A Cura da Violência através do Diálogo
Sushobha Barve tem uma crença inabalável no poder de cura do diálogo, mesmo nas regiões mais tensas do planeta. Sua abordagem para a manutenção da paz, inteligente e elegante, convence facções beligerantes a superar suas desconfianças e iniciar o processo de reconciliação através de conversas genuínas.
Por Arundhati Ray
Sushobha Barve has an uncompromising belief in the healing power of dialogue, even in the tensest places on Earth. Her polished approach to peacekeeping cleverly persuades warring factions to overcome their mistrust and begin the process of reconciliation by engaging in genuine conversation.
According to Barve, this dialogue-based approach is traditionally embedded in the history of her native South Asia, however somewhere along the way the constructive culture of dialogue morphed into the highly confrontational practice of debate.
In the highly charged and violent atmosphere of Jammu and Kashmir, where a 60-year conflict between Indian and Pakistani factions has devastated the lives of tens of thousands of civilians, Barve believed dialogue could help lead to peace.
Dialogue of Understanding and Trust Building, launched in 2001 to rebuild trust among those shattered communities, was one of the first projects of Barve’s Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation (CDR). Formed in 2000, CDR is a non-profit based in Delhi that provides the institutional support and organizational assistance needed to spread the concept of dialogue as a peace-building tool.
CDR's Dialogue project holds private meetings and public gatherings that provide a safe opportunity to talk without fear of retaliation or being misunderstood. These gatherings begin the slow process of psychological healing and bonding, and serve as the starting point for participants to collaborate on rebuilding their lives and helping their communities.
This model has produced a vibrant leadership in the civil sector. Gowhar Fazili, for example, attended his first workshop as a college student in 2001. Inspired by the power of discussion, he set up his own student organization called Space – a non-threatening platform for youth to share their doubts, voice questions, and explore solutions.
These local-level efforts are the building blocks of a foundation for a strong, united civil society that works toward the common goal of a violence-free region.
In order to truly root the concept of peace within Kashmir's society, CDR recognized the need to reach out and engage even the youngest children, preventing the growth of a new generation that is ignorant of peace.
By the middle of 2002, CDR crafted a Peace Education Curriculum for educators who desired to teach conflict resolution, non-violent compromise, and peace. Aimed at children aged 12 and higher, the Peace Education Program equips children and young adults to handle every-day disagreements and conflicts by helping them better understand themselves and their environments.
Today, CDR works with the state government to introduce the curriculum through the government school system across the Kashmir Valley and in four districts of Jammu. More than 150 teachers have taken the training and are now using the curriculum guided by the Peace Education Handbook.
For a generation that is growing up in an environment where violence is an everyday reality, CDR's Peace Education is opening their minds to the possibilities and potential of peace. Children are learning the benefits of peace and the cost of conflict, Barve notes. "For the first time, a space is being created in schools to explore peace."
The same commitment to combating threats to peace has fuelled CDR's latest project: Connecting Communities. Now that the CDR model has been successfully launched in some of India's worst trouble spots, and the Peace Education Program is up and running in schools, Barve is poised to take her model into conflict zones across South Asia.
As the roster of countries scarred by violence keeps growing, the need for lasting solutions to peace grows more urgent. Governments and world leaders are scrambling to broker treaties, cease-fires, and accords, but the success of these agreements will depend on whether ordinary citizens are empowered to say "no" to violence. Barve is demonstrating how dialogue can be the key to unlocking this process.
Is dialogue enough to break down years of mistrust and conflict? Is one-on-one conversation a naïve approach to war, or can it actually have an extraordinary impact on strengthening torn societies?