Thursday, August 9, 2012

Twenty Reasons Why Citizens Call for Dialogue

During the recent Finding Ways to Walk Together Dialogue Initiative in South Africa, four regional and a national dialogue event were held. Here is a summary of the key messages, translated into needs and aspirations with regards to dialogue:
  1. The right thing to do
    To engage in dialogue is absolutely necessary for the survival of the nation 
  2. Inclusion and participation
    To access, convene and participate in relevant dialogues with the right people (especially the youth), about the right issues at the right time
  3. Breaking the silence about conflict
    To speak out and get to the root causes of conflict
  4. Language of courage
    To speak the truth to those in authority and one another in authentic and constructive ways
  5. Inspiration and vision
    To unite behind a vision that inspires citizens to shift from prisoners of the past to pioneers of the future, from passive recipients to active citizens
  6. Leadership
    To foster wise, visionary and moral leadership that listens and responds to valid  concerns and aspirations
  7. Dignity and Equality
    To recognise, affirm and value one another’s human dignity in spaces where people are treated equally
  8. Connectedness and alignment
    To know that people are not talking in isolation of one another and that the results of dialogue are shared across the country 
  9. Cohesion
    To create a society that is free from prejudice, polarization and factionalism which are often linked to tribe, race, political affiliation or class differences
  10. Protection
    To be able to meet in safe spaces that are free from domination or coercion especially when uncomfortable discussions take place; and to be free from persistent confrontation, blaming and attacks
  11. Good process
    To participate in well-facilitated processes instead of senseless and fruitless talking
  12. Meaning
    To be confident that everyone’s  contributions are valued
  13. Creation
    To contribute in creative ways to ideas and actions towards a better life for all, instead of focusing on problems all the time
  14. A development agenda
    To participate in a development agenda for the country 
  15. Freedom from poverty
    To join hands to overcome the shared problem of poverty, which is the real enemy—not people
  16. Listening and understanding
    To access and learn from reliable information; to listen, to understand and to be understood
  17. Healing
    To heal relationships and to overcome our common woundedness, shifting from a mentality of victims to that of victors
  18. Non-violent alternative forms of expression
    To counter violence, which has become a dominant language 
  19. Capacities
    To build and support capacities of structures and facilitators to engage and sustain in dialogue
  20. National mechanism for dialogue
    To establish a national framework and structure/mechanism, without which dialogue will not automatically happen

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