| Arab/Jewish Email Dialogue - an example of collective communication|
|31 Jul 2003 @ 15:05, by Roger Eaton|
The following October 2001 article describes the plan for an Arab / Jewish email dialogue. The dialogue did take place on a small scale. Results were good but under the impact of growing violence in the Middle East did not lead anywhere -- see http://nonviolenceworks.com/MiddleEast. Go to Original.
Arab/Jewish Email Dialogue
for Peace and Justice in the Middle East
The dialogue begins with a set question: "What would you propose that would assure an Israeli and a Palestinian living in Israel and a Palestinian state respectively a sense of acceptance, security, dignity and self determination, bearing in mind that they live only a few miles apart?" This question is crafted to provoke a sense of immediacy and to allow a wide range of responses presupposing only a two state framework.
We will have two groups of 10 to 15 signed up before we begin. Each of the 20 to 30 participants will write a response to the set question. Then (and this is what differentiates this dialogue from others) each participant will rate all 30 responses for interest and for approval. A formula is used to combine the interest and approval ratings into a single "value" rating, and that one message with the highest value is returned to everyone as the collective response of the combined group. This message, because of how it is selected, is guaranteed to be both interesting and approved.
The dialogue will have five rounds, alternating between a "common round" where all 30 participants select a single message and "group rounds" where the two groups separately select one message each. In this design there is no direct exchange between the two groups. Instead the dialogue is between the common humanity of the two groups on the one hand and the separate group identities on the other.
Within each of us there is an internal dialogue between the desire to just live as a simple human being, unpolitically, and the need to take the part of one's group. For many this dialogue is formed, too, by a transcendent identification with humanity or even life as a whole. For others there has been a hardening of attitudes around a nationalistic view.
The startup common round will pose something of a dilemma to the hardliner. Some participants will fire away as usual, but the more thoughtful will realize that a message that does not take the viewpoint of the other group into account will get low marks. Also coming into the equation here is the fact that in the second round, the two groups will respond separately, so the thoughtful hardliner will realize the smart thing is to compromise in the combined group, and save the stronger message for the next round.
The transcendent thinkers in both groups will grapple with the opportunity differently. What can they write that will have interest for both groups, get high approval ratings AND build trust? They will look for that combination of wit and depth of feeling that strikes just the right note, something to break the ice. I am reminded of Dr. Aslam Abdullah's opening remark in one of the May 20 Open Tent round table forums at UCLA. He began this way: "Thank God," he said, pausing, "that Krishna and Buddha did not also go to Jerusalem!" The audience laughed a lot, appreciating his point that the religions are not really helping the situation.
High in interest and approval, the selected message from the combined group in the first round will take a surprising and positive slant on things, causing people in both groups to open up and take hope. Love and wit are what resonate across all cultural boundaries; the kindly saying that provokes a chuckle will win the day.
The dialogue is structured to capture national energy and put it at the service of a common humanity. When a group of people cooperate to produce a document that a) has something surprising to say and b) is largely acceptable to the group, then that group will be bonded by the experience. When group identities are involved, then emotions will be raised, tempering the bond. This is what I mean when I say the dialogue will capture national energy for the service of humanity. The dialogue protocol gives the advantage to the transcendent thinkers.
The second round will produce two collective messages, one from each group. Here it is harder to foresee what the messages will be like. The two groups will be somewhat under the spell of their first round combined message, but they will also have seen the individual hard line messages that were voted down and in the context of their own group may choose to point out and reply to those unfavorable messages instead of the positive selected message from the first round.
The third round will be the first real test of the process. Can the new, barely formed combined group identity survive the impact of the separate group messages from the second round? Though I expect it will be very trying, still the design is such that we give the advantage to the positive thinkers and minimize the unfruitful charge and counter-charge that all too often characterizes dialogue between groups in conflict.
The rounds alternate between the combined group and the separate groups, until after the fifth round, the dialogue is put on hold for an evaluation by the participants. If the participants generally agree that the dialogue was useful, then I expect money can be raised to expand and move the dialogue into the Middle East. In this connection it should be noted that other "collective voices" could be added to the process -- Europe, America, the World. Such a colloquium, with the participation of the common voice of Israel and Palestine, would be very dramatic, and could well be the catalyst we need to really resolve the Middle East conflict at last.
5 Nov 2003 @ 18:38 by Natalie d'Arbeloff @126.96.36.199 : new project, Bloggers Parliament
Roger, I am fascinated to discover your experiment. I have only a few weeks ago started a project , the Bloggers Parliament, at this page of my website:
Rather than explaining it here at length, please visit the site and you'll see why your experiment inspires my respect and attention.
My aim in the BP project is only to make a collection of specific solutions to specific problems and conflicts, local and global, are certainly on the list of problems. I'm very interested to know your conclusions regarding the results of your experiment, and how you think this method could be further extended and applied. I hope to hear from you.
10 Oct 2006 @ 09:07 by @188.8.131.52 : A unique movie about the Lebanon war 2
The Unbelievable movie that tells the unique story of Lt. Colonel Roi Klein and Major Benji Hillman who were killed in the recent war in Lebanon.
This movie reminds us about our Jewish heritage and what our Jewish values- are, A very important movie.
The link to the movie is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbbaQbzUb6o
31 Dec 2008 @ 00:08 by @184.108.40.206 : thanks
nice site. thanks.
8 Jun 2009 @ 06:14 by @220.127.116.11 : pearl
Celebrate all special occasions.
Smile! It will make you feel better.
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