On Monday, November 12, I ran another Middle Eastern Peace Intention Experiment, this time targeting Yemen, and specifically, the port of Hodeidah (also spelled Al Hudaydah), considered one of the greatest humanitarian crises in modern times.
In the last months, the port had been held by the rebel forces and consequently the focus of government and coalition forces. In the course of battle, they have been choking off supplies so that at the time of our experiment, some 80 percent of supplies and UN-supervised humanitarian aid, which passes through the port, had been held up and prevented from reaching the population.
Millions of civilians (some 14 million or more) have been caught in the cross fire, particularly with the arrival of 80,000 new coalition troops with an inability to flee the area or to get much needed food and supplies.
The UN has said that 14 million people face famine, and 22 million – three-quarters of the entire population – are in need of humanitarian aid.
Americans, Arabs and Israelis join hearts for peace
As with last year’s Middle Eastern Peace Intention Experiment, we were able to make use of SmartsWay studio, in southern England, owned by Dr Salah Al-Rashed, the Deepak Chopra of the Middle East, which has the technological capacity to create a two-way communication flow between a facilitator sitting in the studio and audiences in different locations anywhere in the world.
For this particular summit, he’d arranged for cameras and monitors to be placed in hotel conference rooms, each full of Arabs, in various cities in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia.
With Salah’s permission, I arranged with documentary maker Tsipi Raz to have an eighth camera in an auditorium filled with Israeli Jews outside of in Tel Aviv, and the ninth camera in an auditorium in Washington, D. C., filled with Americans, thanks to the help of Sister Jenna and the Brahma Kumaris, and Rev. Sylvia Sumter, of a local Unity church.
All nine rooms were displayed on my screen, and my feed was visible to all nine audiences, so they could observe me running the experiment.
Through this ingenious interactive technology each of the audiences were able to speak to me and to the people in the other locations as well as our audience around the world.
The entire experiment and its aftermath were also beamed live to other participants from all over the world via my YouTube channel, as the Arabs, Israelis and Americans shared their feelings after the event.
Our exact intentions were to lower violence and restore peace by at least 10 percent or more, but also to allow the civilians safe passage out of the area.
In my experience, it is always important to quantify exactly what you’d like to change, but to allow for a larger effect than requested.
And certainly, that is what we got.
Amazing ceasefire late on Monday
In the 24 hours prior to our Peace Intention Experiment Hodeidah had witnessed especially fierce fighting, as the government and Saudi-UAE-led coalition forces loyal to the exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi began tightening their ring around areas held by the rebel Houthis.
Some 110 Houthis and 32 pro-government solders had been killed in the overnight fighting. At least 149 Yemenis, including seven civilians, had been killed during that time.
Street battles on the outskirts of the city had trapped the civilians and threatened hospitals.
However, late on Monday, according to Reuters and Al Jazeera news agencies, the air raids suddenly halted and the street battles, which had been raging for a week on the outskirts of the city, suddenly vanished.
“It seems that the shelling and the strafing and the bombing has stopped,” Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Yemen told the BBC. “We’re not sure about the implications of this, but it is very welcome indeed,” she added, especially for the civilians, who were “absolutely desperate.”
Suddenly the possibility of diplomatic talks increased, as the Saudis allowed the Houthis to evacuate. A UN spokesperson claimed the UN was even planning to resume its peace talks, which had collapsed in September.
Did we do this? Short answer, as always: Who knows?
However, what I do know is that this is the seventh major Peace Intention Experiment where the target had a reaction – a lowering of violence, a resolution of fighting – after our intention.
Maybe a collective prayer from a few people who are supposed to be enemies is all you need to stop a gun.