Young Israelis and Muslims debate press cartoon

At the initiative of the association Acting to Learn, sixty young Israelis and Muslims spent a week together. It ended Friday, November 9th with a lively debate about the drawing of press at the Jean Jaurès Foundation

A drawing, showing holy books and war machines, does not pass. The day before, in a debate with about sixty young Israeli and Muslim, the caricature of the press was unanimous against her. "We have lived a week in peace with Israelis and Palestinians. Why did we present this drawing that hit us? " asks a young high school student from Seine-Saint-Denis. "This drawing is an opinion. How can it be a drawing of peace? "adds his neighbor.

"A cartoonist does not seek to humiliate, but to provoke debate, to build bridges between the camps. But there are drawings that calm and others that annoy, and we must take into account the feelings they arouse », says the designer Plantu, president of the NGO Cartooning for peace, who organized this debate with the association Acting to learn in the Paris premises of the Jean-Jaurès Foundation. "If it does not undermine human dignity, a designer can draw everything. But his drawing must be intelligible to be understood and to lead us to think, to exchange », says François Hollande, the former President of the Republic, intervening as president of the foundation France undertakes.

"Cartooning for peace", ten years of drawings for peace

Dove of peace

To bring back serenity and consensus, Plantu drew a dove of peace between two dialogue bubbles of people thinking one white, the other black. "It is from their meeting and their discussion that mutual understanding and peace can be born", concluded the designer. Thirty young people from a Jewish establishment of the Alliance des Pavillons-sous-Bois and a vocational high school (not wishing to be mentioned) from a neighboring commune, with a majority of students of Muslim faith, applauded and stood up to continue the debates between them.

The atmosphere seemed suspended at the end of this week of meetings between high school students from Seine-Saint-Denis and others from Morocco, Israel and Palestine. The day before, they had visited two Cartooning for peace cartoons exhibitions and shared an emotional goodbye evening.

"High school students danced, kissed each other. There were tears. A student told me that she had been advised against going to Jews but that she had found them so nice that it had changed her. If this type of initiative is widespread, we will come to something! " confides Fatima, counselor of education in the vocational high school.

The press cartoon weaves the link in Molenbeek

"More meetings with young people from other religions"

"At the closing dinner, there was a collective cohesion, a general agreement. We realized that our cultures were not that different. We have made contacts, and we will continue to communicate via social networks "says Ruben, 17. "We linked with the Israelis from the second day, continues Yanis, also in terminal. And we have come to share a similar point of view: we are poorly informed and we sometimes make false ideas that are at the root of conflicts. "

"It was a happy and fruitful day for our students! rejoices Sarah Laure Attias, director of the Alliance des Pavillons-sous-Bois school group. We selected fifteen students who could learn from this initiative and prepared them for discussion. Some now ask us to organize more regular meetings with young people from other religions! "

At the origin of the project "France, Mediterranean, Fraternity" of the association Acting to learn, aiming at "Building bridges between young Jews and Muslims around French culture and Francophonie"Isabelle Wekstein-Steg is fulfilled. His initiative has reached "To break the ice".

Aude Carasco

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