Make your own free website on

Carl's part from "TWO HUMANISTS - TWO GENERATIONS" - 10/9/82



I appreciate all the kind words and I'm impressed by the number of people who are here. I want to speak to you on a topic that has to do with the preservation of people and I think of our planet as well. I want to talk about the real necessity of dialogue. I suppose the title of my talk could be "Experiences in Dealing with Situations of Social Conflict or Social Attachment."

I think we're all aware of the fact that tension and hostility and feuds constitute a large part of the present day world picture and there is so little of real communication going on between the feuding parties. Israeli's won't speak to the PLO. The Protestants won't speak to the Catholics in Belfast; the United States doesn't really speak with the USSR; we have a government which seems to define diplomacy in that area as being composed of threats and there's no hint of a real open dialogue between the two super powers. And so it goes all over the world.

The have's and the have-nots in the South American countries are at great odds and that's true of many of the South American countries. Even the NFL owners won't speak to the players and vice versa.


I've just come back from an extended trip to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya with my friend and colleague, Ruth Sanford, who's here. Ruth would you stand up so they could ask questions of you when they have time? I hope you have a chance to get acquainted with her and ask her more about the trip.

In South Africa there is such a complex of tensions that it's scarcely believable. There's the antagonism between whites and blacks; there's the antagonism between the black people and those who are classed as colored; between blacks and those who are classed as Indian. Then to complicate matters still further there are a great many tribal rivalries and feuds between the different African Tribes - the Zulu, the Bantu, the Zosa and other tribes. And then there's the tension between the Afrikaaners and the English; those of Dutch decent and English decent. And certainly there's a lot of tension between the government and anyone who freely speaks his mind with a liberal part of youth. And so it goes on and on.

There's even a good deal of tension between men and women as we discovered in our visit there. I might just mention that when a woman marries in South Africa, all of her property automatically belongs to her husband and she herself is classed as a minor. So there is some basis there for a certain amount of tension.


What I wanted to particularly speak about, and I hope I can bring it alive for you, is a group whose members were composed of blacks and whites that we held on stage in a weekend conference in Johannesburg.

First let me give you just a little bit of background as to the reasons for the tension between blacks and whites. The country is roughly twenty percent white and eighty percent black. The twenty percent white own 87 percent of the land and the eighty percent of the blacks own 13 percent of the land and practically all of the land they own is barren and dry and unproductive, quite different from the land owned by the whites. One figure that will give you some notion of the degree of discrimination is that the South African government spends ten times as much on the education of a white child as on the education of a black child.

In terms of wages the black miner gets just a fraction of the wages that the white miner gets and so it is all through the economy. In comparable jobs, the blacks get only a fraction of the amount paid to the whites and there are also many middle and higher level jobs that they are not permitted to take. So, there's reason for strong feelings.

It's impossible to give a picture of the situation without mentioning the fact that all of this inequality exists in a maze of regulations, laws, prohibitions, permits. It's simply incredible. For instance, we wished to visit a resettlement area where about 700,000 blacks have been assigned. It took two weeks to get a permit to even visit that place even though it's a part of South Africa. My impression before we got through was that any spontaneous, innovative action that you might take would surely run afoul of one regulation or another. It's incredible.

At Johannesburg we had a weekend conference which had been arranged by my friend and former student, Len Holdstock. There were 600 people in the conference and it certainly was a challenge because all the seats were bolted to the floor in one large auditorium. There was no space available for holding smaller groups so that from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon we were all together in the one auditorium. We tried a variety of things.

I did a demonstration interview and Ruth spoke about some of her interests. Then in the very first meeting we told them some of the things that we could do and got other suggestions from them. I finished what I had to say by suggesting that there was one thing that I would very much like to do but I doubted if we should do it because I thought it would be too risky for the people involved and that was I would like to hold a black/white encounter group on stage. The audience was very much in favor of that but we still didn't know whether we could do it because it would be a real risk for the blacks to volunteer. If they spoke up freely, they might jeopardize their jobs and might get in trouble with the security police. And they were slow to volunteer but finally we had a group of four blacks, seven whites and the two of us in a circle on stage.

