Last night much enjoyed watching James Demo’s documentary THE PEACEMAKER — & would like to recommend it heartily to the readers of this blog. If in NY don’t miss it — it will run for another 4 days. If elsewhere check here if/when it comes to your hood.
The film follows international peacemaker Padraig O’Malley (present at the New York showing and an engaging man to question after the screening), who helps make peace for others but struggles to find it for himself. The film takes us from Padraig’s isolated life in Cambridge, Massachusetts to some of the most dangerous crisis zones on Earth – from Northern Ireland to Kosovo, Nigeria to Iraq over five years – as he works a peacemaking model based on his recovery from addiction to alcohol, & first experimented with in the mid-seventies when he (Irish by origin) got the idea of bringing together the warring factions of Northern Ireland in the US with the basic proposition that if they talked to each other they could start solving their conflict. The takeaway from his technique, as Nicole Peyrafitte pointed out as we discussed the film afterward, is that Padraig gets the people around the table to talk about what it is they have in common — & it is in the realization of what they do share that conflict resolution begins. It worked at that time, but — & O’Malley is lucid about this — it isn’t a panacea that can be repeated at will, as his take on the Israel-Palestine conflict (to which he tried to apply the same techniques) shows when he titles his book on that conflict The Two-State Delusion.
In the documentary we meet Padraig in the third act of his life in a race against time to find some kind of salvation for both the world and himself. It is refreshing to hear this clear-headed man assess the conflicts in our world without illusions, without bewilderment of any sort. World diplomacy may indeed be much more effective if considered and implemented as an AA meeting where everyone fesses up to their own addiction — & thus to the world’s addiction to greed and violence.
New York, NY, USA