Voice by Voice is a project and website where people, through video media, can stand out and be seen and heard in a personal experience they have had of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Voice by Voice is non-profit and independent of religion and politics. It has grown out of a few people’s inspiration from a Nonviolent Communication retreat for Palestinians, Israelis and internationals in the Jordan Valley in February 2013. It is developed as a private grassroots project.
The vision is to keep adding videos to the site, one by one. And to develop the project and website step by step as we learn and get more resources. It is a goal to create full versions of the website in Arabic and Hebrew together with this English version as soon as possible, and to create video subtitles in each language.
The overall intention of Voice by Voice is to contribute to that life in Israel and Palestine can be expressed and transparent, that people can be seen and heard. Through this, we would like to strengthen the possibility of understanding, relating and peaceful actions to emerge. We hope and long for peace, and we think that expressing, listening and freely relating is the starting point. We want to hold this space for that.
The people you meet in the videos are simply anyone who is influenced by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It can be in the geographic region or abroad, and it can be internationals as well as people of Israeli or Palestinian origin. To begin with, these are people that the team took the initiative to make contact with. From here on, it can be anyone who visits the website or otherwise hears about the project and decides to take the initiative themselves.
A core value in Voice by Voice is Nonviolent Communication. With the guidance of Nonviolent Communication and its focus on feelings and needs, not only people’s story but also their unique life, their voice, is invited into focus.
Instead of asking for opinions and solutions, or evaluations of the event that happened to the person, we ask for observations: what was concretely said and done in the event? And we ask what the person feels today when thinking about what happened and what needs of theirs were unmet by the situation. Then we ask what concrete action for change they want to suggest and by whom.
The requests and ideas shared by people on this website are not necessarily the opinion of the project and project team. Neither are their formulations and choice of words. The project seeks to support people and their story-telling process with Nonviolent Communication, and this is intended to be done only as an invitation, without pressure. What the interviewees then choose to say is their individual responsibility. How the project team acts in the interview process, how it edits and how it holds the space on this site, is its responsibility. Likewise, people who participate in a video clip are not to be linked with one another’s opinions, preferences and suggestions. They each stand as free individuals.
Knowing that people may express themselves in a personal and vulnerable way, it is important for us to ensure their safety. A key element in Voice by Voice is to have a clear agreement with people that they can have their video clip withdrawn from the website at any time. It is also a key element that the person is fully informed about the project, so there is transparency and openness. The person also has the option to be filmed anonymously. Furthermore, the comments visitors write about the videos, will be screened before they go public and may instead be addressed directly by the team.
The videos are edited. First, the interviewer, a practitioner of Nonviolent Communication, spoke with the person and asked questions until the interviewer understood the story. Then the interviewer and the interviewee talked about Nonviolent Communication and how Nonviolent Communication could support the storytelling. The story was then told to the camera without interruption. Afterwards, the interviewer edited the recording, and finally the video clip is presented on this website.
We are aware of a dilemma between authentic expression and edited expression. We think it is an unavoidable dilemma and that transparency in what we do is the best way to handle it.
We also believe that Nonviolent Communication helps the person to express the story more fully than usual. We take it that not only will the person get to a strengthened self experience, but the listener will too. Nonviolent Communication supports the person’s ability to express himself/herself and supports the listener’s reception. It is a way of minimizing the elements that could create resistance for the listener without taking away what is essential.