Professor and Director of the MA Conflict and Coexistence Programme at Brandeis University
Topics: Northern Ireland, intervention coordination, peacemaking, conflict analysis, military intervention
Interviewed by Julian Portilla — 2003
Listen to Full Interview
- Fatal Identities
- Coordinating the Pieces
- Northern Ireland Peace Process
- Leading Peace
- Conflict Roots
- Paramilitary Research
- Intentional Divisions
- Knowledge Intervention
- Women and Peacemaking
- Peacemaking Forces
- Unique Peacemakers
- Insider Peacemakers
- Military Spending
- Inclusion Policies
- National Peace Policies
- Mainstreaming Peace
- Costs and Benefits of Peace
- Conflicts' End
- Experiences in Northern Ireland
- Changing Conflicts
- Complicating Efforts
- Peace and the Military?
- Grassroots Momentum
Q: Can you give me a brief overview of your work?
A: Well, it started in the mid-80s.
I live in a very, very conflicted area where 30 of my immediate neighbors were murdered. I literally looked up one day and the British army was trying to chase the provisional IRA through my house. I just thought, there's got to be a better way.
I was without the internet those days, but I assiduously looked at all university libraries and et cetera to find out as much as I could about conflict resolution, which was just about beginning. Subsequently, I set up the first courses in conflict resolution in both universities in Northern Ireland. The field was so new that people turning up for mediation thought they were turning up for meditation. A couple of things happened from that.
I set up the mediation network in 1988. In 1986, jumping back a bit, I wrote a report for the government which basically said
it's not enough just to use the army to try to stop this conflict. I looked at the proportion of money spent on military containment as opposed to conflict resolution, suggested that it should be somewhat turned around,
and at the same time I began to develop a lot of work in training.
We'd had a very bad experience in training in the early mid-70s in Northern Ireland, where a couple of groups had come over from the United States, I'm afraid. They are very intense, very difficult groups with a lot of the community folk in Northern Ireland. They left without debriefing and left a lot of sorrow behind, a lot of distrust about group techniques. It was basically using a tavis doc technique, people couldn't really understand large group stuff, and that in a way put people off group work.
When I came I was very interested because of my own previous work in groups, so I began to write a training book, which could be used particularly in the conflict in Northern Ireland, called Community Conflict Skills. That came out in 1988. It's subsequently been translated into Indonesian, Serbo-Croatian, and a whole variety of other languages. It's actually going to its sixth edition. It's known in the local areas of Northern Ireland, it's what they call "the bible"; it is used by all the ex-paramilitaries, the prisoners, the community groups, etc. It basically gives about 56 different structured ways of looking at issues of justice, political choices, and bridge building, etc, etc. So all of this was happening in parallel and then the government asked me to do this paper which looked at the almost non-existence of conflict resolution almost, and turned around and set up an agency which I subsequently became the chief executive of.
Q: Which was what?
A: They set up two agencies, one within the government, which we'd suggested, to look at issues of conflict resolution. The other was independent of the government, which was the Community Relations Council, which was funded by both British funds and European funds., but it was independent so we could make choices about what we wanted to fund and decisions, etc. I went through the usual processes and became the first chief executive of that.
For seven years I worked on that, working with trade unions, local community groups, working with public bodies, farmers, police, army, working with politicians, looking at basically their responsibility in terms of their contribution to conflict resolution. Putting all the pieces of the jigsaw in place, so that what the army did in one area didn't create problems for the bridge building, so that the bridge building began to lead into politics, so the economic development was done taking into account how do you unite people rather than divide them.
Q: A certain amount of coordination.
A: Yes, there was a lot. We had a list in our offices of all the groups we needed to affect change, whether it was the sports council, basically there's a lot of sectarianism in sport, whether it was the arts council, which had huge potential but weren't developing community drama, community art, etc. So yes, we worked with dozens and dozens of different agencies at different times.
It was not easy. We often had to work with them from a distance.
I sometimes track the difference between first conversation and first action on their part. The minimum was often two years because the work was just so difficult. Some organizations took up to five years before they actually began.
