Seeds of Peace uses state-of-the-art technology to unite teenagers across borders. As a secure email listserve, SeedsNet provided a daily forum for Seeds of Peace alum to continue dialogue started at Camp. It became a key means of maintaining consistent communication during periods of unrest and was supplemented by online dialogue sessions in a chat room environment.
Below are excerpts from a typical exchange on SeedsNet (names omitted):
Subject: brain washed!!
From: Pakistani Seed
Hi guys, I wanna share my first experience after SOP by interacting at ppl back home. I showed pictures to my friends and coz and told them that “this is my bunk, that’s my table,” etc. Then I told them how we used to live in bunks and share tables and how I made friends from other side. Now this time it was bombarded by the questions: “You used to eat with Jews?” “You used to sleep with Indians?” “You used to share your toothpaste?” “You used to share to your things?” “You used to share your shoes?” “How come you can sit with them and eat?” “How come you tolerated them at your table?” And I told them that they r quite like us and u can’t differentiate between us and them. They said “that’s what they wanted to do – make u forget ur values and make u turn against ur own country and as we can see they r quite successful in it.” I explained to them that it wasn’t something to make us change our identity or forget our values, it was only the way to make friends and to have the friendly view of other side. “But Indians are not worth making friends” “They are the most worst ppl” “They are liars” “They want to oppress us, they commit aggression against us” etc., etc., etc.” I tried to explain again to them and the more I explained to them, the more they got arrogant, and in the end, they said “don’t sit near us, don’t talk with us and we are not going to eat with you until you come out of the brainwashing trance.” I knew it, it wasn’t something I wasn’t prepared for but I had made a promise to myself that I will remain firm in my beliefs and no matter what happens I will not go off my belief that the “enemy has a face.” Thanks to all of u for making me say that “I am not a prejudice any more” and I am proud to say that. Take care and love ya all, Pakistani Seed
Subject: To my Pakistani friend
From: Israeli Seed
Listen, being back home, for most people, is when the challenge really starts. It is practically impossible to put in words how the SOP experience has made u suddenly think differently and believe in different things. And that is why people will simply think u were brainwashed. Basically, what I wanted to say, is that I really admire u for the way u handled things. It is not easy, and it probably won’t get easier so soon. But I think u showed a lot of courage, standing up for what u believe in. It is our job now to pass on the message. Don’t ever forget what u have learned in Seeds of Peace. No matter how rough things get, always remember u will have ur friends here to help u and to support in anything u do. Be brave, take a stand. We can all do it, together. That’s it guys… Love u all, Israeli Seed
Subject: 2 my Pakistani and Israeli Friends
From: Jordanian Seed
When I came back from camp last year, I was trying 2 tell my friends and everyone how great camp was, and honestly I couldn’t put that into words, but people around me got my point in the right way, the way I wanted them 2 get it. Your situation is different, u couldn’t express ur self, so the first reaction was that u r brainwashed!. You did a great job, and am sure that everyone who read ur email was proud of you, standing for ur opinion was just awesome, u tried ur best, but they didn’t get what u meant, that’s because they didn’t have the opportunity 2 sit with the other side and stay with them for 3 weeks, all u have 2 do is 2 remember that what you’ve learnt at seeds of peace should never be forgotten. Thank u again, you were just great, keep going. Love ya all, Jordanian Seed
Subject: proud to be brainwashed
From: Pakistani Seed
Hi all, First of all thank u for encouraging me and letting me know that there are ppl by my side. I know that it’s really difficult for someone to change his or her point of view, and especially if the changing of that point of view arises the sympathies for the enemy. But if on telling other ppl that I have made friends from my counter part I am sentenced “brainwashed”, then I am proud to be one. If I am called brainwashed on believing that my enemy has a face, then I am proud that I have been “brainwashed”. If I am no more prejudiced about Jews and Indians then I am proud to be “brainwashed.” If I have realized that my “enemy” wants to live in peace and prosper just like me, then I am proud to be a part of this “brainwashing”, as I have discovered the truth far from my biased history books thru this “brain washing centre” then it’s my honor to become a part of this camp. Since I have seen the best way humans can live, far from the religious riots and misconceptions about each other, I am sure some day we will be able to have a world like this. Just look at the camp, everybody performed their religious service and nobody objected, nobody argued against each other beliefs, can’t this happen in our homelands…..it surely can all we have to do is to clear our minds and let the fresh air of friendship and understanding blow in. Take care and good luck, remember, DESTINY IS BORN FROM DREAMS. Pakistani Seed