I might say too that one thing that was evident within the first couple of hours in that whole audience was the intense hunger for communication. Both Ruth and I felt we had never met with an audience that seemed so hungry for openness and for communication and for dialogue. They just could not get enough of it and this was evident also in the group on stage. The blacks in the group were all from Soweto which before I went to South Africa I thought of as a suburb of Johannesburg. Well, it isn't exactly a suburb. There are over a million people in it, all crowded in together in housing that ranges from very poor to mediocre. Every black person in the area is required to live in Soweto. They cannot live in Johannesburg itself so there's a tremendous amount of commuting back and forth to work.

I'll try to give a little picture of some of the people in the group. Jeff was one of the first to speak up. He was a middle-aged white man, quite obviously conservative in his view. He said, "I don't like the system but I work very well with blacks. The blacks under my supervision do well. We get along well together and there really is no problem there."

Then John, an elderly black man, well-educated, he studied in London, knows several languages. He organized a marriage and family life council in Soweto. He began to speak up. He spoke very calmly but in everything he said there was a real undercurrent of bitterness that couldn't be missed. He said, "Why is it that I don't even get half the salary the white man would be paid in a comparable position?" He talked in some length about the economic injustice of that.

Shirley, one of the white woman, tried to really show him a lot of understanding and acceptance and helped him become more specific in what he was angry about. So he finally brought up another thing beside wages. He said, "The thing I feel most deeply is I'm invisible. I want to be seen. I don't want to be invisible. I go into a butcher shop, a white person comes in and is waited on, another white person and is waited on, another, another. I stand there for half an hour. Finally a white woman says, "This man has been waiting a long time. I think you should wait on him." He said, "I haven't been seen by the other people. I want to be seen. I want to be seen as a person." He was really very emphatic and quite bitter about that.

And then Jeff spoke up and said, "Well, such things do happen but they're very rare." And then the woman next to me confided to me that she was too shy to speak up. She wouldn't be taking part in the group. She began to squirm in her seat and I handed her a microphone and she said, "It is not rare. It goes on everyday!" So the expression of feeling began to get quite free and open.

Then Beth, who was a lovely black woman who had been afraid of Steve Vecos. Steve Vecos was the black editor who died in the hands of the security police and almost certainly died at the hands of the security police. She was very articulate. She spoke very eloquently of the black situation. She said that she didn't have much hope for herself. She didn't think things would change very markedly during her lifetime but she hoped very much that her children would grow up to be proud that they were black. She said, "I send them to a white school because that's the only way they can get a good education but I hope that they will grow up being proud that they are black and under a changed social situation."

Somewhere along in there Jeff gave quite a speech about the fact that "ye must be patient. The wheels of change move very slowly. Things are changing but it's going to be very slow. It's going to be a long time. Things like this just don't happen rapidly," and he went on telling the blacks how patient they should be and the audience booed, the selected audience.

Allen was a white man who spoke of the fact that for a long time he had really wanted to talk with a black person as equals and that the social and economic situation made it practically impossible for them to meet as equals in any ordinary daily life situation and he was glad there was a chance here to meet as equals.

At one, point when Daphne was speaking up quite strongly, he reached over and put his hand on her arm as a gesture of support. She slapped his hand away and he felt quite hurt and they discussed what had gone on. She said, "well, to me it felt like a pat on the back and I don't need a pat on the back. I can stand on my own feet."

A little later when he was talking, she reached over to pat him but it was very strange, it was a most ambivalent gesture. I think she was trying to say, "Here's what it feels like to get a pat on the back!" But at the same time there was a lot of friendliness in it too. It was a very ambivalent gesture.

One of the things that Daphne said was that she was very sorry for the whites. She pitied them because they were so afraid, so afraid of what would happen if the blacks took power and then some of the whites spoke up and said yes, they were fearful. It's very evident when you go around any of the cities. All the white homes have fences around them and many of them have very vicious looking dogs inside the locked gates. They are afraid. And then a woman in the group who has come to South Africa from Zimbabwe, where the blacks are in control, spoke up to say that with the blacks in control there was some oppression of the whites and so that the fear was at least partially justified.

Toward the conclusion of the session, John turned to Shirley, who had been trying so much to reach him and understand him and be with him. And he had sort of been rather cold to her and he finally said, "Can you accept me to the point where I really feel that you accept me?" Shirley thought over that rather complex question and finally said, "Yes." She thought she could accept him in such a way that he would feel that she accepted him and their relationship picked up at that point.