For instance, the sports council then began to implement programs on sectarianism in sport and football and uniting sport and things like that. Believe it or not, actually, the army came on board fairly quickly, the police came on board, then gradually over the years, etc. In a way it was a multi-problemed approach and that was all the time creating the infrastructure, we called it "sub-political work", that would make it easier for these sort of political agreements to happen. Some people call it pre-political work, so that eventually when it came to getting the politicians together we had the preliminary information. First of all a lot of society had already been changed, which made it a bit easier for them to move.
Secondly, a lot of the people who'd been involved in the bridge building work were actually moving into politics, particularly the young loyalists and the women's coalition, etc. So we had entrism, as it were, into the whole political thing.
It was still quite difficult to get a political agreement, but at least the back had been broken on a lot of the work.
So then the ceasefire started in 1994. A lot of the other work we did was recognizing. We have this mantra:
Conflicts don't end, they just change, and the change we're looking for is from violence into politics.
The big problem we faced was what do we do with the paramilitaries, most of the men who got great meaning, great excitement out of being paramilitaries. My own doctorate work had looked at the whole phenomenon of paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, so I knew many of them.
We spent some time then, this was slightly informal, outside of the organization, putting in place a lot of programs for paramilitaries so they would learn about politics and they would learn how to gain power through politics, rather than just feeling they had to go back to the gun to keep power. If you actually track where they've got to, the loyalist groups that took on the political role successfully and gained seats in a way maintained the ceasefires. The loyalist groups who didn't gain seats didn't maintain the ceasefires and until just this year have continued to be a bit of a problem. That's what I call the left over testosterone problem, particularly for the men.
Q: Because they felt excluded from political power?
A: They had no power, they had no more power because the power was shifting and changing. There were fascinating conversations with many of these groups where they were very explicitly saying, can you guarantee we will gain power through the vote? If not, we'll just go back to violence. This was the smaller loyalist group. So, there was a lot of work that needed to be done like that, and indeed a lot of work needed to be done in retraining paramilitaries and reintegrating them into communities, etc., afterward.
Then all the dominoes began to fall and it was fairly clear that peace was coming, albeit fairly slowly, to Northern Ireland. But it always does come like this, and
I always say conflicts end not with a bang but a whimper after whimper after whimper.
we eventually got the agreement ceasefire. Ceasefires in '74 broke down, that's not uncommon. We eventually got a labor party that was quite brave. We got the agreement in '98 and now we're five years on and just about dribbling into the ends of the problems. So by and large most people will be on board with policing probably by the end of this year. The leftover troubles at the cold face, which are really partly loyalists who did not have places in the new scheme of things, they're easing up a little. I suspect that they will disappear fairly quickly within this year, and we think even Parades is probably going to be finished by this year or next year.
There's a good lesson there, is that it does take time. I remember having a celebration party after the ceasefires were called, and that was actually '94, '95. I said, "Look, I know we're going to have a difficult time, but let's just celebrate this moment." You've got to realize that the work certainly does continue on after that.
Then I moved from that because I really did feel that the back had been broken, the dominoes were falling, and I wanted to do something new. I tend to be a cyclical person, so went into INCORE. INCORE is essentially one of the United Nations' universities, one of twelve United Nations universities around the world. Two of them deal with conflict. What we tried to do essentially was useful research. For instance, we did an awful lot of research on peace processes, on diversity management and on leadership. What we would do with The Spanish government or the Basque Parties would invite us over, and we would talk to them about what makes for a successful peace process. I can tell you why it didn't happen. It's very clear, actually, from some of the work we've done, that there are five things that are needed to make a successful peace process. I can tell you why it didn't happen in the Basque country, and that was basically because for political reasons the government didn't feel the need to actually include them at that particular time. If they had actually done so two years ago that whole thing would have probably fallen into place.
So you can tell, we've now become experts at telling you what will work and what's not going to work.
Our work in leadership was also fascinating because it'll tell you things like Sharon thinks he wants a weak Arafat. In fact, what he needs is a strong Arafat who can deliver. Similarly, Arafat needs somebody strong on the other side, whereas leaders always make the opposite assumption. Also leaders actually have to help each other because each side is going to feel they're being sold out. So the problem with us was Jerry Adams kept thinking he had a harder job than David Trimble. David Trimble kept thinking he had a harder job than Jerry Adams, instead of them both realizing they needed to sell this compromise together.
