Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner
Peace Café tonight – we all have our own experiences of conflict, how we’ve managed it & what we’ve learned.
Our guests at the Peace Café this evening were Jo Berry, whose MP father was killed by the IRA Brighton bomb, and Pat Magee, who planted the bomb. After Pat was released from prison, Jo asked to meet him. Over the last 15 years, they have continued to meet, gaining a greater understanding of each other and of themselves.
What came up during the conversation?
- being listened to, properly, was a profound experience for Pat
- Jo wanted to understand why Pat had killed her father
- the process continues, it’s not complete or resolved
- everyone is ‘situated’ in time, place, history, family, culture – and can only speak from that place, while trying to understand people speaking from different contexts
- dealing with conflict isn’t easy, it’s a journey and it takes a long time
- both Jo and Pat have lost friends through their willingness to talk things through together, from incomprehension ‘How could you do that?’ to letting down their ‘side’
- Jo rejects ‘sides’, preferring to see all humanity as one
- through the conversations, Jo’s father became a real person (‘a fine man’) to Pat
- a consistent experience of injustice in Northern Ireland, of being unable to improve things or to influence the political process, of not being heard or listened to, led Pat to take up arms
- Denmark is de-briefing its returning fighters from Syria/Iraq, listening to their stories. They, in turn, are helping to dissuade others from going out to fight
- how do we remove the obstacles to being heard?
- forgiveness is not the goal – understanding is
Jo and Pat are involved in peace-building work around the world, enabling those involved in hostilities to break the cycle of violence by appreciating the humanity of their opponents.
Some of us, from at least four world views/religions, after the Peace Cafe this evening.