Rianne Van Doeveren

Rianne Van Doeveren (Alternative Information Center - AIC): Rianne was born and raised in The Hague. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Leiden University. After her undergraduate studies she earned a scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree in international relations and diplomacy at Leiden University and Clingendael (The Netherlands Institute for International Affairs). She studied abroad in South Africa at Stellenbosch University. In South Africa, where she taught at a pre-primary school in the township Kayamandi. After her fellowship, Rianne wrote: "I could not have gained the deep level of understanding that I have developed of this region and occupation (it is hard to simply call it a conflict now) without this fellowship. It has proved to be worth more than my academic education thus far since it brought me back to reality and the importance of the actual events on the ground."

Stop waiting on the world to change

27 May

“Now we see everything that’s going wrong
with the world and those who lead it
we just feel like we don’t have the means
to rise above and beat it

it’s hard to beat the system
when we’re standing at a distance
so we keep waiting
waiting on the world to change”

(John Mayer – Waiting on the world to change)

In a few days my refusal to simply wait for the world to change will take actual shape as I bridge the distance and head out to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to start my AP fellowship with the Alternative Information Center (AIC). The AIC is a joint Palestinian-Israeli organisation that aims to disseminate information, political advocacy, grassroots activism and critical analysis of the Palestinian and Israeli societies as well as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in order to promote cooperation and mutual understanding between Israelis and Palestinians based on equality and human rights.

Today, sixty years after the 1948 war, Israel celebrates its independence while Palestinians commemorate what they term the Nakba or ‘catastrophe’ (the expulsion of more than 700.000 Palestinians in the process). These sixty years have brought little progress in a conflict that continues to detrimentally affect not only Israelis and Palestinians, but the entire region. While the final status issues (borders, settlements, Jerusalem and the right of return) are far from being resolved in the near future and matters are inherently complicated by radical actors present, people on both sides have not been discouraged to stand up for peace.

The focus on everything that is going wrong has greatly overshadowed the voices of these critical activists who are silenced or do not manage to reach us when they try to convey their message. One of them is the Palestinian activist Mohammed Abu Humus (AIC), who was recently detained by the Israeli secret service as he left a peaceful Palestinian-Israeli demonstration, for his activism against debt collection checkpoints.

This summer I will try to use all means available to bridge the distance in more ways than one when I try to make those voices of Israeli and Palestinian critical activists heard. However, in order to do this more is needed than just giving them ‘a voice’ in a blog, articles and the like. That voice needs to be heard so that it can open up space for thinking in alternative ways. Here is where I appeal to you.

Even when you stand at a distance there is no need to keep on waiting for the world to change. Listening to the message of those who still believe in peace and are willing to stand up for it in troubled times will help you understand the situation from a different viewpoint than the superficial glance often offered and can broaden the space for dialogue. At least that is my hope.

So please help me assist the critical activists for peace in this conflict by listening to what they have to say and thereby stimulate the construction of mutual understanding to rise above the conflict and in the long-term eventually beat it. This fellowship will most definetly be an eye-opener for me and I hope that those of you who will be reading my blogs experience some of that too.

Bare with me by reading and commenting my personal Advocacy Blogs, your interest and opinion are much appreciated!

Now the time of wrapping up loose ends at home and figuring out the most effective backpack content construction has arrived for me…more to come soon

Posted By Rianne Van Doeveren

Posted May 27th, 2008