Thoughts for Nice

DoveEncompass would like to extend its heartfelt sympathy to all the survivors and families and friends of those killed in the many terror attacks around the world over the past few months. Each death and maiming weighs equally upon us. Once again we find ourselves mourning, this time for the people of Nice, a city very close to the hearts of the Braden family.

Contemplating Change

blog AdiI came back to Israel with a deep urge “to do something”. What? I didn’t know. The phrase “to do something” does a lot of justice to how I felt then and even to how I am feeling now: the reality is complex, our reality is so complex – so what can I do? How do you start dealing with different wrongs and impatience?

In the past, part of my answer was escape, or escapism. It’s easy to become apathetic and try to live my life the best way I can. I have nothing to do with those sad stories around us.

So I started teaching Hebrew asylum seekers from Eritrea, in order to ease their difficulties and to fulfill my need to do something and spread good around me. With that saying, I keep thinking that “Be the change you want to see in the world” is not enough anymore. We can’t settle just to this and we need actively support good initiatives and ideas.

I really like teaching Hebrew and to make connections between communities better – and I keep looking for my chance and opportunity to do something bigger.

Adi, Israel, JoU February 14

On the passing of a lifelong Humanitarian

EdhiThis weekend saw the passing away of an incredible philanthropist and lover of humanity, Abdul Sattar Edhi founder of the Edhi Foundation in Pakistan. Read here about the very ordinary and humble life of this extraordinary man.

Rest in peace Mr Edhi and may there rise many more Edhi’s across the world.

 

I am racist

I am racist. I have been racist since the moment my soul was born into a white body in the United States of America.

I am racist but I am not bigoted. My brand of racism is not overt.

I don’t tweet racist things, I don’t use racial slurs, I do my best to treat everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve as human beings.

My brand of racism was thrust upon me and is often invisible. It has trained me to fear the presence certain bodies and attempted to minimize my remorse when those bodies are unjustly slain.

My brand of racism was informed by a rosy and false version of our country’s history of race relations.

‘Abraham Lincoln ended slavery. MLK Jr. had a dream of racial unity. We should all be “colorblind” and love each other.’

Yet reality is not at all colorblind.

A young white man who raped an unconscious girl behind a dumpster gets a short jail sentence on the basis that he made a lapse of judgment. A black man selling CDs illegally to support his family had had no chance at justice and was instead publicly executed.

My brand of racism is fueled by a stream of media that discusses the tragic end of the white man’s swimming career and digs up reasons to vilify the man of color.
We all deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but we MUST be aware of the hurdles that prevent certain people from attaining them and find ways to even the playing field.

To my white friends, family, neighbors: I call upon you to please look to acknowledge the biases that affect your opinions and think about where they came from and figure out how to erase them. The media you consume and company you keep play a huge part in this. This cleansing will take time and commitment and you will mess up along the way, but it’s absolutely necessary to make our country a safe place for everyone that calls it home. America’s culture of racism is so entrenched and subversive that those living today may never be able to fully scrub them out of their subconscious but we MUST try.

To my friends, family, and neighbors of color: my heart aches for you. I will never know the extent of the pain you experience on a daily basis, but let me be a friend and ally to you in whatever way I can. You do not deserve to feel unsafe in your own neighborhoods, homes, or now, cars. My Muslim brothers and sisters: you do not deserve to be asked to justify the terrorism by deranged few that claim to act in your name, yet wreak destruction on your own holy sites during one of your most sacred times of celebration. My Latinx brothers and sisters: your contributions to this country don’t deserve to be washed away by threats of a wall or deportation.

If you take issue with or feel uncomfortable by what I’m saying, don’t block me. Don’t dismiss this plea as “white guilt” or “liberal agenda” and respond with politicized buzzwords. Instead, reach out to me and let’s have a meaningful conversation. Don’t expect people of color to owe you the same time and energy, as their time is being spent on far more taxing things.

If only it were so simple to tell you all to stay safe and have it become reality. Instead, I wish you the strength to keep fighting.

xo
Derek, USA, JoU February 2014

“Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion”

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Like the rest of the UK, we are in shock and devastated by the horrific murder of MP Jo Cox, who was shot and stabbed to death while serving her constituency.  Jo stood for the values we hold dear – equality, unity, diversity and cohesion.

In her maiden speech at Parliament, she said, “Our communities have been deeply enhanced by immigration, be it of Irish Catholics across the constituency or of Muslims from Gujarat in India or from Pakistan, principally from Kashmir. While we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”

Writing for the Guardian, Polly Toynbee says, “This attack on a public official cannot be viewed in isolation. It occurs against a backdrop of an ugly public mood in which we have been told to despise the political class, to distrust those who serve, to dehumanise those with whom we do not readily identify.”

Jo’s husband Brendan Cox said in a moving statement that “Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.  She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.”

Encompass shares each of these sentiments.  We will continue to fight against hatred, continue to bring together people to talk about their differences as well as discovering all that they have in common, and work together to make positive change.  Our thoughts are with all victims of senseless violence.

We are One

Human 1.jpgEncompass would like to extend its deepest condolences to all the families of the victims of the devastating attack at Pulse Nightclub,  a gay club in Orlando on Sunday morning. This was not just an attack on the lives of the 50 lost and the countless left critically ill, but more pertinently, it was an abhorrent attack on the civil liberties of American society and anyone in the world who values their civil and indeed human liberties.

Over the past few days we have witnessed one of the greatest and most richly diverse funeral services the world has ever seen. People of all faiths, no faith and from all walks of life stood on a shared podium to celebrate the life of  Muhammad Ali; sportsman, philanthropist, civil rights activist and just an extraordinary American. It is therefore even more upsetting that America be rocked with such a great tragedy a mere 48 hours after such a show of togetherness and unity.

