“An enemy is a person whose story you havent heard.”
Project Narratives films stories of people from and living in conflict regions.
Theory behind the project
The project is based on the simple belief that most people would not normally desire to harm or kill another human being. This circumstance can result only from a severe de-humanization of one’s “enemies”. It is in fact this de-humanizing effect that in many cases responsible for all manners of human conflict: from personal strife to massive international wars.
Social psychology tells us that one of the most powerful and effective ways of bridging the divide that a lack of empathy and understanding has created between conflicted groups is to bring them in direct contact. This forces people to reconsider concepts such as what they consider an „enemy“ and causes them to refocus on the effects of the conflict on other human beings.
Medium used in the project
While this basic principle is sound, it is also important to recognize that direct contact can often be a dangerous and limited method of facilitating re-humanizing. Thus, Project Narratives utilizes the medium of video interviews to show the effects of conflicts on individual people.
With this alternative approach that focuses on personal, conflict-related stories, we are able to remind a wider audience of the humanity of the people affected, thus shifting the public focus from political questions of blame and differences to the shared human experience. It creates a powerful common ground on which to base new initiatives of conflict resolution.
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
Read more about our collaborators here.
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