ALEC REID: “DIALOGUE IS THE ONLY DYNAMITE THAT IS EFFECTIVE FOR SOLVING CONFLICT”
Reid, a conflict mediator from Northern Ireland, holds that, in conflict, all sides have some truth
Alec Reid, a conflict mediator from Northern Ireland, stated today at the conference “Peace: Right and/or Responsibility” at the World Youth Festival that “dialogue is the only effective dynamite for democratically and pacifically resolving conflict, the only tool that solves that which cannot be resolved using weapons.”
During his narration of “what I learned on the street, my experiences with conflict”, Reid listed the lesions he has learned as a mediator: respect for the dignity of humans as a basic principle, dialogue as the only means for solution, and that all parties have some truth and that this truth must be listened to by the other.”
According to his words, “there is always a way out, regardless of the differences; if we approach it with respect for human dignity, then there is a solution, that is the key.” He also mentioned the importance of leaders in encouraging consensus, as a figure for seeking the solution within the group.
Reid stressed that, “all sides always have some truth, those who blow themselves up in the near East, the IRA, they all hold some truth, which should be listened to, and, in this truth lies the possibility for negotiation, that is why it is necessary to listen with your head and your heart.”
Adriana Rodríguez, representative of Organización Viva la Ciudadanía, of Colombia, explained the origin of the conflict in her country and how the different parties got involved. In her speech, she stated that there are 25,000 murders in her country each year, 97 per cent of which go unpunished.
According to Rodríguez, getting the military involved in the conflict has lead to the total delegitimization of the military forces themselves, the only ones would could offer some confidence to the people; then the guerrillas, drug trafficking and paramilitary groups unleashed conflict in which the people who harmed the most, and they were already worn out from so many years of conflict.
Rodríguez concluded her speech by ensuring that she is confident that a solution for Colombia will be found and that it will “cease to be stigmatized by violence.”