Ok so here's the concept - peace happens when different people accept one another's differences. Yes? No? Not sure? Either way - if you don't know about people who are different to you, how can you tell if they're a threat or not? And, if different sorts of people don't know about you, how do they know if you're a threat or not?
Of course, sometimes conflict happens for other reasons - we might think we know a group of others or one person very well, but if they want the same thing that we do and there isn't enough to go around, there may be trouble ahead... although, did we really check first? Did the other one really want exactly the same thing? If we joined forces could we share, or help find extra resources together?
And, what if we want different things which we can't agree on? Trouble again - we're not moving, but you won't budge! But surely, when we talk about what we need we realise we all need pretty similar things... or, is it really that we actually want something very much indeed? Who knows? Did we check first? Either way, if we don't really need something but we really really want it, fighting is a pretty expensive way to get it!
Here's a way to do the research on what's actually happening between us.
We can do this on a big scale or on a small scale, as pairs, in a group or between nations!
- Find someone who is different. How different are they? Different gender? Different age? How about their sexuality or their race, their religion? Are they different physically? How about their home life? How different is that? And their opportunities? It's difficult to say - but you might have a good idea quite soon.
- Explain your plan to them, and see if they'll agree to help.
- If you succeed, arrange to share a digital camera one day.
- With permission, and respecting your partner's trust in you, photograph one another's life for a few hours. Swap over. Don't forget to record their home, people, work, daily activity, way of getting around, food and drink, place of worship, ways they have to express themselves, one of their dreams. You'll be hooked, and really keen to share the same things the other way.
- Get together again to discuss your photographs, and, if you want to, share them with a group.
Groups that might try pairing off like this might be colleagues in a workplace, two different teams in a sport, people at different schools, or how about prisoners and the imprisoned? How about groups of male sportsmen and their regular supporters, their families? Or journalists and celebrities?
Whatever groups we start to choose, (and when we start we find lots), try to pick groups that have some differences or even some conflict between them, if it's safe.