On day 4 of the workshop, participants were asked to write short speeches to be considered for inclusion in the Act 2 Conference in Geneva. The speeches were to draw on reflections and experiences from the workshop, but also from participants’ own work in their home countries. Each speech was delivered to the workshop group at the end of the afternoon, after which the selection for the conference was made. Below are audio recordings of some of those speeches.
I grew up molding missiles and tanks out of mud. I shared a gun with my uncle at the age of 13. But I am now a trainer for 14 civil society organisations and youth groups from both sides of the conflict. I have learnt how to use theatre as a tool for conflict resolution in the Act 2 workshop. I intend to use it in preparation for the forthcoming referendum in Sudan. My name is Raan Clement.
The dreadful violence which followed Kenya’s elections scarred our country. It needed to be understood so that we could move on. As part of the reconciliation process, the Pamoja Company of dancers – with and without physical disabilities – went to the church in Kiambaa where more than 30 people were burnt to ashes by those of another tribe. We created a performance around this event so that it could be understood and considered by a wide audience. This kind of work and our work in prisons gives us a belief in the power of performance for healing and reconciliation. My name is Charles Kangethe, a dancer and a peacemaker.
Hi, I am Rowina from Zimbabwe. We have a political war which has been between two parties for the past 10 years.It is a war for power, but the people affected by the war don’t really understand what it is about. Young people are being used as the perpetrators of violence by those of our parents’ generation. I use theatre to educate my fellow young people working together for the benefit of my country. It is difficult to get support for youth projects as we are not seen as worthwhile, but we shall continue the struggle, because we are the leaders of tomorrow.
My brothers and sister and my parents were killed in the Rwandan genocide, only I survived. My neighbour killed my mother. I have forgiven him. Now he’s my friend. I use my music and my drama to pass on the possibilities of forgiveness and reconciliation between the killers and survivors. Songs and prayers about those possibilities give the message of peace to others so that they can move on from our horrible past. Thank you, my name is Charles Mugabe.
Yes I’m educated, yes I’m single, yes I don’t have children, yes I’m 24, and yes I’m from Yemen. But from where I come from, most females are illiterate, married – sometimes at the age of 9 – and already have 7 kids by my age 24. And that’s because of ignorance, poverty, corruption, conflict, social discrimination and injustice. Actually, the fact that Yemen is walking like a normal person amazes me. As a journalist, I work in close contact with real people who are suffering on a daily basis. I do my best to be their voice to the whole world, so now I represent their voice to you all, and I say: Yemen really needs help. My name is Afrah Nasser, I’m from Yemen, and thank you.
My name is Hyppolite Ntigurirwa, I come from Rwanda. My father was killed and given to the dogs to eat. I never had a chance to bury him. 82 people from my family died in the genocide. I know some of the killers. Some were my neighbours, others were my friends. But I have forgiven them. Let’s make this world a better place.
I have been a witness to 30 years of civil war. As an artist and a trainer moving between different ethnic groups, I have realised that art is by far the most suitable medium to address and get close to all people. Art has an unbelievable power to heal and to attract people irrespective of religion, language or ethnicity. And this has been evident in a current project working with former Tamil Tiger combatants. It is not enough to provide material comforts and vocational training; Forum Theatre and other arts have a deep therapeutic value. Through this, we have been able to reduce trauma and negativity in the ex-Tamil Tiger group, which comprises 50 young men and women, so that they are now ready to become trainers for other war-affected people. With these drama techniques, audiences can be invited to change their attitude about the leftover problems of war: the treatment of widows, dowry, alcohol and much more. I’m Nalinda Premaratna from Sri Lanka.