So a lot of the leadership we would use also to inform, as it were, our decisions. We'd be called in at the security council in Israel, you know looking at diversity management , and Israel thinks it's the only one with problems just as internally as it was with the border stuff. In fact the internal will become even more important when the border is sorted out because what will happen will be the differences within Israel are going to become probably much more to the fore.
Q: Are you talking about Arab/Israeli...
A: I'm talking about the fact that there's only now 72% Jews, there's 20% Arabs, and there's an awful lot of seculars, who would feel themselves are questioning about where they are in the stage and etc.
What we can do in a place like that is say, "Look, this is the thing about faith-based states elsewhere, this is how people manage education, this is how they manage police, this is how people manage participation." So, we would never suggest anything.
All we do is bring options from all around the world, because we can tell you what Singapore is doing about diversity, what Malaysia is, what Canada is, what the US is doing. So we can bring suggestions from everywhere.
One thing I was very proud of was that in our own case, the British government would commission us and say, look, victims is a problem that's coming up now. Can you do a piece for us on victims around the world and the way in which governments are dealing with them so that we can learn from the best practices in South Africa or Guatemala or wherever.
So we very much use the international to inform the local on the basis that people who are in conflict often think there is nowhere else like them. They feel their problems are not replicated elsewhere, but there is enormous learning. Every conflict is different, but every conflict has also usually got something to offer to different parts of the world.
We would have been involved in Macedonia with the Macedonian government's work on diversity there. We would have been involved in Indonesia in the human rights versus conflict resolution issue, which is fascinating, absolutely fascinating because of the justice versus peace issue. That's been quite tough for them.
I know Bill Ury has just signed an agreement in Ache, which doesn't mention what should happen. We were called in because they were facing agreement, which meant that amnesty was going to be given to all sides in Ache. They wanted to know how to deal with that. These are very, very difficult issues. Sometimes it's going there, sometimes it's by telephone, sometimes we're asked to give presentations.
So what we try and do is the best learning in the field, and bring it to bear on different conflicts.
Q: So it's not conflict intervention, per se. You don't play the role of the mediator/facilitator.
A: Well, very occasionally.
It's what we call a knowledge intervention.
What we bring to bear is, let me give you the Russian ambassador's example in Ache. Actually this is confidential, but you can use it as an example. What do we do in Chechnya? We point out the places where it is incredibly difficult to deal with these conflicts the way they're dealing with them. But then of course they turn around and, well, actually yes, but there's a good reason, so we probably have to go on doing what we're doing anyway.
So it doesn't always work, but what we try and say, for instance is we would say in most of the guerilla groups it's almost impossible because it will keep popping up. You will probably rarely come to the end of suicide bombing in Israel and etc., simply because, as we know in many situations... Take Northern Ireland.
The martyrs that develop around the grave become the next problem.
Okay, you shoot a couple of perpetrators, and then they have developed their own mythology and the martyrdom becomes sort of an ethos. The myths just develop.
Q: It becomes separate from the initial causes of the conflict?
A: They can actually.
This is why the work is incredibly important. We would talk, for instance, to the military and to the British embassies about importing skills to various places they're in, because often what the military is doing is actually counterproductive to what they want themselves. So you have the military creating people who are prepared to give their lives up to a cause.
My own personal work showed that there was three reasons people became paramilitaries.
One was mother's milk stuff. It was in the family. That would be very much the Adams and McGuinness. They could not have been republicans, given the context and the people they were.
The second was very much an intervention with the local security forces or their folk being blown up by the IRA. All of these interventions often spawned a reaction, which actually of course increased the number of people who were prepared to use violence.
The third one was very much the male thing, particularly among the loyalists. Sort of the need for meaning, particularly for disenfranchised, unempowered young men.
So in a way I suppose what we try and do is, and there are limitations to it, both do our own research and span the rest of research to see what we can bring to bear upon a situation. The limitation often is that it actually makes utter good sense.
For instance, most problems today are caused by lack of ability to manage diversity by governments. Most governments, in fact, often politically use diversity to gain. So the Sinhalese and the Tamils were doing fine until the government decided at one stage politically to exclude Tamils from the university and civil service, etc. A lot of the existing LTTEs, actually the organizers were students who were disenfranchised by the government within a particular time.
