Wednesday, February 22, 2006

More thoughts

Some thoughts on the retreat, which may add to the frustration for those who could not be with us in Kibuye.

Personally, I found it a very stimulating, rewarding experience, and I felt very privileged to be in such interesting company amidst so much natural beauty, not to mention troubling history, complex present and impressive, moving hopes for the future. I was also intrigued to learn more about the origins of Never Again from some of the people involved in its continuing evolution.

I did struggle at the outset to accept the open-ended approach, wishing for more introduction, framing, focus and direction to our discussions. But everyone arrived with unique and valuable perspectives, and I learned something from that, too. I can certainly say I went through some important shifts of understanding in the course of collective and one-to-one discussions.

One of the reasons I was keen on the blog idea was to be able to report impressions as I went along, rather than building up a monumental backlog. It was really disappointing that the hotel's internet facility was on the blink (including the promising phone sockets in the rooms).
At this stage, I'm reluctant to attempt to report what other people said, but it would be great if some brave souls were to take up the challenge of producing summaries.

After some extra days in Goma, my spare time in Kinshasa has been devoted to writing up a particular idea that emanated from the retreat, so that a small working group can develop it further and plug some gaps before sharing it more widely (including, no doubt, this wiki). It's very exciting, very in synch with Never Again as I understand it, and it has to do with individual responsibility for genocide prevention.

The rest of the time I've been pursuing a job, continuing the process of self-installation/homemaking (domestic repairs, car, internet, etc), and cursing powercuts.

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