La Communication NonViolente
Une expérience de formation avec Connecting2Life
J'ai suivi une formation avec Connecting2Life, début 2023. C'était une étape très importante pour moi. Ce qui m'avait surprise c'était la profondeur des propos, qui pénètrent tous les aspects de ma vie, bien au-delà de ma communication dans mes relations.
Depuis, je lis avec intérêt leur newsletter régulièrement, car les réflexions partagées de Yoram, le fondateur de Connecting2Life, me touchent à chaque fois.
Je partage ici ses réflexions sur Israel & Palestine, dans la dernière newsletter, reçue en novembre 2023, car je trouve que c'est un moyen de saisir la profondeur des formations de Connecting2Life, tout en donnant la perspective la plus empathique que j'ai pu lire sur la condition des personnes les plus concernées par le conflit en cours.
Le texte est long, donc je vous invite à poursuivre la lecture seulement si cela vous nourrit en ce moment.
Je mets ici la version anglaise. Cliquez ici si vous préférez lire une version française (traduite automatiquement, via DeepL).
Je passe la parole à Yoram:
Many people inquire about my feelings and thoughts regarding the current events in Israel/Palestine.
As you can imagine, I am deeply affected and engaged with all that is happening. My family lives there, and many close friends and acquaintances are impacted by the war. Moreover, it is the place I grew up (until the age of 24), making it incredibly dear to my heart.
People also want to know what NVC has to say about these events, what actions can be taken, and if there is any hope.
Here are my Feelings & Thoughts regarding the current events in Israel/Palestine:
Shock & Heartbreak:
It took me several weeks to digest the news—the images, the new situation we find ourselves in, and the impact it has had: the immense pain inflicted, the immeasurable loss of safety for so many, the deepening breach in trust, and the traumas that will reverberate through generations.
Hopelessness & Hope:
- It takes only a few minutes to create traumas, and generations to heal them. It takes a few minutes to break trust, and it takes years to rebuild it.
- The greatest source of hopelessness I feel is connected to the way people (Israelis, Palestinians, and Internationals) talk about the situation. This is the aspect I most wish to focus on in this newsletter:
With this newsletter, I wish to contribute, even if only a drop, to ‘going beyond opinions’ and transcending polarizations. To meet as human beings who naturally care.
I know, ‘drops’ do not stop the bombs from falling and do not provide immediate relief or peace. Yet, drops slowly penetrate the ground and nourish the life hidden beneath the surface.
On the news and social media, I hear millions of people speaking with so much ‘confidence’ about who is right, who is wrong, and what we should do. While the confidence is similar, the opinions are extremely different, which is quite strange.
I find myself in the middle, a confused citizen, feeling hopeless about the violence of the dialogue itself and the polarization it creates. The situation is aching for cooperation and compassion.
I stay informed through various news sources: Al-Jazeera, CNN, and many different channels in Israel (from left to right). It’s striking how differently the news is presented. Beyond the ongoing war, I observe another war—the battle for ‘public opinion’:
‘Opinions’ and ‘beliefs’ lay the groundwork for violence. Violence happens when two parties are convinced of two opposing truths. For example, one believes the land historically belongs to Israelis, while the other believes the very same land historically belongs to Palestinians. This appears to lead to a dead-end where only suffering and endless war can take place. This lose-lose situation has persisted for more than 100 years, and the future seems as dark or even darker.
Instead of contributing to more opinions and division, I wish for the complexity of the situation to be held with as much compassion for both sides.
A fundamental principle I gleaned from Marshall is that when one is in too much pain, they cannot acknowledge nor empathize with the pain of the other. Both Israelis and Palestinians are currently in too much pain to be able to recognize or empathize with the immense pain of the other. Instead of fueling the fire with additional opinions, I hope the international community will embrace compassion for both sides and recognize that the story is much more complex than determining who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. As historian Yuval Noah Harari states: “In many cases in history, we are both victims and perpetrators at the same time.”
And – And: (In English, one says ‘Both and’. In Hebrew, it sounds more beautiful to me: ‘גם – וגם’ which means: And – And)
People living in Israel & Palestine are caught in a terrible situation that started long before they were born, with no visible way out.
In this battle over who is right and who is wrong, I want to scream: Israelis & Palestinians, you are both right!
