Monday, June 18, 2012

10:52 P.M., Monday June 18

10:52 P.M., Monday June 18

What a group! There are 47 of us (for real) from 15 countries around the world, many of whom have been doing on-the-ground peace transformation work in places where there is contemporary violence. In my course there are people from Sri Lanka, Columbia, Wales, Nigeria, Kenya, France, Haiti, Ireland (North and South), and the U.S.

Today we dove into linguistic analysis, looking at how we use language not just to describe things, but to DO things, and how language in turn DOES things to us. The language used in times of conflict can be a source of healing or harming. It can empower or omit; it can legitimize violence or create possibilities for peace. In the context of violence, we explored how language shapes identity (who are the victims, who are the perpetrators), truth (what becomes known as history and fact), institutions (the name and content of our policies), and memory (what is remembered, and how it is memorialized). This work raises more questions than it answers. If truth is subjective, is it possible to create a language of consensus around what atrocities have happened? In what ways can memorializing violence bring healing? In what ways can it cause harm?

We continued the conversation in the pub, watching the Ireland:Italy match. Eighteen years ago today, while the same two teams were playing, six Irish men watching the game were gunned down in a pub by loyalists. Tonight, the Irish team wore black armbands in recognition of the killings. The act of memorialization was contested in our group, with some thinking it stirred up pain and trouble, and others thinking it appropriate.  I am learning tons.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, thank you for keeping this blog Amie! What an Amazing experience, and now we get to share it with you!