We have received the following note from Samer Abbas:
“Good day, First, I’d like to commend you for this noble endeavor. I’d like to ask how do you guarantee that PeaceMaker is not biased if you don’t have team members from the other side of the conflict at least in an advisory position? Do you feel that your pursuit of peace transcends blood ties and kinsmanship enough to make you value blood from both sides equally? This is probably more of a question to the game concept creator and game designer. Thanks for your time”.
Great questions. My answer was that we actually have several advisors from the Palestinian side, most notably Hanadie Yousef and Rana El-Hindi who helped us in forming that perspective. You can watch Hanadie in the video below. We also met with several Palestinian organizations in the US that gave us feedback and challenged some of our prior assumptions. We made a lot of efforts to stay unbiased and balanced. Creating two different games (Palestinian version and Israeli version) certainly helped.
The second question is thoughtful and intriguing, but becomes hypothetical. If I have to, I would say that no- the pursuit of peace is not enough in my eyes. An intimate understanding of both perspectives is required to portray a realistic picture and dive into the deep concerns of the stakeholders. From what we gathered during our process, getting familiar with the other side in a meaningful manner is perhaps the first step towards a real dialog. The two sides could disagree, but at least they understand what both care for on the way to a possible compromise.