The same in Northern Ireland where the unionist government felt too afraid to ensure that Catholics were included, etc., and of course then the cycle began when the civil rights movement began. What you meet with is a government who, albeit best knowledge, will still decide to go a certain way in terms of deciding what they politically need. That brings us to our work in leadership, because what we find is that politicians are more often followers than leaders and usually their first thought is for their own sustenance and their party's sustenance. We've been looking particularly at the model of transaction vs. transformation; Mandela vs. Milosevic. Unfortunately there are few Mandelas, few who are prepared to be of their own group but go beyond their own group, and that is extraordinarily difficult to find.
It's one of the main problems we have. The first was very much involved in the policy implementation. We had a lot of funding; We were a big funder in the first seven years, so we would fund all the different groups who were interested in bringing something to bear to the conflict. The last five years have been about accumulating knowledge and trying to use it.
The final thing I'll say on that is what we have tried to do, we actually have investigated, because I was really concerned about being at a research institute. What was the role of research? So we've gone to talk to the UN and to the major international organizations in Geneva and New York, and to governments and asked, "How do you use research?" Basically, as we suspected, most of them don't. So there is a real tension in terms of knowing there is excellent research being done, but very often it's not utilized or it's politically ignored because it doesn't suit the politics in the situation. So those are the two bits.
Q: Is there something that comes to mind as particularly inspiring in your work over the years?
A: Well, one of the stories that most moves me, and every time I start to tell it I feel shivers up and down my spine or I begin to weep tears almost of hope or gratitude, is a particular time in Northern Ireland in the 80s when there was a coach stopped. A coach of workers coming home from work was held up by a group of paramilitaries and this group, I think it was about twelve men, stepped out, the paramilitaries said to them we want the Catholics to step forward. As it happened there was only one Catholic among them and his Protestant colleagues both kept a hold on his coattails so he would not step forward, wouldn't let him step forward because they knew what was going to happen, knew he was going to be shot. He, I still feel it down my spine, he however, felt if he didn't step forward the others would be shot. So he actually insisted on stepping out of the group, stepping forward.
Subsequently they said to him, you step over, and they shot the others. They'd made a mistake in the paramilitaries.
So in other words he had stepped forward to save these other eleven men, and in the end he's still alive and they shot the other eleven men because in fact it was a republican group and not a loyalist group. Does that make sense to you? They'd made a mistake. So there was heroism on both sides, the heroism of his colleagues who didn't want him to move forward, and then his heroism in thinking at least I can save my colleagues if I step forward and give up my life. They'd all made a mistake because of the way the demand had been given. I just thought that to me is a testimony of people's basic willingness and courage to actually, given a certain context, try and protect each other.
There's a wonderful poem by Seamus H(???) about that. I suppose one of the things you do learn is there has been so much courage shown.
One of the particularly useful groups we had was the women who whenever there was a murder, the women could have more courage because they were less likely to be shot. In other words, don't forget our war started in the early 70s when sexism still prevailed and I had a colleague who happened at one stage to live actually with royalist paramilitaries and she said it was just astonishing. They would be discussing how they were going to go out and kill the Catholics and they wouldn't pay any attention to the women coming in and out because they would assume this was men's work and the women wouldn't understand it. So there was something around women not being seen as threatening because this was men's business, killing each other.
Most war is young men killing other young men at the behest of older men. This was a particular women's group who utilized that safety, who, whenever there was a funeral they would actually go in and out of each other's territories with wreaths and say this was not done in our name. I can remember a particularly awful couple of weeks; it was dreadful, just before the ceasefires, so it must have been '94. Where the provisional IRA had been trying to murder some of the leaders of the loyalists and they heard they were meeting above the fish shop. They went in and they placed a bomb in the fish shop and what they got was in fact a couple dozen civilians who had just gone in to buy fish, Protestants, and the whole place was blown up.
I can remember going down a couple of days later and there were the wreaths brought by these women saying this is not in our name, we have suffered too, we don't want you to suffer. In fact a week later, the loyalists had targeted a pub, a Catholic pub in Gray Steel, which was slightly further away.
They just went in and shot everybody in the pub, except there were actually some Protestants in the pub, and therefore that brought forth another outpouring on the part of both sides of the community. Actually accumulatively that kind of outpouring by the community, which basically began to say this truly is not in our name, was extraordinarily important. The people who moved across the barriers first of all were the women. The women were the first people to move. Then there were the community development workers, then eventually we got the churches involved, and last was the politicians. I mean, David Trimble, the first funeral he went to of a Catholic was
post cease-fire, a bombing which happened a couple of years later by another dissident republican group. So you can see the sequence. Women do find it easier, and then you move up to the politicians who find it the hardest. Just the church finds it almost as hard but not quite as hard. There were moments like that when people just so much put themselves on the line.