Then when the session was nearly over, Daphne spoke up and spoke to the audience. She said, "I don't like the fact that the audience booed Jeff." She said, "I don't agree with one word that he said but he has just as much right to his point of view as I have to mine and I don't like it that you tried to put him down. He's straight forward. I can deal with him because he's honest in saying what he thinks and believes and even though I differ sharply with him, I can deal with him and we should give him just as much of a chance to express his point of view as I have to express my point of view." Whereupon Jeff reached over and shook her hand very warmly and thanked her for that.

I think that there was achievement of much deeper dialogue as the group continued. It was only an hour-and-a-half long. Certainly nothing permanent happened there and yet it showed a number of things. It showed that with a facilitator, the powerful and the powerless can speak together as equals. That's a very important thing I believe. In daily life, the blacks simply would not dare to say that kind of thing to the whites because the whites have the power and the blacks are powerless. But when they're both away from their home settings as they were in the auditorium, when there is a facilitator present who has just as much respect for the one side as for the other, who values each unique individual no matter what his color, he finds that that places people on an equal footing so that for that time at least they can converse and dialogue as equals. I feel that's one of the strongest points in holding dialogue between any groups, whether there's tension or whether there's a difference in power, away from their home setting and in the presence of a facilitative person or persons.

Then I think that it showed that people could begin to appease their hunger for communication. It was so evident in the group that they wanted to talk to each other. They wanted to get to know each other and their society provided no way of doing so. That's one thing about apartheid. It's very successful in thoroughly separating the different classifications, it seems to even separate people from each other. There's so many things forbidden that you just don't open up to people. So it began to break that barrier.

Another thing that showed the effect is that the group couldn't break up. It came tea time and tea is very sacrosanct in South Africa. That's one thing you don't miss. So a halt was called to the meeting but the group didn't break up. They stood up but they stood in little knots on stage, talking, talking, talking with each other and the same thing was true of the audience. They stood up but they gathered in little knots all over the place talking and talking and talking. It opened up a dialogue that was certainly continuing.

The other thing that showed it's effect was that a great many people began asking, "Where can we get training as facilitators so that we can start groups of our own like this? We'd really like to pursue this further." It confirmed the previous experiences that I've had with the National Health Council and with a group from Belfast, that dialogue between hostile or feuding groups is possible and persons can emerge as real persons and you can make a start toward understanding each other.

We would like to talk a little bit about the experience with the National Health Council which was several years ago. The National Health Council is an organization that includes the American Medical Association, the American Dental Association, Nurses Association, health agencies, social work agencies having to do with health, health insurance companies, everyone concerned with the health field. Several years ago these health providers, as they call themselves, decided to invite some health consumers to their annual meeting. Invitations were sent out to local groups and local groups selected representatives who would come to the annual meeting. The health consumers were mostly poor, primarily people on welfare, a lot of them black, some of them Chicano, and they came to this posh hotel where the conference was being held. I'm sure that enough was spent on one meal there to serve their families a week and they were not impressed.

When the conference got together for the first time, there was the usual bland announcements and opening remarks and then the health consumers said, "We're leaving the meeting. This looks to us like another token bit where you get in some blacks and some poor people and so on and it doesn't mean a damn thing. We're not having any of it."

Let me back up just a little bit. Before the conference opened, the National Health Council realized maybe they were getting into more than they had bargained for. Maybe this wouldn't be just such a polite meeting. And so at the very last meeting, they asked our Center for Studies of the Person, would we come and be facilitators? They didn't have money enough for more than our expenses but they would like very much for us to facilitate the conference. We said, "yes, we would do that."

When the consumers threatened to leave, I guess I was as eloquent as I ever have been. I took the stage and I said, "Look! You've heard rumors that there is a group from the west coast that's going to make a lot of money on this conference as consultants. I'm with that group and I want you to know we are here for no fee and we're here for just one reason and that is that we want every single person here to be heard. We want every one of you to have a chance to speak up and give your opinions and your feelings and your judgments and we want to hear what you have to say and I wish you would stay long enough to make sure that that's the case." So, they skeptically and suspiciously remained and we broke up into groups of about 20-25 with one of our staff members a facilitator for each group.

I certainly remember the group that I was in. There was one black ex-Marine who was very bitter about the treatment he'd had from health agencies. He said, "The Marines trained me how to kill and if necessary I can use those skills against my oppressors."

