Whose truth?

What do you do if you work with groups of people who tell you a completely different story about the same event? Do you choose one of them and decide that this one is telling you the truth while the rest are lying? How do you choose this one honest one? Because of his/her honest eyes? Because they were the ones you talked to first? Because they are socio-economically or culturally close to you? Becaues their story resonates with your view of the world?

Or can you live with the fact that there really are two (or more) different sides to the story? Can you truely embrace this notion and use the resulting tension to generate next steps that are acceptable for both sides?

Israeli and Palestinian teachers have found an inspiring way of dealing with the fact that the history of the Middle East conflict cannot easily be reduced into one common narrative. In their book “Learning Each Others Historical Narrative” each page has three columns: One for the Israeli point of view, one for the Palestinian one and one that is empty so that students can add their own notes.

I find this approach interesting, not only because students will be able to develop a more complete picture of this specific conflict – I think it’s even more important that it helps to develop the more general notion that your truth might not be the only one that’s true.

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