Dialogues: Encounters with the "Other Side"
by Turgut Durduran, Page 2

Analysis of Dialogue 1:

I based this dialogue on a series of e-mail exchanges between a Turkish Cypriot friend of mine and a Greek Cypriot student who met him over internet. After "Huseyin" mentioned me about this dialogue, I figured out that I knew "Giorgos" so I decided to ask both of them about what they felt during this exchanges. Apparently "Giorgos" was quite upset about this situation as he never understood why his friendly approach to "Huseyin" was answered back with such a negative approach by him. "Huseyin" on the other hand was really disturbed from the idea that Greek Cypriots were really like what he was told back in Cyprus, and that he probably was wrong in having a sympathy towards the pro-federation groups in Cyprus.

Looking at the dialogue , I can clearly say that we are seeing one of the most important obstacles in front of the communication between two communities - the problem of the "trigger" or "allergic" words. I have experienced many dialogues where both parties were more careful with their choice of the words and they ended up in a much better relationship. Here the mere usage of the word "occupation" by "Giorgos" pulled "Huseyin" into a reaction, and "Huseyin"'s usage of "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" led the dialogue into a flame- war.

Unfortunately, no doubt, all of us are facing the problem of attaching stereotypes to single words, and forming certain reactions against them. I prefer to call this "being allergic" to certain words and concepts. There is a lot of attention given to over come this problem in conflict resolution workshops, and in other medium of exchanges. Probably it would be best if a level of understanding is reached so that even the usage of these words, and mention of these concepts would not bother people, and they can still continue to have a logical and respectful dialogue. But until this understanding is reached, I believe, it is much better to develop a common terminology in this type of dialogues, and pay attention to the contents in general instead of specific wordings. Would not it be another brick lifted from the wall separating us if "Giorgos" and "Huseyin" did not fall into that trap and became friends?


         We heard that 
         One must love her homeland. 
         Your father and my father 
         say the same thing. 
         Now we are reaching our hands 
         in the divided homeland of ours 
         but they get stained with blood on barbed wire. 
         I am going to wait for you anyway 
         Tomorrow at the same time 
         to give you a carnation 
         on your birthday 
         but I won't be able to put it to your hair 
         I am going to throw it over the barbed wire 
         so that it won't smell blood 
         That flower that looks so much like our hearts. 
         You wrote in your most recent letter 
         that our homeland is divided 
         and you are asking me 
         Which part of it should we love first 
         Do not split your heart into pieces 
         Make it a free pigeon 
         that can go everywhere 
         A bird without a passport. 
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