There was a black woman with very little education who had a terrible history of mistreatment at the hands of agencies and health services. She was extremely suspicious of all of us, suspicious of our motives. She wanted to know what was I getting out of this? Why was I here? She didn't believe for a moment that I was there just for what I said I was there for. The tensions were very great. Some of the professional people were shocked and frightened by the anger that poured out of these people about their poor health service, the fact that they have no voice in the health service they were getting. They didn't participate in any of the decisions, they didn't like the people that they worked with, and they were very vocal in saying so. Other professionals were kind of self-righteously angry at them, feeling well we aren't that bad.

As the group went on, there was a slow growth of understanding. One of the women in our group just hated health insurance companies. She had some very bad experiences with them and yet she gradually came to admit that the health insurance executive who was in our group wasn't all bad. He seemed to be quite a human being

and so it went. They began to understand each other better.

Finally one social worker told a really poignant story. She had decided to see for herself what health agencies were like so she made up a cover story that she was an unemployed woman in need of health care and she went to various social agencies and she was so shocked by the treatment she received that she was completely disillusioned about her own profession, her own career and she told that story. She never told it to anyone else before but here she felt that she could.

In general all the conflicts erupted and were quite openly expressed between the have's and have-nots, between the professionals and nonprofessionals, between the blacks and the whites and so on. But with the facilitators present, these feelings were understood and clarified and sharpened so that the issues became more clear and what happened was what I think always happens. Some of the more irrational feelings were diffused by being expressed and by feedback from the group. Some people I know have criticized that because they say, "well, if a facilitator is present you really are diffusing the anger which sparks the revolution." That's not been my experience and it wasn't the experience of this group.

The consumers had never known each other, never had any contact with each other but at this conference they got together in the evenings and odd hours and they began to draft resolutions that they hoped the National Health Council would pass. They were told, "No, the National Health Council is simply a forum for discussion. It is not a place where we pass resolutions. We have a policy against that." Well, they went right ahead drafting their resolutions and showing them to the different groups and correcting and amending and changing them.

The last meeting of the conference we were scheduled to have several speakers who would summarize the conference. So, the whole hall was filled and one of the consumers got up and moved that the speakers be thanked and dismissed and the afternoon be spent working on the resolutions. And then there was a very heated debate about that - pros and cons - and it finally passed by a considerable majority. So, the speakers were thanked and dismissed and the conference took up the resolutions one by one with a lot of heated discussion about each one, most of them are passed and the amazing thing was that as I checked on that in the year following, many of those resolutions were put into effect.

I want to draw some general conclusions about these three groups but I think I'll speak briefly about the group from Belfast. Pat Rice and Bill McGaw did a beautiful job of selecting a group of nine people from Belfast. The group included militant Protestants, militant Catholics, men, women, older people, younger people, one English retired army colonel. There were nine people, five Protestants and four Catholics with the facilitators.

The group at first was full of horror stories and full of deep antagonism toward the other side. Tom's sister had been blown to bits by a bomb and they didn't even know which side had thrown the bomb. Dennis and his family would have to put mattresses against their walls and hide behind them whenever the shooting fray in their street and the bullets were coming through the wall. One of the men had helped pick up bodies of the torn and bleeding victims of the bomb explosion. And there was a lot of bitter feelings.

Gilda was a young attractive woman, Protestant, and she said, "I suppose you'll think this is wrong but if an IRA man was lying wounded on the sidewalk in front of me, I'd step on him. I feel he's someone who's killing innocent people." So, that's an example of the bitterness that was expressed and some of the hostility. But gradually again, although we only had sixteen hours and those sixteen hours were filled, the attitudes began to shift. The best indication of that is that there were a couple of people from Belfast who were there as sort of monitors to listen to the exchanges and they said some of the things that were said must be deleted from the film because Catholics had said such friendly things to Protestants and vice versa, that probably the speakers would be shot if the film was shown in Belfast.

One of the most touching things was between Dennis, who was a Protestant fireman, and Becky, who was a Catholic mother with adolescent sons. Becky had told how her sons had been brutally treated by English army patrols and she was sure that they would simply grow up to be IRA men. Well, she didn't want them to be murderers themselves. But Dennis and Becky had a little talk together and Becky said, "I found a real friend and I feel he really understands me," and Dennis said, "That's absolutely true."

