Day 5 of Retreat

This morning’s words were “power” and “marginalization.” Not warm and fuzzy stuff. This session, “Including Marginalized Groups: Women as Peacemakers” was lead by Tanenbaum, with special guests experts from the region (Carolyn Boyd, Zilka Šiljak-Spahić and Vesna Teršelič). Again, this is one of those topics that is so big that, in a half day session, we can only swim around the tip of the iceberg. Yet, again, this is one of those topics that is so important that it must be discussed – lessons shared and challenges issued. From one of the session evaluations: “It caused me to see that in nursing my own isolation, I hadn’t considered those I had isolated.”

After a quick coffee meeting with the deputy mayor of Sarajevo, the Peacemakers were back to work – on “Bringing Indigenous Rituals into Peace Work.” Peacemaker Bill Lowrey has a wealth of experiences and stories from his work in Sudan. And, demonstrating his participatory and inclusive approach, Bill notably left us wanting more in order to make time for the other Peacemakers to tell their stories as well, eliciting the realization that we all have powerful rituals within our traditions that can be used for peace work.

Finally, the day’s “work” complete, Friar Ivo lead us away from the Bosniak Institute (the museum-like structure where we hold our sessions) and into the streets of Sarajevo for a tour of religious sites of the three Abrahamic faiths. This was a historic – and conspicuous (our large multi-cultural group gets quite a few stares from the locals) – journey that ended at Friar Ivo’s own Franciscan monastery. There we were treated with a delightful meal of the local favorite, cevapcic, and with a brief, impromptu organ concert by our talented host.

2 Responses to “Day 5 of Retreat”

  1. Thomas Butler Says:

    Speaking of indigenous rituals in peace work, I wonder if mention was made of the Moslem tradition called “halaliti se” , whereby two individuals forgive each other for any injuries, debts, etc. of a negative nature done to each other in the past. This shows that forgiveness is an essential part of the Moslem culture, seeking forgiveness (and granting it) so that one may be spiritually cleansed. There were peacemaking rituals in time of war between members of opposing religious groups. I read of one where the two groups of soldiers lined up side by side and each dropped a stone into a pond, symbolizing the release of their hatred. war,

  2. Heather, Conflict Res. Says:

    I have in front of me a stack of a dozen rituals offered in this discussion by the Peacemakers and Tanenbaum staff, but this one is not included. Just goes to show how many good and beautiful ways there are to walk towards reconciliation. Thank you for this addition! In fact, there were so many wonderful rituals shared during this session, we are considering the task of collecting them for a publication.

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