Monday, April 7, 2008

Critical need for dialog

Dear Colleagues

There is a critical need for dialog. Dialog is needed at all levels ... and not merely photo-op dialog by leaders ... and not television news sound bytes ... and not just documentaries that inform about crisis ... but something quite different. True dialog is needed, with two way debate ... with dialog where people of different opinions, of different views share perspectives, share experience and share hopes and dreams.

Dialog is best when it is about sharing, and not about winning. But there are far too few possibilities for a sharing dialog ... rather the opportunities are to be a passive recipient of a point of view with little or no possibility to participate in any meaningful way ... no real chance to be a part of a solution, even in the most modest way.

This is not how society needs to work ... especially a democratic society where every person's opinion is meant to count ... but successful society does work this way, and it is borne out by global experience.

Nations and nationalism have a poor history of peace and tranquility ... more the history is of war and conquest and then the reality of destruction and displacement and refugees. And in the long term the issues of resentment and revenge.

Nations and the people need to talk ... about common problems and common dreams and possibilities. There needs to be talk about what we can do together in peace ... and a need to talk about issues that are the cause of resentment and might turn into revenge and violence.

People have more in common than there are differences ... but where is this in the public dialog. It certainly does not feature much in the mainstream media ... and it is not being popularized by many of the groups that are in the news. But people all over the world are coming together in spite big differences that in another era would rarely have been possible ... and the global society is the better for it.

But violence is everywhere ... WHY?

There needs to be dialog so that we can explore WHY. This is being encouraged by the Center for Conflict in New York, and many other groups ... and Tr-Ac-Net is very supportive of these initiatives. In fact, Tr-Ac-Net wants to go a step further and to help make dialog not only something that happens locally, but also in many different ways between geographically diverse communities, as well as other forms of diversity whether religious, ethnic, national origin ... whatever. We all share the same planet ... and life ought to be rich and rewarding for all.


Peter Burgess