“An enemy is a person whose story you haven’t heard.”

Project Narratives is based on the simple belief that most people are only able to severely harm or kill another human being as a result of de-humanization of their “enemies”. One of the most powerful ways of bridging the divide that a lack of understanding has created is to enable human encounter through direct contact. This forces people to reconsider their pre-conceptions of the „enemy“, fosters mutual understanding and allows them to refocus on the joint transformation of the conflict.

Documentaries for understanding

While this basic principle is sound, it is important to recognize that in active conflicts establishing direct contact can often be challenging or even potentially dangerous for the participants. Additionally, only a limited number of people are able to participate in each event.

In contrast, Project Narratives utilizes documentaries to trace everyday effects of conflicts on individual people. With this alternative approach that focuses on personal, conflict-related stories, the project is able to remind a wider audience of the humanity of the people affected, thus shifting the public focus from political questions of blame and difference to recognizing the needs and thoughts of the people “on the other side”. It creates a powerful common ground on which new initiatives of conflict transformation can be based.

Project 1: Israel-Palestine

The first iteration of the project idea was carried out in the Middle East and focuses on the Israel-Palestine conflict. The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies helped us to gain support from and access to people living in the region.

Project 2: India-Pakistan

The second iteration focuses on India and Pakistan. Our collaborators Aaghaz-e-Dosti, Citizens Archive of Pakistan and Open Sky helped to connect us with the people from these regions.

Read more about our collaborators here.