Earth Caravan 2016 in Middle East
|August 1st - 9th
◆the Bethlehem Live Festival
The Earth Caravan joined the four-day Bethlehem Live Festival organized by the Holy Land Trust, a local human rights NGO in Bethlehem, Palestinian territory. This annual festival attracts over 30,000 people, and audiences were delighted by the Earth Caravan’s musical performances on the main stage of the festival.
The Earth Caravan created a Japanese Cultural Corner kiosk in the heart of town where we introduced and shared Tao Shiatsu treatment, sold and demonstrated how to wear Kimono, gave tea ceremonies, sold sushi rolls, played board games, and much more. These activities were very much successful and we donated the profits to a Palestinian NGO working with victims of trauma.
A ceremony was held on the main stage involving the planting of seeds from a tree that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. The following guests participated in the ceremony: Mr. Issam Juha, deputy mayor of Bethlehem, Mr. Mase, Japanese ambassador representative of Palestine, Mr. Akihiro Seita representative of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for palestine refugees (UNRWA), and Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, Professor at Bethlehem University.
Along with the seeds, Endo Ryokyu, Director of the Earth Caravan, read messages of peace written by the mayors of the cities of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Onomichi. The seeds were planted in the botanical garden of the University of Bethlehem on September 4th, 2016.
We visited tribal minority villages within Israeli territory and exchanged culture and music with them.
The Earth Caravan visited several humanitarian organizations near Bethlehem such as SOS Children's Villages International/PALESTINE, a facility for mentally disabled children living in refugee camps. We also visited an orphanage and a trauma center for children who had been arrested and detained by the Israeli army in Hebron.
When musical rhythms were supplied, smiles appeared on those children’s faces. We listened deeply to mothers’ harsh experiences and also joined a village demonstration. We were able to empathize deeply with them because of those sharing moments.
A Peace Walk was held in Jerusalem on August 9th, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Representatives from four different religions (Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism) prayed for and reaffirmed their commitment to world peace.