Then there was Don who was really a fascinating person, very soft, sensitive, kindly natured and yet he said that inside of him there were feelings of a raging beast, that he had to draw a steel shutter between his functioning self and his real emotional self because "those feelings," he said, "are so wild and strong and daft" that he didn't dare let them out. He said, "Once in a while I go for a walk and I let out this beast in myself for a time but I have to put it back. I would just go berserk if I let those feelings take over in me."

It was a group that was charged with emotion but they did move a long ways toward reconciliation. They came to understand one another and when they went back to Belfast, we got no money for follow-up work or anything of that sort, but they got together in teams of two, one Protestant and one Catholic and they'd take the film out to show it to church groups or other groups and lead discussions tending toward reconciliation. That they were effective and that the film was effective is shown by the fact that four copies of that film were stolen and destroyed by a pair of military groups, some Protestant and some Catholic. The militants did not want that film shown because it indicated that you could dialogue across the lines and you could get together.

It seems to me that if the facilitators can create an acceptant, understanding climate, that leads to much more open expression of feelings, when feelings are openly expressed, real communication begins. People can actually talk to each other at a deeper than superficial level and when communication goes to a certain point, they develop an understanding. They really begin to understand the other person and his/her point of view so that it's not as easy to maintain that this is the enemy and you don't have any traffic with them. Understanding tends to dilute or wash away the tensions that also leads to positive action and I think all of those are illustrated in the experience of the Belfast group.

Then I want to speak very briefly about one other group. You might say that, well these are just small groups, they don't have any general social impact, but certainly this kind of thing that I'm talking about wouldn't possibly work in a situation of international tensions. In the first place, I would argue that groups of this sort could work even say in a place like Belfast. Obviously that group didn't make any significant impact on the chaos and the killings in Belfast, the bombings, but as one Belfast man said, "If there had been a group like that on every block in the city, that could have made a difference," and I think it could have. We have the personnel who could be facilitators. It would be entirely possible to blanket Belfast with encounter groups in which Protestants and Catholics learn to communicate and it would cost only a fraction of what the British occupation has cost, for example.

But to turn to the international situation, I want to mention Camp David. I think that there are many differences between the Camp David experience and the groups I've been talking about but there are many similarities and I'd like to mention those. First of all, it is very important that the group was informal. People dressed as they pleased. They ate together at meals, except for Sadat who preferred to eat in his own cabin. There was complete informality. _____ Dion tells one story which illustrates how informal it was. The president had asked him to look into some material and write a statement for him and he said, "I'd like that statement whenever it's finished, even if you finish in the middle of the night." Dion did finish it in the middle of the night and there was no phone in his cabin so he went outside to look for a phone and he saw a barefooted woman sitting on the steps of a nearby cottage and went over to her and asked, "Do you know where I can find a phone?" And she said, "yes, come with me." They went some distance to a cabin and went inside, turned on the light and found it was Roslyn Carter and he apologized very deeply for having disturbed her and she said, "No, you're lucky you found me because I don't think the operator would put have put you through to the President at this hour but I can."


It's that kind of informality that is so sharply different from the usual diplomatic protocol. The second thing was that it was held in a retreat setting. I think for real dialogue to take place between feuding groups it is necessary to get them away from their work setting, from their home setting and again it makes it easier to provide this equality that I mentioned before. They're equal in that situation.

And the third thing was the facilitation by President Carter. He was a persuader at times but he also was a facilitator in a great many ways. Dion tells how in one really hostile meeting between Sadat and Begin, Carter said very little but he took a number of notes and then they finished. He read over to them the issues that they'd raised and the stand that each one of them had taken. That was a good facilitative move because while they had been shouting at each other, he read the issues in a calm voice and clarified the issues and clarified the stands they had taken on them. It would have helped a great deal toward a meeting of minds. When the two principals, Sadat and Begin, would not meet with each other, Carter acted as a messenger back and forth so that communication was not cut off entirely but it did continue.

Little by little the leaders came to respect each other and to understand each other even though for days they didn't meet directly. They were defensive at first, very defensive, but gradually that dropped away to some extent. Sadat said that Begin didn't want peace, he just wanted land and Begin flatly denied that, of course. There were that kind of arguments that went on but more and more they spoke from the heart, especially Sadat. There were threats that they would break off the talks. Sadat once had all his bags packed to go and his staff ready to go and one time when they threatened to go, Carter blocked the door and begged him not to go. So, yet, he had quite a job as facilitator.

