From victim to artist of survival
A new experience in the
mountains during an International Youth Meeting
of young adults from the ICB participated in the Bavarian mountains /
Germany in an Intercultural and Inter religious Youth meeting: young
men and women, Christians and Muslims, from Bethlehem, Iraq, Bosnia
and Germany gathered together to discover new resources and tools.
German foundation Wings of Hope and the International Center Bethlehem
offered Youth, who for themselves already made the decision to step
out of the circle of intolerance, violence and contra-violence, the
possibility to ensure themselves about their need, to develop
themselves as multipliers and to act as examples for other children
and youth in their communities.
Samuel P. Huntington published an article in the American magazine
"Foreign Affairs" which made it to the headlines with the term "Clash
of Civilizations". Huntington advocates the theory that future
conflicts will not any more generate primarily along the lines of
ideological frontiers or on the grounds of economic interests but for
reasons of cultural differences.
Religion, one of the most prominent cultural foundations, plays a
major role in this. If one follows the media coverage it is easy to
interpret the pictures and news in this direction. The problem shows
especially between the three big Abrahamitic religions: Islam,
Christianity and Judaism.
fatality implied in such a thesis is something we want to counteract.
Furthermore, through an evaluation of this project, we strive to make
transparent to others as well, how such a "Clash of Civilizations"
does not need to be(come) reality and that there a ways to face the
ignorance and the mistrust.
years after Dayton, Bosnia and Herzegovina are unfortunately still far
from constituting a functioning, multiethnic and multi-religious
society. Big parts of the people are still strongly traumatized and as
such not capable and willing to realize on their own the importance of
reconciliation and dialogue.
present situations in Iraq and Palestine present themselves in a worse
and strangely distorted state. Gathering from narrations and
experiences of the involved countries one can sketch the following
and terror do not happen only between the religious believes, but also
within them. The spiral of violence and counter-violence seems more
and more impenetrable and takes its' victims in almost each and every
family. As a consequence, many children and youth, also adults, are
step for all participants was (is) the recognition of their own trauma
and connected with this the decrease of negative emotions and
perspectives. Through mobilizing of resources and stabilization of the
participants, we wanted to accomplish a change in perception of a
situation formerly seen as a dead-end. The project-participants
experienced a learning-process in tolerance and understanding towards
seemingly foreign and unfamiliar persons, and like this intercultural
and inter-religious dialogue should be strengthened.
also why one of the goals was to train the seminar – participants to
develop into Leadership personalities in order to be able to function
as multipliers for their society and their community.
sentence: we aimed to turn victims of violence into actors of peace.
involvement and participation of young multipliers in relevant
projects in Bethlehem, Bosnia, Iraq and Germany showed us the
importance of further exchanges.
big pillar concerning the goals of the seminar lied in the area of
public awareness. The entire seminar was filmed by a German filmmaker
and a Palestinian young filmmaker (Wafa Jamil). These two films will
be disseminated to point out the necessity and the means of civil
conflict transformation to a broader public audience and to give those
institutions working in this field an option to be present in the
working on stress and trauma with young multipliers?
Prejudices, mistrust and refusal towards ‘the others’ are
trauma-related symptoms. This is why a successful conflict work and
transformation can only happen under the condition of building trust,
establishing new criteria of judgment and friendship with ‘the
our way of working, which especially takes into consideration all
these facts, we enable the participants to build trust, to develop new
perspectives and friendships.
be summed up as follows:
Prevention of violence, conflict work & conflict transformation can
happen when enemies are able to turn into neighbours. One should
stress once again the fact that these experiences are not only
undergone by the participants. The participants share these processes
and their knowledge in local NGO’s with other children and youth.
project, we stressed to combine the approach of conflict work and
conflict prevention with a therapeutic approach.
to happen, the participants had to become conscious of their motives
for action, their prejudices and their fears. That’s why we combined
group building processes through outdoor activities with ‘topic
orientated’ workshops and body therapy.
Arrival, setting in, getting to know each other and games for ‘Warming
13’th of August:
Adventure pedagogic program for mobilizing resources and building
trust (through out-door activities: hiking / climbing in the mountains
and one night stay in a hut in the mountains)
– 15’th August:
Sharing the experiences and traumata…..Common rituals of grieving and
strategies of processing: workshops about biographical experiences and
‘coping mechanism’ of stress and trauma. Body therapy.
Inter religious meditation / impuls (mostly every evening).
The obligation to live on, the obligations of the survivors…..: Visit
to Dachau and Munich, special focus on WW II and the ‘artists of
survival’ during this period.
Body therapy / Workshops: ‘How to plan a summer academy with Young
participants from countries like ours, they suffering from trauma and
violence?’ – Interests groups
Body therapy / Workshops: ‘Structure and concept / content of the
summer academy 2007’ – Working groups
Music therapy (percussion workshops) / Workshops: ‘Needed group leader
abilities and how to build them up’ (regarding the summer academy
Afternoon: Swimming or biking
Music therapy (percussion workshops) and preparation of the concert.
Evaluation, Outlook, Perspectives on Follow-up work and strategies.
Day of Media and press. Encounter with the staff and board members of
the Foundation and other supporters / NGO’s working in the field of
civil conflict transformation. Press conference with Sabine Sauer
(Bavarian TV) and other media.
Concert (Percussion with all participants) / Farewell event.
of the International seminar:
evaluation showed the overwhelming interests and needs of the
participants to work on such difficult topics like ‘Coping with stress
and trauma’ / ‘Group leading abilities’ etc.
outdoor activities, the body therapy and the music therapy – in
addition to the Workshops and inter religious meditations are great
opportunities for our young multipliers to build up group leader
abilities. Some participants were really growing during this time and
showed new self confidence and motivation.
environment, surrounding and professional facilitators offered a save
place for all the divers activities.
majority of the participants feel ‘ready’ for taking over own
responsibilities in order to prepare the summer academy 2007.
Hope will visit the ICB with 3 therapists end of October in order to
offer – together with own staff – a training for Social worker and
Youth worker (20-25 participants) about ‘Coping mechanism of stress
In addition the ICB and Wings of Hope agreed to produce together the
20 minutes documentary of the Summer academy.
Anette Klasing / Project coordinator