Iraq and the US, Possibilities for Peace and Reconciliation

Lunchtime discussion
Friday, June 24, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
West Gallery, Northampton Center for the Arts
17 New South Street, Northampton

ICAE director Claudia Lefko, artist Thamer Dawood, writer and former marine Tyler Boudreau, Rev. Peter Kakos from Edward's Church, Northampton and Auf Al Arawi, longtime friend of ICAE and humanitarian worker in Iraq, and Jordan, will host a brown bag lunch discussion on using art in humanitarian aid efforts and the possibilities of the truth and reconciliation process as it applies to Iraq and the US.

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I was moved by an article written by Alexandra Fuller in National Geographic (2010), about a young white man coming of age and becoming a minister in South Africa just as apartheid was ending. He took a job in a Zulu village to learn about "the others" who live in that same country with him, who he'd never known.

In the dozen years Snyman lived among the Zulus as a minister, it became clear that the lesson he had to take back to his own people was this: "Those who supported the system of apartheid need to apologize in a way that will feel sincere. Then they need to make amends in a way that restores some of the dignity and some of the material opportunities that had been eroded under that system." Snyman started to think about the idea of community-led restitution—the creation, he says, of such emblems of remorse as a school, a clinic, or a skills training center. "Something everyone could point to and say, Here is our symbol of true sorryness, here is a symbol of our decision to build a new way to work together. It was a very deep idea in me." [source]

I think we have a similar task as US citizens, to begin to create and support emblems of remorse. This informal discussion will focus on that idea, and the work that needs to be done.

- Claudia Lefko