I can remember my own community, which was a deeply republican community, I can remember police, who at the risk of their own lives would come in to talk to me about what could happen. I knew that by coming up my lane they were actually going to be targeted by various paramilitaries around. So there were people who did move, despite the enormous, enormous pressures that communities put each other under when you're in situations of conflict.
Q: What are some of the most important lessons that you've learned?
A: Patience. Patience, patience, patience. As I said, I've given you in terms of the sequence it would take between first meeting and people doing things. People will do everything to avoid taking on something that is uncomfortable and even dangerous. Getting people to move is just extraordinarily difficult because it often is a huge risk to their own identity, their sense of who they are, their sense their simplicities, of the good and the bad, and indeed in terms of their own lives. It can take an extraordinary amount of patience. I mean, I'll tell the story another day of going downtown.
My office was in the center of Belfast and there was a main strip and we were just sort of down a side street off the main strip. On the main strip, the bombs went off so often that we were often used as sort of a secondary shelter for people. If peoples' offices had been blown up they'd come around to us to recover, and pick themselves up if they hadn't gone to the hospital to wipe themselves down or whatever. I remember going down one morning to the center of town, it was only about a five minute walk away, and just as I got to the center a shot rang out and a young man fell just a few yards away from me. Gradually the story came through that he was a part-time policeman who had just been shot by the provisional IRA. We left him there and the ambulance came or whatever, and then I was just walking back the same way past the city hall, and a bomb went off just as a passed it. The loyalists had tried to blow up the office of the republicans. I went back to the office and you would think a morning like that hope would be gone. But two or three things had happened where for the first time one of the churches had agreed to do something or other. For the first time community workers had agreed to cross a divide in a particular area. There were three small things that happened, and I suppose what you learn is that it is only today that dreadful things are happening. These may seem small, but the fact that they will over time develop is important, and indeed they all have.
From all of these there are major initiatives, like churches running major programs on anti-sectarianism, like community workers who've gone into politics with a cross over. So, there's a sense of perspective that even in the smallest hopes and beginnings there are possibilities, but you do need that time frame. You do need to have that time frame because of how difficult it is for people to move and for things to shift. So I suppose the first thing is patience and the second thing is hope.
I think the third one is recognizing that
too often in a conflict we believe people will never change.
We believe the paramilitaries will never change, the police will never change, the British government will never change, but I think knowing and keeping hope that everyone can become one of Bill Ury's a third-sider is something that you have to keep in front of me, you have to keep in front of us.
This was tough because we had staff that came from both sides as well and for some of them to believe that you could get such a thing as a good policeman or a good army person, or for some of them to believe that IRAs could turn around and do good things eventually was extraordinarily difficult.
Now when I look back and see, a lot of our best facilitators have been paramilitaries, ex-prisoners from both sides. We've done extraordinary work with what we call co-partials, people who are still who they are in terms of their identity, but who positions themselves within a certain process. We ask them to give only a day maybe in the first instance doing this, and then gradually they begin to accustom themselves to feeling comfortable being a third-sider while they're with this group, and then they go back to their communities.
I have seen just the most extraordinary change process facilitated by people who were out bombing, shooting, and murdering just a few years before.
Q: Is it actually an advantage to have those people turn rather than the traditional peacemakers?
A: It absolutely is. I tell this story in my book of taking a taxi home. All the taxi drivers are run by paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, but you're never quite sure which side you're getting. I sat in and there was this guy reading loyalist tracks and I started a conversation and it turns out he was a republican. It turned out he was a republican who'd actually taken one of our training courses, and who was co-facilitating a lot of discussions on identity down on the folds on Shankhill Road. Of course, he said, we have great credibility, much more than you middle class folks. It was just an absolutely brilliant example, and there are dozens of these people now, who, they're the ones who call my book "the bible", because it's a very simple way if you want to structure conversations on justice or whatever.
Q: Why do they have more credibility?
