Saturday, March 1, 2008

St. Deiniol's Postcard #7

by John Clinton Bradley


The Rev. Donald Reeves presented the 8th paper, "From Fear To Handshake." He made the following key points...
  • This paper is based on his experiences at mediation in Bosnia.
  • Nelson Mandela said, "To make peace you must talk to your enemies rather than your friends.
  • The Anglican Communion should make use of the wisdom of those Anglicans who are active in mediation to help resolve its current disagreements.
  • In Bosnia, there is a great deal of ongoing tension between the Serbs and Bosniacs (Muslim Bosnians). Donald helped mediate a dispute over a mine that was used as a slave labor camp for the Bosniacs by the Serbs during the war. Many Bosniacs were killed in the camp and they wanted a memorial established there.
  • This is the process he used: An invitation to talk. Identifying who wanted to talk. Bringing willing people together in pairs first, then small groups, and then larger groups. Dealing with "spoilers"--people who tried to sabotage the process. Moving beyond ideological "first principles" to pragmatic issues. Allowing participants to tell their personal stories. Repeating back to participants the propaganda they spout. Using the media to advantage.
  • He has discussed a mediation process directly with Rowan Williams. The Archbishop said he would discuss it with his staff. Donald is still waiting for Lambeth Palace to get back in touch with him. However, he is facilitating a fringe event on mediation during the Lambeth Conference.

1 comment:

Ali da Hodza said...

Is it astonishing that Donald goes round indulging in such self-glorification over his role in this debacle.

His (paid) mediation contract was cancelled by Mittal when it emerged he was being less than honest with participants.

The process failed.

He uses phrases like "Repeating back to participants the propaganda they spout" which is deeply insulting to victims of ethnic cleansing who are simply seeking acknowledgement for what was done to them. Donald - unqualified in any aspect of conflict resolution or mediation - is totally wrong in judging participants in this way.

He has set back the cause of the Omarska memorial by about two years.

The other project he was involved in - the Ferhadija Mosque - has managed to squeeze him out and carry on without his grand-standing. Again, on this project, whilst he was involved, the outcomes were close to zero.

Don't take my word for it - talk to people in Kozarac who were taken in by his promises and big talk.