On the 12th day there was a real breakthrough in communication and I think came to the major agreement and on the 13th day they embraced at Camp David and they embraced again on public television. At first they signed the Camp David Agreement which has been so potent ever since. So, this facilitative communication was a very important part of the Camp David experience.

A fourth factor which was important was that it was self-contained. There were no t.v. cameras and no media people present. There was no point to making a show of one's self for the public so little by little they spoke more and more generally of what they really felt and thought. Also in that atmosphere they can change their minds without being rebuked by the press or without claims that they were being wishy washy and so on.

Then the fifth element was what I think of as the pressure cooker aspect of an intensive workshop. There gets to be a build up of tension when people are together for thirteen days as they were, even though they weren't always face-to-face. They knew there was an important purpose to be served so that there was a lot of psychological pressure that brought them together. That's true in workshops of the sort that I mentioned before.

The final thing - they were able to speak with authority. It is much more difficult to bring feuding groups together when you're dealing with representatives who have to report back to their constituencies. A person can speak a party line and be held to that by his superiors and then there's no real way of bringing about real communication. But both of these men had authority so they could speak with authority and when they spoke to themselves, they spoke with authority and that made the coming together so much simpler.

Well, let me conclude my remarks. I'll say one more thing about Camp David. I feel that it was a real forward step in international diplomacy. There had been nothing like that, certainly not in my lifetime, between international leaders. I think it was a model for diplomacy that could be refined, could be improved. I think President Carter made several mistakes. It would have been better if all the staffs had been included, a lot of things that might have been done better, but nevertheless it represents a model to be used and improved on in international diplomacy.

What can we conclude from all this? I think that if hostile groups are willing to meet together in the same room so that they can talk at each other even if not to each other; and if there are one or more skilled facilitators present to meet with the group; and if the facilitator has no desire to control the outcome of the group, his purpose is simply to understand and enhance communication; if a respectful hearing is given to the feelings and the thoughts and opinions of each person and each is equally respected; and if the facilitator is able to clarify as well as accept the feelings and the issues, then a process is set in motion with these characteristics.

Long suppressed feelings are going to pour out. If one person pours out his feelings, that encourages others and you get many feelings poured out and most of these feelings are negative or hostile, angry, discouraged feelings. But finding these feelings accepted, the members begin to explore the whole range of their feelings and that is some positive feelings as well as negative. Then the irrational feelings are somewhat diffused by being clarified. Once they are clarified the person sees that they're somewhat irrational. Also members of the group are apt to call attention to the fact that really that's not in any way reasonable what you've been saying. But common feelings held by the group as a whole tend to be strengthened and enhanced and confidence grows both in the individual and in the group. Trust begins to develop. There is more realistic consideration of the clarified issues that have been developed in the session. By trusting each other more, there are fewer ego trips. It's when you don't have much trust in the group that you want to show off or take credit for what's going on but as people trust each other, that becomes less necessary. And the group moves toward innovative, responsible, creative and often revolutionary steps can now be taken in an atmosphere of realism. So constructive action is taken by the group and by the individuals in the group.

As far as individuals are concerned, they feel sufficient support from the group, that they are able to take actions which involve real risk to themselves. So you get a very constructive outcome, beginning with groups that are hostile to each other, becoming groups that can take action together and can take constructive action toward solid goals. So, what I'm saying is that we have a pilot model which deserves to be tested and improved and tried out on larger scales.

I have a dream that I would like to see a workshop for international diplomats, for example. I thought a while ago that that might be in the offing but the plan fell through. But still I keep hoping for that. I think it would be important to train people having to do with international affairs, people in multinational corporations, people in embassies, people in diplomats, train them as facilitators so that they could begin to be facilitative between the country they represent and the nation they are visiting.

In groups of that sort, just as at Camp David, both experiential and cognitive learning would go on and that, I think, would be important for the solution for many of our international problems. In my estimation groups like this extended to influential people could find a pathway toward peace and could be a step in the resolution of the tensions which are so deep and so damaging to our world. As it is now, it seems that our country handles international or tensions between groups by arming both sides. We are very willing to sell military gear to both sides of the conflict, making lots of money on the short run but in the long run making the conflicts worse, more deadly, more destructive, more endangering to us and I feel that a little sanity would suggest that we might try to substitute dialogue for arms in solving international tensions.

Okay I think that's all I have to say.