From East Midlands to the Middle East

“Despite all our differences, we stand together�, was the message from the ‘One Voice’ movement when students received a rare first-hand insight into the complex problems and tragedies of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Against a backdrop of increasing radicalisation of politics in the Middle East, the One Voice movement aims to tackle extremism and promote a moderate view, aimed at reconciliation and compromise.

In a symbolic and moving statement which politicians would do well to learn from, Shriri Ourian, an Israeli, and Malak Abu Meizar, a Palestinian, spoke in turn about their work to promote the movement in their home countries.

Founded after the breakdown of the Camp David agreement, the movement now has 150,000 Middle Eastern members empowering ordinary citizens to challenge their leaders to represent their concerns. They represent the majority whose lives have been plagued by incessant conflict, and who in the words of Malak, are “bored by war�.

Organised by the University of Nottingham’s Forum the event was relatively calm. At the penultimate talk in a tour of fifty universities on four continents, the speakers have encountered opposition for their unswaying determination to compromise.

Pledging to keep history firmly as history the movement seeks a solution based on the current territorial situation. Although a hopeful, admirable and reasonable step in the right direction, the movement is not without its blemishes. One Voice Palestine (‘Our Voice’) and One Voice Israel (‘One Mouth’) necessarily have to be promoted as nationalistic organizations for fear of being labelled leftist. The moderates have a long battle awaiting them.

Louise Sivey


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