See if you can fill in the blanks in these words.
Purpose and Traditions
1. We gather together in dialogue realizing that while our views about ___ may differ, we bring to the table a unified desire to find common ground, and to lessen the chance of violence in our community.
2. We come in peace without intention to impose our views about ___ on one another, but with a commitment to understand those views, to differentiate fact and fiction on the issue, and to get to know each other as people and as citizens of this community.
3. We participate in this dialogue recognizing the importance of this process. We participate in hopes of increasing communication among ourselves which we anticipate will lead to greater mutual respect among all sides of the ___ issue even beyond our immediate group.
4. We recognize that our discussions may involve controversial subjects and sensitive topics that mean much to each of us. Thus, in our discussions, we will not gossip, interrupt each other, or try to dominate but will consciously seek to listen carefully, speak respectfully, and be open and honest in our expressions.
5. While the fact that we are meeting is not a secret, we agree to keep the details of what we discuss confidential among those of us in this room, unless we agree otherwise on particular points.
We leave here thankful for the opportunity to talk, appreciative of each person in this group, and committed to continuing to build respect among all sides of the ___ issue in our community. We go in peace until we meet again.
Whatever you came up with to fill in the blanks, here's something to ask: where's the effort like this on so many divisive, acrimonious issues we know and experience daily? I mean, take your pick: reservations, Babri Masjid, Gujarat, Narmada, economic reforms, Kaveri water ... Where is the sane, level-headed, mutually respectful initiative, even a tiny one, to bridge even one of these divides? Please tell me if you know of any.
Especially in these days that I remember my travel through Gujarat five years ago, I've been thinking of great divides. Must we remain content with acrimony, content to throw insults across them? Are there people who are tired of insults and want to sit down to sincerely search for common ground, like the group above?
Who out there is willing to take this idea forward with me?