The Human Face Of Conflict (Delivery 9)

27/10/2023

This delivery took place over two weekends in The Waterfoot Hotel culminating on Sunday 22nd October. What’s so nice about epilogues is that every delivery is unique and this was no exception. It was the first to feature a healthy mix of rural women clustered around Kilcronaghan Activity Centre, Tobermore and the women from the city. The first weekend covered, Violence, Loss, Revenge, the cycle of violence and it closed with an honest sharing from some that they were disappointed that the dynamic in the group in the evenings was to stay clustered in people’s respective comfort zones (with others that shared or were likely to share their views). It opened the possibility of more risk taking in the second weekend and it didn’t disappoint. It helped that epilogues is up front about being about active citizenship and that one of the group agreements we made was STRIVE TO BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE and the second weekend focuses on concepts that can interrupt the cycle of violence, Forgiveness, Justice and Human Rights.

So again issues about the past that can divide us were confronted and discussed but the Group Agreements we’d made held together to ensure that it all happened in a constructive and mutually respective manner. It was again commented on how the dynamic and the feeling of trust builds as the process unfolds. In the closing session while we touched on how the learning from epilogues might be applied to the issues woman are facing in there respective communities today this will happen in more depth in a followup session scheduled to take place in Kilcronaghan Activity Center on 25th November. No doubt there is more risk-taking to come there and we will return again to the horrendous human rights abused unfolding in the Palestine/Israel conflict that we touched on. This was raised given its resonances with community tensions here that result in Israeli and Palestinian flags on loyalist and republican communities respectfully.

A big thanks on behalf of one and all to the staff of the Waterfoot Hotel who looked after our every need and made our stay so comfortable.

Here’s some of the feedback comments from participants:

  • “There needs to be more of this.  Education – knowledge is power- changes attitudes – and leads to healing and recovery.”
  • “I’ve learned that there’s no one definition of justice or forgiveness,  each person needs something different in order to get unstuck from their grief, in order to move on”
  • “Its made me more realistic to life, with reality, to see different sides to everybody, be less judgemental.”
  • “I’ve learnt that if you take the time to really listen both side’s stories are very much the same”
  • “[I’m taking away the need to] hold my own power to account and [that] it’s ok not to agree.”
  • “[I’m taking away] the importance of dialogue and to be prepared to listen with an open mind to other concerns.”
  • [Since participating] I’ve notice myself being open to challenging others and to be challenged.”
  • [Since participating] I notice I feel more confident in learning more and to ask more questions”
  • “I’ve come away with more interest in overall world wars and understanding how history has influenced what people are fighting for now… and a great need for peace and reconciliation training.”

A big thanks also to Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Irish government’s Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund without whose support this delivery to women’s groups across Northern Ireland could not be possible.

As mentioned above this cohort of graduates is now scheduled to meet again on the 25th November to reflect on what if any have been the long-term impacts of having completed the epilogues programme, and look in a more focused way on applying the learning to the issues of the day. Thereafter in the new year the will be invited to a Gathering of graduates from three other deliveries to widen and deepen the connections already forged by their participation and to explore possible next steps for each participants as active citizens, be that on an individual or a collective basis going forward.

The Human Face Of Conflict (Delivery 9)

This delivery took place over two weekends in The Waterfoot Hotel culminating on Sunday 22nd October. What’s so nice about epilogues is that every delivery is unique and this was no exception. It was the first to feature a healthy mix of rural women clustered around Kilcronaghan Activity Centre, Tobermore and the women from the

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