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05 May

| 2019 | 17:00

The East Jerusalem Forum – Dr. Gary Mason, Northern Ireland

  • In English
  • Invites Only
  • Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, Radak 20, Jerusalem
  • In English
  • Invites Only
  • Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, Radak 20, Jerusalem
The East Jerusalem Forum – Dr. Gary Mason, Northern Ireland

Dr. Gary Mason is a church leader who was a key figure in the “Good Friday” agreement and the reconciliation process in Northern Ireland.

Mason spoke about the long and difficult road to the Good Friday Agreement, signed in Ireland in April 1998 –– almost parallel to the Oslo process, mediated by Robert Mitchell and President Clinton’s vigorous encouragement.

He briefly reviewed the history of the conflict in Northern Ireland and its special characteristics, the factors and circumstances that led to the signing of the agreement in 1998, and the difficult process of dealing with the past and the grave traumas of both sides to the conflict.

Mason claimed that one of the most difficult problems after the signing of the agreement were the questions of attitudes towards the past. He claimed that in order to reach reconciliation, “we have to break away from our current thinking, it is more important than disarming”, he continued, “When we drive, 90 percent of the time we look only in the front window. And if I asked you to use only the rearview mirror on the road, you would think I was crazy. Yet, in violent conflicts, 90 percent of the time we’re busy watching the rearview mirror instead of looking ahead. “

He also mentioned the need to integrate religious leaders into the process of reconciliation, the problems and challenges the Brexit process the peace––whether the border between Britain and Europe will pass within Ireland––and more. Finally, Mason referred to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to Jerusalem.

 He stressed to not succumb to despair, instead, to build and to act in difficult conditions to create dialogue, to know the other side and their struggle, and to shape common spaces in a divided city, as was done in Belfast. 

Dr. Mason’s is the Founder of Rethinking Conflict, from Belfast, Ireland

His website: http://www.rethinkingconflict.com/