Saturday, March 08, 2008

Peace Teams

Tonight I learned a lot about Alternatives to Violence (AVP) and Healing and Rebuilding Our Community (HROC) workshops, in conflict areas around the world, from a visiting all star cast of Quaker practitioners, in Burundi, Kenya, Colombia, other places.

My thanks to Nadine Hoover for sharing some of her Indonesian adventures with me during potluck, including some illuminating service committee stories.

People naturally seek healing, and sometimes a new context for looking at their own suffering is a first step, even though real life is a more difficult set of circumstances than a facilitated workshop.

This new context: respectable alternatives to violence take more skill, are more effective, and we (the participants) wish to become more skillful and effective.

Of course there's plenty of unskillful / violent behavior in the USA as well, where AVP is likewise available.

I don't know if AVP credits the encounter group movement of the 1970s and 1980s for its content and format. Definitely the exercises are more powerful when involving actual parties to a violent or potentially violent conflict, and a long term test of workshop effectiveness is whether these conflicts actually resolve nonviolently.

Restoring a sense of community outside the workshop format, drawing upon already ingrained cultural values, is the name of the game.

HROC ("he-rock") is more geared towards overcoming PTSD, a prerequisite and/or concomitant to AVP in some circumstances.

My thanks to Multnomah Friends, Andy Cross especially, for bringing us all together.