The Art of Developing

What to do when people stop looking inwards at all in order to engage in violent conflict is easy.
You fight back and you win.
Keeping people who start looking inwards after a period of violence and crime happy is more difficult.
You tell them life is better with mutual respect, understanding, agreements on disagreements, open discussion, critical thinking and interpretation.
But who gives you the right to tell them this? What have you to be so proud of?
You tell them about democracy, economic growth, welfare, responsible citizenship and all the benifits of human rights, the rule of law and the end of descrimination.
Will they buy all this?

I believe there are good ways and bad ways of selling this, all to do with your own degree of looking inwards, not being hypocritical or arrogant and most of all genuine compassion.

Gradual reform towards democracy is an institutional thingie. You can't expect a country to suddenly be OK after a revolution, a coup or a war. Georgia, Ukraine, Iraq, Rwanda are all recovering nations moving towards 'good governance' and 'open markets', but at what speed and how sustainable is this short-term approach?

Only a slow progressional and durable reform is possible, initiated and wanted by people in society who are able to get democratic values ahead while regimes, coalitions and ideologies change.

Who? How?
Historians, with ne teaching methods and materials. The school subject of history is a formidable weapon in the hands of tyrannies. It is used to keep the people looking outward, recognising the enemy and not questionning the self. Teaching history in an open and discussable way will lead to pain in confonting an old conflict. It will however lead to reconciliation and it will break hate apart.

Oh sure, you can say that politics in a democracy are in one way also tyrannical, hypocritical etc. But at least the institutions can sustain these human values we like so much.

The Art of Developing is in Patience, Trust and Discussion. Finding a balance between these three there is human memory and the ability to forgive, yet not forget.

Enough of this hippycrap, i like my job and i hope the programme we, at EUROCLIO, proposed to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be granted so i can continue doing the job i like.


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