Philosophy behind “Blessed Are The Peacemakers” Movie and my larger work in Visual Peacemaking
Throughout history people have fallen into the trap of making enemies with, demonizing, stereotyping, and fighting the “other.” There has been a flood of conflicts based on ethnic, cultural, and religious identity in the post-cold war era that have ended the lives of millions, destroyed economies, and torn apart families. Much of this has been fueled by the growing availability of technology, especially photography and videography to portray our other in the worst possible light. While the written word carries an expectation for honesty, there is a void regarding the ethics of images due to their subjective nature. This void has opened the door for photographers and others to exploit people’s desire to confirm their thoughts about the “other”—mobilizing innumerable people towards slander, violence, and other fear-based responses.
Currently, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, combined with a broad and growing frequency of conflict and terrorism around the world, seem to support the idea that the entire world is caught up in a clash of civilizations. There is growing widespread fear and anger. It is becoming increasingly difficult to see others, our fellow human beings who are different than us, as regular citizens trying to make a living and care for their families. Xenophobia is on the rise. It seems that nobody from the other camp wants, let alone desires, to work for peace.
This is exactly why I am committed to what some are calling Visual Peacemaking: creating visual media that works to break down stereotypes and prejudices, instead of propagating them. I believe it is only when we recognize the connectedness of all humanity and see the beauty and dignity in others, even in real conflict, that we can truly begin a journey toward peace and reconciliation. As a visual peacemaker, I use my camera to build bridges of understanding, in an effort to create a basic building block for peace across ethnic, cultural, and religious lines through visual communication and oral storytelling.
For more information go to my GoFundMe “Do Peace Now” to learn how you can help me make a 6 session study guide, expanding on this effort to make peace in Israel-Palestine.