A: They're seen to have suffered for the cause and they're seen to have a stake. They're seen as, in a way I suppose, being those who have,
, but often they're mostly in working class areas, which are the areas that suffer most. They're not people who people can ever reject as being, you know, they don't count. Becasue they count. They've been part of the communities.
That's one of the big, big lessons. You need people to do this, and I have written an article on this about multiplying the discourse through people like this, rather than just through people. We gave up on the idea of neutrality.
The other lesson is don't think you have to be neutral, because you aren't. You really aren't. Not if you live in Northern Ireland. You either aren't or you're not seen as, and I can tell you that put under pressure you won't be either. We found it much better to ditch that. You know, there were odd, wonderful people like John Paul and Bill Ury who'd come in who had a perspective that was from the outside and could. The rest of us, by and large, and this is one of the biggest breakthroughs we had, we didn't ask for neutrality, we only asked that they would respect a certain kind of process of dialogue. That was all and they only had to respect it for the day they were doing it or the few days they were doing it, and gradually the doing of it actually changed many people's own perspective on it.
So we had two advantages, we got loads more mediators, we called them co-partials when we had two, from each side, doing it. They themselves became people who could facilitate discussions everywhere. There's huge credibility for these people. Put it like this, we had a lot of problems in the workplace because we had (???)s and emblems and people were being shot dead over all these emblems, but a lot of our facilitators who would come from deep working class or working men backgrounds who were able to go in and say, "okay lads, let's sit down". Much more credibility than the people who came who were in a way protected from the conflict because the areas they lived in were not being bombed.
We are incredibly proud of these skills that have developed for so many.
I think the best knowledge you have in peace is really just like a jigsaw, and there's different times when you can do different things. So some days all you can do is pick up the bodies, comfort the wounded, and try to make sure it doesn't spiral into violence. Other days you look up and you realize, God, we've got time to think about integrated education. There's what I call short term, medium, and long term, and you really need to have people working on them all. Some days you cannot work on the crisis stuff; you've got to work on the training of people to deal with the crisis stuff as opposed to actually doing the crisis stuff.
So in a way it's taking advantage of all of the different opportunities that you get within a conflict, given that there often are times when some days are not as bad as others and some years might not be as bad as others.
we've now got a new law in place, which I am incredibly proud of. It is not just equality. We dealt with equality quite early on, we started that in the 70s and 80s and kept reviewing it and reviewing it and seeing why it was working, not working.
By and large, it is now. We now have addressed pretty well every issue of inequality. There's only two left and one is long term unemployed because Catholics don't join security forces and there's a real bugger there, and some of the higher echelons of management. Even as I speak I know those are being whittled away so quickly, it's unbelievable. Catholics are now in fact in the majority in the law, in the majority in the universities, in law, in medicine, etc. Whereas before they would have been very much excluded from it.
The bit of the jigsaw I wanted to say was, there are days when it's time to do different things. I was going to talk about how legislation takes ages, for instance. You have to have a timeline for that.
We've now introduced as part of the Good Friday agreement that's now in our legislation, not just equality legislation, which means no Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, or Muslim can feel that the processes discriminate against them. Also a new legislation which is called "good relations legislation," which means that every public body has got to look at every one of its programs to see whether or not it's going to improve good relations or divide people. For instance, is the local sports center going to have a problem in terms of dividing people? If you're putting a new economic development, a new shopping center, is it going to serve one community and not the other?
The reason I mention it is that's long term work. You need all three going. You need the crisis stuff.
So, at home, even at the moment, we would need our mobile phone community development workers, who are out mitigating the Saturday night stoning that still goes on, partly because there is still perceived to be an enemy. Partly because there's nothing more exciting than being involved in your own stone throwing war, if you're a youngster. Our youngsters have been involved in their own fight for so long that it's very hard just to watch it on TV anymore, so you have to be incredibly careful with what you do with them. The whole thing of timing, I think, is really important. What are the other major lessons? The one I mentioned that everybody's got capacity to change, we used to watch very carefully to see who would come to us with requests for grants and things like that. I can still remember the time when on Christmas Eve, a Protestant clergyman went over to shake hands with a Catholic clergyman and he was thrown out of his congregation. This sort of thing was normal; so much for the Christian message. Now there's hardly a church that doesn't have some programs that are devoted to understanding the other side.
