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Photo: Two boys, a 1988 photo of a Palestinean and an Israeli

by Debbi Cooper 


“We get wise by asking questions, and even if these are not answered we get wise, for a well-packed question carries its answer on its back as a snail carries its shell."

– James Stephens, Irish Fairy Tales

 Dear Friends:


A picture is worth a thousand words. I have had several copies of the photo of the boys since it was published in 1988, one Palestinian, the other Jewish, holding each other like brothers. It speaks so much of my dream of Peace for the Holy Land, where people from both sides work together (TOGETHER is the key word). Standing Together, The Parents Circle and Combatants for Peace are groups I have followed as long as I have been actively involved with the Middle East, which led me to co-found Women in Black/Santa Fe in 2001 and curate a fundraiser concert for some of these groups (The Third Truth, 2003).

In my last mailing, I had expressed my qualms about doing my prayer vigil performance, Tears of the World, for Israel/Palestine. Since then, I have invited my fear and other troubling emotions to tea! (Marvelous idea stemming from the Buddha via Shunryu Suzuki Roshi.) 

  • The fear of a performance artist?

  • The fear of being caught in the mad us/them battles?

  • The despair of someone who feels the trauma of both Jews and Palestinians?

  • The despair of someone who is a quarter Jewish via paternal grandmother?

  • The despair of someone whose Sufi soul made her co-found Women in Black/Santa Fe in 2001.

  • The reality of my physical abilities (carrying the Tears of the World both physically and mentally is too hard for an aging body and a super-sensitive soul).

  • The reality of an already stressed cardiac patient?

For now, some cream and sweetness in the tea! I’d like to share three positive news stories that renew my faith in humanity and make me marvel at the infinity of creativity. 

  • You will love these young people in YOUTH V. GOV, a 2020 documentary film available on Netflix. It is the story of the Juliana v. The United States of America constitutional lawsuit and the 21 American youth, ages 14 to 25, who are taking on the world’s most powerful government. Since 2015, the legal non-profit, Our Children’s Trust, has been representing these youth in their landmark case against the U.S. government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty, personal safety, and property through the government's willful actions in creating the climate crisis they will inherit. “Finally, in 2024, the Juliana plaintiffs will have their long-awaited trial and the federal government’s fossil fuel energy system will be measured and judged by the fundamental constitutional rights of these youth.”  

  • The transformation of a radical women’s peace group, CodePink, who now promotes The Local Peace Economy. They write, “To end violence and create the beautiful world that we so long to live in, we must radically reimagine and transform our relationships so they are defined by love and compassion. This is how we transform our war economy into a peace economy. Growing local peace economies is a revolution of values and practices.” They have a list of twenty Peace Pivots that seem to be coming out of a consciousness-raising group! To give you an example, here are four: Either/Or to Both/And; Reactionary to Investigative; Us vs. Them to All of Us; Limitation to Imagination.


  • For la crème de la crème, here is something from composer, punk rocker, mayor, professor Phillip Bimstein whom I met during my Deep Listening work with composer Pauline Oliveros. Phillip shares stories and examples of his many music compositions that weave in oral histories. This inspiring interview is for anyone interested in the infinite evolutionary variants of and approaches to art:


With the children (on both sides) in my heart,


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