Thursday, June 27, 2013

Is it possible to forgive?

Out of the recent love-themed TEDx Milan at which I spoke comes a deeply meaningful forum. Robi Damelin's son David was killed by a Palestinian sniper while he was guarding a checkpoint near a settlement during his army reserve service. Robi is an active member of a group of 500 Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost close family members and who work together for reconciliation and a just resolution to the conflict (this is the subject of the much-awarded BBR Saatchi & Saatchi Israel project Blood relations).

In Milan on July 2 Robi will take part in a forum The Justice of Forgiveness: From Israel to South Africa and Back at the Catholic University of Milan. The event is instigated by Saatchi & Saatchi Italy chairman Fabrizio Caprara and former magistrate Gherardo Colombo, who had a conversation at TEDx addressing the question “Is it possible to forgive?”

In addition to Robi, the participants of the forum are

Adolfo Ceretti Ceretti, professor of Criminal Law at Universita' degli Studi di Milano).

Gabrio Forti, (Dean of the Law faculty, professor of Criminal Law of the Catholic University of Milan).

Claudia Mazzucato, Criminal Law researcher.

Gherardo Colombo, formerly one of the leading Italian public prosecutors and judges, now engaged in the promotion restorative justice and a culture of lawfulness.

Fabrizio Caprara, Chairman Saatchi & Saatchi Italia.

An insight into Robi’s experience is recorded in this interview with Just Vision:

Instead of channeling it into revenge, the people in our group have chosen another direction for their pain. The pain breaks down barriers very quickly between Palestinians and Israelis in the group. There's a sense of trust. It's not hummus and hugs— it's much deeper than that; it's acknowledgement and empathy, which happen much faster than in a normal meeting between a Palestinian and an Israeli because we recognize each other immediately through the pain."

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