Reconciliation.This word has been foreign to me before applying to YRA project in Belgrade. During the seminar, I have heard so many people repeating it allthe time. Even our teachers have said to us that our mission after the project is reconciliation. But I have never heard the definition of the term itself. So before trying to successfully fulfil my mission as an ambassador of reconciliation I started my little research on the etymology of the term reconciliation.
At first, I had trouble with finding a definition of reconciliation that could relate to the YRA project, so I redirected my “etymology quest” to the verb – to reconcile. So, according to the English dictionary it means to win over to friendliness; cause to become amicable; to reconcile HOSTILE persons. It also means to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent. One word in this definition has drawn my attention. That word was hostile. So, I searched “hostile” in the dictionary. According to the online dictionary, hostile is: a characteristic of an enemy; unfriendly; not hospitable , but the most interesting part was that the given example for this word was: “hostile nation”.
After searching for the etymology of the mentioned words, I came to realize that all of us in the YRA project are former enemies. Literally. Enemies, as in: enemy in war or battle. Yet we sat there. One across another. At the same table. We sat there for five days, trying to listen to each other. Trying to understand each other. Some of us, listened each other, indeed. Yet, others failed to do so. Some of us understood the others, the former enemies. Some of us, refused to accept the truth different than the one they already knew.
But the mere fact that most of us belong to the generation that had nothing to do with the past events and wars in the Balkans, and yet we were so influenced by our own cultural and national backgrounds and explanations of those events, but we managed to overcome those influences and tried to listen to other view of the same events, is definitely a big thing.
After the project is over, our mission of reconciliation is prolonged in prevention. But before that we must spread the message of peace and cooperation in our local community by being assertive in our message of peace. Without that we remain the same few people, now with open minds but with closed mouths. Success in our mission towards our own local community will provoke others to react, if we are lucky maybe some will join us.
After all of that is accomplished, meaning, if we have invested the least effort or said just few words we heard during YRA project, than we can talk about successful prevention of conflicts between national and social groups. To quote, Albert Camus, the famous writer: “When a war breaks out, people say: „It’s too stupid, it can’t last long.“ But though a war may be „too stupid,“ that doesn’t prevent its lasting.” Now we come to the crucial element of our mission of reconciliation. War. Bloody. Savage. Antihuman. Anti-civilizational heritage. The thing that can’t be won or lost. It can only pass.
Our mission as ambassadors and my own should be, and it is ruthless fight against any form of wars. Let me rephrase myself on the last sentence. Life lasting devotion to peace and all the benefits it brings. It may sound stupid, it could be stupid as Camus says, but we never know when it will strike. Because of that we should be always prepared to defend peace. And that’s easy to do. We have done that for five days on YRA project. Just try to listen. Just try to understand. And smile. Who knows, maybe a smile in the end saves the day.