We stand with Orlando and with every other civil liberty being attacked the world over. Goodness and humanity will rise above this senseless and mindless hate and barbarity wherever it may be. We have seen this as a direct result of the attack as tens of hundreds of ordinary Americans waited for hours in the heat to donate blood in order to save the lives of their neighbours, friends and even strangers in the wake of the tragedy. Where there is humanity, there will always be hope.

We are Orlando.

We are humanity.

We are One.

Ramadan Kareem!

Ramadan Karim

Wishing all our friends and supporters who are observing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan a blessed, fruitful and spiritually enlightening Ramadan.

Ramadan Kareem!

4th Annual Bhineka Camp & Encompass Awards 2016

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It’s all happening over the pond at Encompass Indonesia…

Encompass Indonesia have continued their amazing work towards peace and understanding! Their fourth Bhineka (peace) Camp took place at Petungsewu Wildllife Education Center in Malang, between 8th and 15th May 2016. The programme saw 15 males and 9 females coming together to develop dialogue on issues surrounding identity, stereotypes and conflict; overcoming challenges, and working together withothers to promote multi-cultural understanding and tolerance in Indonesia. Two facilitators, a programme coordinator and many other volunteers made sure that the programme went off well. Participants came from several provinces in Indonesia including North Sumatra, West Borneo, West Papua and East Java.

Enthusiasm from participants was high, and many reported that the programme opened their minds to ideas around tolerance, empathy, team work, solidarity and equality.

The Encompass Indonesia ‘Award’ was also recently given to five outstanding people who have supported Encompass Indonesia and helped enable all their good work this year. Winners were chosen by the Encompass Indonesia team and included an artist, an academic, and a number of cultural experts who have provided valuable input.

Meanwhile, the ‘House of Understanding’, Encompass Indonesia’s multi-faith hub and meeting centre for community cohesion, carries on gathering momentum.

Beyond the JoU – Encompass retold…

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The Journey of Understanding really is an introspective journey that leaves participants with a better and more rounded view of not only themselves, but too those around them. One of the things we feel is really important for our participants to take home is the skills and learning they themselves undertake whilst on the JoU and it is truly warming when these skills are put back into use by participants themselves in their very own communities and surroundings. As has been exactly the case, time and time again in Palestine, where previous participants recreate mini-workshops for young people in Tulkarem and beyond. This series of workshops were titled, ‘Creating the Story of Your Life’.

Diala(JoU, Feb 2016) began the workshop by giving identity pertinent questions to the group with the ‘Speed Dating’ activity.This got them thinking about both personal and community identity. After the activity she debriefed them, and handed the group over to Hend(JoU, Nov 2012), to learn story telling skills. Then Tamera(JoU, Feb 2015) and Khaled (JoU hopeful and our resident artist) instructed the group on making identity posters, to be included in a further project the group are running.

Take a look at the slideshow of pictures from recent workshops run by these amazing, inspirational and very creative young people and watch this space for more exciting projects all the way from Palestine!

At Encompass we are striving to work hard to empower young people to not only be, but too make the positive change they hope to see in society. Our work would not be possible without the generous donations of our supporters. Please help us to continue our work to make this world a more cohesive and peaceful place to be, by donating today.

A life changing experience…

IMG_1860.JPGEncompass has changed my life.

Encompass is a cross-cultural communication week long emersion  with people from the US, UK, Indonesia, Israel and Palestine in Snowdonia, Wales.  Throughout the week we were able to discover ourselves and uncover the boundaries that hold us back.  We engaged in discussions relating to self identity, nationality, ethnicity, culture, gender, privilege and how to bring back what we learn to the community.  These discussions led to deeper conversations about meanings and experiences of life.

I learned a lot about myself throughout this experience.  In the discussions I was able to talk about what was important to me and my own identity and what I believe in.  We created a safe zone where anyone was free to discuss their opinions.  Within myself, I was able to learn about what traits make up who I am and what parts of society I identify with.  It was a way to open up and realize what makes me different than everyone else.

I also gained a new perspective of the world.  I was able to meet people from five different countries with different experiences regarding culture and religion.  It was an eye-opening experience to listen to personal stories of the hardships that others go through.  Everyone in the program was different yet we all had the same goal which is to make the world a better place.

All of us became very close and I consider them some of my good friends.  I met so many good people that have high hopes and dreams to change the world.  We bonded over everything whether it was inside jokes or just things people did.  One of the most unforgettable things about this program was the people.   We did not have any wifi or service which contributed to our deep connections.  We were able to fully immerse ourselves in what we were doing without the distractions of the outside world.  I was at peace in Wales.

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We also participated in team-building outdoor activities in Snowdonia, Wales.  I have never been to Wales before and was excited to be able to spend the week in the mountains.  Throughout the week I repelled down a mountain, gorging, canoeing and hiked Snowden, the tallest mountain in Snowdonia.  I was able to bond with all my new friends while embracing the beauty of this world.

022616_Encompass_DSC0810This blog post does not do enough justice to what Encompass has done for me.  I do not think I’ll ever be able to fully explain it.  It’s just something that has forever made an impact on me and I am so thankful for getting the opportunity to participate in Encompass: The Journey of Understanding.

Tiffany, USA, JoU February 2016

At Encompass we are striving to work hard to empower young people to not only be, but too make the positive change they hope to see in society. Our work would not be possible without the generous donations of our supporters. Please help us to continue our work to make this world a more cohesive and peaceful place to be, by donating today.

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