Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sara Henkeman on dialogue

 Dear Chris, thanks for your inspired idea to prod us to go beyond the private ‘geween en gekners van tande’ to propose a generative conversation.  Thanks too Reggie and Derrick for your contributions about the judiciary and the palaver tree. 

After more than a decade of being a beneficiary of our democracy – becoming more skilled and more ‘educated’ – I see more and more how these very benefits that I am so grateful for, contribute to our deep state of denial about the fact that too many don’t have these benefits.

 I agree that the task of peacebuilders is to provide spaces for people to turn to.  Parallel to that, one of our first tasks, at which we fail most miserably, is to use our collective voice to speak truth to power, not only on how to deal with the manifestations of conflict, but to squarely face its deeprooted causes and/or correllates, and to deal with it as decisively as we dealt with apartheid.

 One of the main and bitter problems in this country is the psychological impact of intergenerational oppression and what it has spawned.  A related problem is the compounded and discrete impact of intergenerational poverty.  These interlock to choke off the spiritual, human, social, cultural, political, economic, and ecological development we seek.

 As a peacebuilder, I am tired of dealing with symptoms – as Chomsky pointed out - it only produces happy oppressed people.  Too many people are economically oppressed and they live miserable lives.  Miserable lives lead to horrific acts, particularly if you feel you have nothing to lose.

If your plan includes a vertical axis that intersects with the horizontal idea of safe spaces, I’m in.

 Love & Peace


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