” We were hand to hand and ready to face the…”

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An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.  – Mahatma Gandhi

The air today was full of mixed emotions, trust, empathy and love. The day started with an exercise to understand the difference between a dialogue and a confrontation. Later, throughout the day the participants met in different groups to share their personal stories regarding conflict in a safe environment.

In the beginning, the members of each community met with their facilitators to prepare for the challenges of one important task to voice their stories about the conflict that transformed their lives. Later, the participants shared their stories in mixed community groups, where the feeling of empathy emanated, where they understood that no matter where on the map their country is drawn, they are human beings struggling with one phenomena they did not create: conflict.

The participants moved to their community groups again to discuss their feelings about the stories they heard and prepare for the long awaited bi-community meeting, where they had to sit together with the “other side” and bring together their stories about the conflict that both seperated and united them at the same time. The tears falling out of the eyes of the young people were lost on the tissues that were not thick enough to carry the density of the leaking water, drop after drop. The stories moved everyone, “The life is joking with us,” said Sonya wiping the tears streaming from her eyes.

Putting aside their prejudices, the participants flipped through the painful pages of their lives. Khanum Gevorgyan says, “I had waited for almost 15 years for such a day. It was not a day where we hated one another, neither a moment when we just set face to face to discuss the issue. We were hand to hand and ready to face the conflict without letting any of us to get hurt.”

As the session reached to its end, the participants moved to an open space, where they had a chance to heal through art and music. They painted together, colored mandalas, danced or just lay down and relaxed listening to the comforting melodies of Yann Tiersen.

Me and Peace

I have lived in a world where the weather was so cold

I have eaten dry food, it was all I could cook.

I have seen the evilness because humans were careless.

But now I am the youth who has dreams

I am a human who has fears

Because I grew up thinking for peace.

 

I will become a man with family

I will become a person with identity

Because I want to cut off the non-humanity.

 

And I was in a Tunnel , where the light wasn’t so colorful

I couldn’t feel nothing about you, because

I weren’t there for you.

 

Now I am hoping for me and I am hoping for you

That one day we will get out of it through.

 

Now I am seeing a sunshine from the sun, which

Is on your line

I hope you can see too

Because now everything is blue.

(This poem was written by a participant after the dialouge day.)

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