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Sri Lanka, November 2008: Während die Regierungstruppen im Norden des Landes den Ring um die Truppen der LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) immer enger schließen und die Kämpfe mehr und mehr Opfer bei der Zivilbevölkerung fordern, findet etwas südlicher in Anuradhapura ein bemerkenswerter Workshop statt: Junge Singalesen treffen auf gleichaltrige Tamilen, dabei sind Buddhisten und Muslime, Christen und Hindus. Sie üben sich mehrere Tage lang gemeinsam in Streitkultur und Konfliktbearbeitung, diskutieren über Chancen und Möglichkeiten eines friedlichen Zusammenlebens. Unter fachkundiger, friedenspädagogischer Anleitung der in Colombo ansässigen Nichtregierungsorganisation FLICT (Facilitating Local Initiatives for Conflict Transformation) entsteht für die Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer ein Erfahrungsraum für gemeinsames Friedenslernen.

Bei der Durchführung dieses Workshops werden die bereits weltweit erprobten didaktische Materialien des Projektes „Peace Counts on Tour“ eingesetzt. Initiiert wurde das Projekt vom Journalistennetzwerk Peace Counts project und vom Institut für Friedenspädagogik (ift). Bei den Materialien handelt es sich um die Posterserie „Peacebuilders Around the World“ mit Best-Practice-Beispielen für Friedensstiftung und um die Bilderbox „Culture of Conflict“.

Der Hintergrund: Im Februar 2007 war Colombo Station von „Peace Counts on Tour“. Im Rahmen dieser Maßnahme führte das Team von ift und Peace Counts project gemeinsam mit FLICT friedenspädagogische Workshops durch und erprobte die erwähnten Materialien.

Marisa Fernando, Program Officer bei FLICT, hat den Workshop im November 2008 geleitet und berichtet über ihre Erfahrungen. Die Fotos sind von Sujeewa de Silva:

The sounds of laughter and chatter ring out across the beautifully landscaped gardens of the Hotel Miridiya in Anuradapura as a group of persons engage in various games.  Only a closer inspection reveals that there are Sinhalese, Tamil, Buddhist, Christians and Hindus. There are mostly young girls and boys and a few who are young at heart. A group of young Tamil people have been going through several trainings around peace building in Mannar, but have never met Sinhalese youth involved in peace building. The youth group in Anuradhapura have however travelled to various parts of the country and met different groups of people but have never travelled to and interacted with persons from Mannar which is geographically not so far away from them. 

A special request was made to FLICT to facilitate an exchange and interaction between these groups. It was decided that a teambuilding workshop together with the Peace Counts exhibition and worksheets would be ideal activities for them. The first afternoon was devoted for them to get to know each other, to play team games and to deal with the initial language problems that were bound to crop up. The evening was rounded up by watching the Indian hit movie Chake De India (Victory India) which shows the challenges of team building but the richness of diversity.

On the second day the participants worked with the Peace Counts material beginning with the exhibition. We were fortunate to have a great weather and a beautiful outdoor location in which the posters could be hung and also space for discussions. This added to the richness of the discussion as the participants shared their favourite pictures and looked for similarities and differences to what we experience in Sri Lanka. Lively discussions took place around the conflict stories, searching for ways out of the conflict. This was followed by a moving discussion as the youth from Mannar shared about living in a conflict affected area while the Sinhalese youth recounted the challenges and ‘harassment’ they had encountered as they tried to do peace work in other parts of the country. The evening was concluded by an impromptu cultural show as the youth showed their acting, dancing and singing skills. The evening would have gone on till the wee hours of the morning such was the enthusiasm in the group.

At the end of the day we were even compelled to ask ourselves “what exactly is the problem in this country?”, “Why are we engaged in this seemingly endless cycle of violence?” There was some hope that even though we were limited by time, language, traditions and cultures that the seeds of cooperation and solidarity sown during those two days will continue to grow and flourish. 



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