Thursday, May 05, 2005
On this day:

Kumbaya My Lord Friend

The latest feel good lunacy from UM(ass)'s The Daily Collegian: Mid East dialogue a success
For the past seven weeks we, students and members from diverse religious, ethnic and political backgrounds, have met weekly to organize a dialogue session between local Jews, Arabs and Muslims on campus from UMass and the local community. On Tuesday evening, the fruits of our labor were displayed in "Crossroads," a well-attended dialogue between students focusing on religion, identity, culture and the political conflict in the Middle East. This dialogue was intended to promote understanding, learning, free expression and the creation of safe spaces for that expression. As the evening began with icebreakers, the diverse group of students warmed up to each other and preliminary tensions began to fade. Shortly after enjoying samples of Mediterranean foods the diverse group of students refocused and broke up into several dialogue groups based on where they discussed issues in the Middle East relating to the themes of Mid East identity, religion, culture and politics. The discussions were lead by student facilitators who presented prepared questions on the individual topics. This allowed for the creation of a safe environment where each student had equal time to share as well as listen. The structure and organized format of the dialogue allowed for all voices to be heard. As the organizers and facilitators of this event, we were extremely pleased with the varied turn out. The participants expressed contrasting opinions that seemed to transcend religious, ethnic, cultural and national boundaries. On many issues, people of seemingly similar backgrounds disagreed on varying topics. Towards the end of the evening, we formed a Middle Eastern drumming circle led by local world music performer/educator Michael DiMartino and created rhythms together, with one voice, in the spirit of dialogue and cooperation. The energy engaged the crowd and set differences aside as it unified people of different backgrounds and perspectives.
Hear that Isreal? Hear that Palestine? If you want to end your conflicts and bloodshed, have a hippie "dialogue," but make sure everyone who shows up is "diverse" (i.e., not white and Christian). Then write an article about it repeating the same 3 vacuous slogans over and over. Whoever taught the above student to write should be tarred and feathered. What would we do without UM(ass)?