"For the first time in my life, I felt that people saw me for who I am and not as a Muslim, Christian, Jew or Arab. I felt that people asked where I come from to know about me and not about my right-or-wrong-doings."
'Is it possible that telling stories could bring peace to Israel? Are stories able to expel hatred, violence and aggression, in a country where even international involvement doesn’t help at all? Only dreamers will answer these questions affirmatively. But people need to dream in order to change reality; however little that change may be. I was one of those dreamers who went to the Healing Words Festival in the hills of Galilee in May 2007. There I met Israelis, Arabs, Palestinians from the West Bank and Europeans from several countries. I heard their stories and shared mine with them. And I participated in a workshop where Palestinians and Israelis were willing to play, dance, sing and communicate with each other. It was a heart-warming, inspiring event showing me that sharing stories and playing together can be the beginning of a healing process of peace.’
(Gottfrid van Eck, The Netherlands)
"The Healing Words festival was born from a flickering moment of human exchange and a painful longing for a different reality.
Watching the delightful jumble of accents, languages, and different-coloured faces, I thought perhaps even in this conflict-ridden area, even in our war-torn, blood-soaked Middle East, the inner knowing of a different reality, the deep realization of a peace consciousness already exists within the collective heartbeat of the human beings" (Ellaya Ayal Mor, Israel)
There are opportunities in life that have the potential to touch you to the core and propel you forward in the best possible way. Healing Words was one of these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities
Both individually and together we explored our aches, hopes and dreams. We practiced deep listening and inspired storytelling. We provided space for what needed healing. We looked into what our unique contributions to this world could look like and started to give them shape.
I felt safe, seen and at home. I laughed, cried, sang, danced and met friends that still mean the world to me. It was transformative and nourishing on all levels.
Today, more than two years later, I look back with nothing but gratitude. I feel blessed for all that we learned and shared together as a group, as well as for the symbolic re-birth I was able to gift myself on the last day of our time together, in the form of a healing story. It enabled me to start a new chapter in life and it gave me a deeper understanding of what my contribution to this world can be.
Lien Van Laere, Belgium