Here, I aim to give a voice to both sides, as incomplete as it is.
As this topic brings a lot of pain in many of us, here are 5 important disclaimers to start with:
- It is scary for me to write the following, knowing that many people are likely to feel anger or judgment toward me, labeling me as a traitor, naive, unaware, or simply wrong in my perspectives. However, I choose to share this out of integrity and my desire to see and treat human beings as human beings.
- If you are deeply involved in the pain of one side, please refrain from reading below about the pain of the other side (unless you are truly ready to engage with it). When you are in pain yourself, it is not for you to empathize with the side that represents a threat to you, as doing so without readiness can only intensify the trauma.
- All that I write below has nothing to do with me ‘justifying’ any actions taken by either side; I grieve deeply over the choice of violence as a means to fulfill needs and am profoundly concerned, not only about the immense direct costs to all involved, but also about the simple fact that violence is counterproductive in the long term. It tends to fail to address the very needs it attempts to fulfill in the long run. Instead, the text below is an attempt to connect with the profound human challenges and pains experienced by each party.
- What I’ve written is highly incomplete and imprecise; it’s simply an initial exploration into embracing complexity and extending compassion to all. I anticipate that each reader may wish to correct or add various parts. My dream is for all of you to participate in modifying and expanding this text until we create a comprehensive book suitable for teaching in schools: Israelis, Palestinians and Internationals. + About facts: Some of you might be thinking, ‘These facts are incorrect or imprecise!’. I observe experts on TV and social media attempting to persuade each other about what the right facts are. Honestly, in all the events I mention, I wasn’t there. In most cases, I wasn’t even born yet, so I have no idea. I leave it to historians to debate what the facts truly are. While I make an effort to gather information from a variety of sources and verify its reliability as much as possible, I still don’t have a clue about the truth.
- This text consciously focuses on ‘everyone’s suffering’ and not on ‘who suffers more’. Through my experience as a mediator, I’ve come to understand that peace doesn’t emerge from the perspective of fairness, but rather from a compassionate understanding of everyone’s pain and needs. As you read this text, I encourage you to step away from the judge’s seat and, instead, be touched by both pains and perspectives.
As I am more familiar with the Israeli side, I will begin with Palestine, and then continue with Israel:
❤ Palestine, here is my humble attempt to give voice to glimpses of what you experience:
It has now been 75 years since the ‘Nakba’ (1948), when your grandparents were forcibly displaced, either forced out of their homes or killed. You settled in refugee camps, safeguarding the keys to your homes, holding onto the hope of returning… 75 years later, and the keys are rusting.
It has been 55 years (1967) living under occupation in Gaza and the West bank, devoid of basic human rights and minimal protection. Settlers continue to encroach upon your lands, posing a daily threat to your safety. A separation wall has been erected in front of your houses, severing you from your land, neighbors, and families. Soldiers can enter your home without warning, taking your children to prison.
You strive to reach work as early as 5 am, passing through checkpoints, enduring endless lines, uncertain if today you will manage to get to work. Your life is at the mercy of 19-year-old soldiers; your well-being depends on their mood, goodwill, and moral values for the day. You endure constant humiliations, cultivating a growing sense of hatred.
In Gaza, many feel oppressed twice: by the Israelis and by Hamas.
Airplanes bomb your cities. Very few people in the world know the feelings, sounds, and smells of a 1-ton bomb exploding near your bedroom in the middle of the night. Witnessing the same neighbors you greeted this morning, the same friends you shared coffee with, or relatives you’ve known since birth—seeing them dead, injured, or soul-broken amid the rubble.
You read the numbers of the dead in the newspaper, comparing the figures between Israelis and Palestinians, the number of children dying… and you draw an inference: Your lives matter less. The Western world doesn’t care. You are alone, unprotected, unsupported, unseen. Living in such horror is not a way to live. Yet, you have endured it your whole life.
You try to raise your voice, to scream, to call for your basic right to live, for freedom, for dignity, for identity, for justice. But what power do you have? How do you fight for your existence when you carry a stone in front of a tank? Or an improvised rocket in front of the most modern F-16 warplanes? You shout to be heard. Then they label you as ‘terrorists,’ and in the name of international Western laws, they silence your outcry. How else can you be heard? How else can you be taken into consideration?