I think also
don't be scared to mainstream the work. You lose it in mainstreaming it, because we all like to think we're revolutionaries. The work is really effective only when it's mainstreamed because that's much more sustainable and secure. So for instance, a lot of people do educational programs, bringing children together. They're compulsory in Northern Ireland now. Every child has to go through a program of education about their own culture, other people's culture, and conflict resolution. It's compulsory. You can't get out of it, even if you're living in a Catholic school or a Protestant school or whatever. So don't be afraid to mainstream. Some of us are afraid of losing our revolutionary fervor, or in a way selling out by putting these programs within the military and the police and the schools and everywhere else. I feel that ours, just like the environment, has to be written into every writ of every organization that there is. Therefore, learning to mainstream, I think, has been an important lesson for us. I would like to see it through every society where there is even a tendency toward division.
There should be somebody who is actually watching all the time.
For instance, even getting your business people involved. Another important lesson is to
make peace worthwhile. So how do we deal with the business folk? We got an economist in to actually look at a few pilot agencies, to look at what is was costing them to have separate work forces going around doing the electricity power lines, the cost of paying compensation to people who were harassed or murdered or whatever. Getting people to come to the cost in terms of businesses, and going to them and saying are you willing to do something, because we've estimated this is what your cost is, and therefore making it worth their while.
Also making it easy for them, because a little of businesses would say we're willing, but what do we do? You really would have to go in and say, look, this is what we suggest you do in terms of, you know, it could be the way your workers come in to work. It could be the kind of safety you can offer. It could be the people you have in the office or in the factory place who will be available if there are problems. You've got to have a policy on emblems and flags because they've cost two or three lives every year since you've been here. You've got to show them that actually it is in their interest.
This is a real art, because for many people, particularly the middle class people who are outside of the particular zones of conflict, you had to be able to sit down with them and persuade them that we needed them too.
So, for instance, you could get people who were very senior civil servants who didn't quite realize that because they worked in health, this had anything to do with them. Until you show them that actually again you had to have double work forces, you have the cost of the casualties, and you have whatever. Make sure that the cost is recognized by everyone and making sure they take up their part and their responsibility in terms of addressing it.
Q: So in addition to the human costs and the social costs?
A: The actual financial costs. It's an awful thing to say, but often that's what counts. Economic development, per se, will not work because it can often be as divisive. That was the other thing we also learned. The maxim we came to was nothing should happen apart that can be done together, including things like economic development and open businesses. It was so bad in Northern Ireland, I remember one time, there's a particular pan of bread that I adore, and I couldn't find it in certain areas and I kept going into these shops and saying, where's Pat's, Pat the Baker's bread? I went into another area, which happened to be a Protestant one, and the sales woman whispered in my ear, "We call it Linwood's bread here". The cost of actually having to produce different bread for different parts of the country because they wouldn't be accepted if they were seen to be Catholic bread or Protestant bread is one such example of financial costs. Bring home to them that in fact there's an enormous amount to be gained if you could actually gain acceptance in terms of an increased connected workforce, greater workforce and etc.
Being very clever about getting everybody on board and often finding different tactics as to how to get different people on board.
Also understanding the cultures of organizations. For instance, the army was the easiest. Within a year the army had actually changed the whole criteria for success, which was not how many terrorists you'd shot or how many terrorists you'd put into jail, but how were your relationships with communities developing, because that was in their interest. They would get more information about what needed to be done, etc. Finding ways, we didn't like to tell the provost this, mind you, but finding ways in which you could use their strategic plan and show them how they could do what they wanted to do without increasing their divisions. The culture of the army was such that once they decided to do it, they just put in place a program which says every soldier will now get into trouble if we find that there's trouble at the interfaces, if they're seen as creating riots among the young men, etc., which was a completely different change, and they were actually able to do this. Whereas another culture, like the civil service could take a decade to change.So understanding organizations are different and will take different times to change.
The final thing, I think is actually that learning from the international was hugely important for us. Our folk could often take many things from people who had been elsewhere. So we learned an enormous amount from, for instance, South Africa. To a certain extent the United States, in terms of some of their legal policies to do with diversity and race was also extremely important. So, we have found that we have become very important in terms of all of our processes to elsewhere. Because it is less threatening when you realize that these are problems that are shared elsewhere, and there are ways that other people are developing that actually can make it a lot easier for you in terms of where you're going.
Q: Thank you very, very much.