Under the banner “We Refuse to be Enemies,” several hundred Jews, Arabs, and
community members gathered on a rainy, snowy evening in December to eat, talk,
sing, and dance together. Sponsored by the Eugene Middle East Peace Group, the
event featured several speakers representing the Jewish and Muslim faiths. The
evening fell mid-way between Channukah and Eid el-Fitr, the Jewish and Muslim
holy days, respectively (Eid el-Fitr is the last night of Ramadan).
Music was provided by the Eugene Peace Choir and by
Americanistan, a band which plays
music inspired by cultures of the Middle East. MCs Jonathan Seidel and Maha
Hamide worked with the band to create two new peace songs in three
languages–English, Hebrew, and Arabic–which were sung by the entire gathering.
Israeli dances and Arabic debke (folk dance) to the music of Americanistan
completed the evening’s entertainment.Fabulous traditional Arabic and Jewish food created by the Lane Community
College culinary arts department, in conjunction with restaurateur Ibrahim
Hamide, provided a delicious, satisfying, and symbolic opportunity for Jews,
Arabs, Christians–and anyone who eats food!–to sit together and celebrate our
It was an event that made one proud to be a human being, a peace worker, and
a part of a light of hope, however small, for the world.
This year’s celebration was the fourth annual gathering sponsored by the
Eugene Middle East Peace Group.
-Submitted by Dunyah, Director of Americanistan, an world music band of
musicians based in Eugene, Oregon.