And now, a second ‘Nakba’. 1.5 million refugees, reopening the same trauma all over again. You are out of your home and all that you have built, without clean water, without food, sleeping in tents or on the concrete streets without even a toilet. This time, you didn’t even take your keys, as there is no home to come back to.
You love your land—the earth, the trees, the figs, the lemons, the oranges, the dates. You love your children and your tribe. You love people. You remember your grandparents and carry their pain with you.
There is no end to the tears because you know the nightmare continues. Even the wish to live, the longing for safety or peace, is an old tune from a forgotten song.
You cry out for a hand. For someone to see. To understand. To support. To save.
❤ Israel, here is my humble attempt to give voice to glimpses of what you experience:
On a quiet early Shabbat morning, they entered your home, killing, kidnapping, raping, and torturing you, your family, your children, and your women in the most horrific ways imaginable, all while Hamas fighters laughed, celebrated, and rejoiced in inflicting horror. You hear them declaring that their highest goal is to destroy your country and kill you.
Regrettably, you need to defend your life, your family, and your right to live. You need to do ANYTHING you can to ensure that such atrocities never happen again.
And you are damn scared that you will be attacked again, as it has been happening since 1988 (Intifada), 1973 (by Egypt), 1967 (by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan), 1948 (by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Palestine), 1939 (Holocaust), and 1881 (pogroms in East Europe).
Hearing about antisemitic actions happening around the world, you draw the conclusion: There is no other place where I can be safe than in Israel.
Your entire life is tainted with fear—the simple fear of being killed while walking on the street, whether it’s on a bus that might explode, in a restaurant, or facing the threat of being shot or attacked with knives. These fears are carried deep within you.
You want the world to know that you fight to defend yourself, not because you want war.
With your bare hands and sweat, you created a place for your tribe (Jewish) to live safely, where you can belong to your community after being scattered for over 2000 years. Yet, after what you have been through (the Holocaust), you found yourself again: being a small community surrounded by life-threatening hostilities from every direction. From the south (Gaza and further Yemen), from the east (the West Bank and further Iran), from the north (Lebanon & Syria). You were hoping to find a land to live safely in, and you find yourself again being scared for your life, scared that all those (Arab) nations would unite to attack you to end your existence. In these conditions, the USA’s support is your rescuer, as otherwise, being such a small country, you would have been wiped out long ago.
You lose hope in peace when specialists (like Dr. Mordechai Kedar and more) assert that Islam is a missionary religion aiming to convert the entire world to Islam and that peace is viewed as a temporary agreement, not a goal in itself, until the enemy is weak enough to be defeated.
When you hear that Hamas teaches their children it’s good to kill Jews, and that the highest form of happiness is to die as a ‘Shahid’ (and receive 70 virgins in heaven, etc.), you feel hopeless and lonely in your aspiration to uphold the value of life as sacred and holy.
When you hear these experts suggest that to live in the Middle East, one cannot rely on the liberal Western language but should adopt the language of the locals: ‘Only the strong survive’, and ‘one must regain deterrent force’. It appears that the only way for you to live securely is by dismantling Hamas—not out of a desire for war, but as a necessity to protect life.
So much of the world does not seem to understand the complexity of the situation: You do not want to kill civilians, and yet, Hamas is operating within one of the most densely populated living areas in the world, intentionally using civilians as human shields, even in hospitals, schools, and kindergartens. You need to protect yourself from those wanting to kill you, and while trying to prevent hurting innocent people, you see no other choice than hurting people you do not want to harm. In return, you are blamed for committing war crimes.
You just want to live, safely, peacefully.
While the break in trust is so huge, it seems nearly impossible to heal. Then I remember: only 80 years ago, Germans and Jews were involved in the worst atrocities recorded. And now, Germans and Jews are friends. Though it seems impossible, history shows us that movements and changes always happen.
Life is very powerful. Life cherishes life, not death.
I aspire to walk in Gaza City in a few decades, teach NVC there, and relish getting to know the people and the culture, just as I do today in Berlin. Additionally, I hope that Palestinians can soon stroll safely in Tel Aviv, enjoying the opportunity to get to know Israelis as individuals, not soldiers.
With dedication to life: compassion, gently built trust, healing, and peace,
I end with this link: Song