the Holocaust simply because
that is what they were taught. And
what is a Palestinian supposed to think
of the Israelis with whom they are
supposed to be making friends, -when
on the second day of camp Israel re- •
entered Ramallah. And then I begin to
question why it is that a group of
teenagers can discuss ideas for peace
but the leaders of many of these coun-
tries in conflict have not yet reached
that step. There are still many unan-
swered questions, but the one thing
that I did learn is that although we
have not yet reached that field, I know
that it does exist. ❑
Miriam Liebman of Farmington Hills
attended the Seeds of Peace camp last

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