MINELRES: Grassroots Good News: Peace Work in the Northern Caucasus

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.delfi.lv
Tue Nov 5 07:57:01 2002

Original sender: Burkhard Luber <luber@dieschwelle.de>

November 2002 Edition of the Grassroots Good News

Table of Contents:
1) Mediation gets ground in the Ukraine
2) Escaping Web Censorship
3) Pesticides-free Network in Bangladesh
4) International Bankwatch
5) Former US-Minister speaks out against War Preparations
6) Peace Work in the Northern Caucasus


6) Peace Work in the Northern Caucasus
(Editorīs note: This article has been drafted for the GGN one week
before the recent hostage tragedy in Moscow. I think its relevance
remains B.L.)

Inspite of the gloomy perspective of Chechynia, there are nevertheless
initiatives which run counter that mainstream of frustration. One of
them is the decade long peace work in the Northern Caucasus by Roswitha
Jarman, a Quaker, who is active in Chechnya, Northern Ossetia and
Ingushetia. The Northern Caucasus consists of a numer of small republics
which have some autonomous status within the Russian Federation. This
region suffered under mass deportation during the Stalin area,
artificial re-drawing of the borders and recently three wars, one
between Northern Ossetia and Ingushetia and two between Chechen
separatists and the Russian army.

Roswitha Jarman works with the NGO Denal-ARD ("Agency of Rehabilitation
and Development") which focus on both contries Chechynia and Ingushetia.
She assists in psycho-social rehabilitation for people in Chechynia
where the conflict structure between often lawless acting Russian
soldiers (some of them former prisoners trying to make a fortune in this
war and thus not interested to have it stopped soon) and separatist
fighters whose arsenal of fighting now more and more also comprises
criminal acts sums up to a gloomy situation of violence and cruelty of
the fighting sides and distrust and non-confidence on side of the
population. Roswitha refers in her recent travel report about a nine
year old boy refusing to go to school, arguing that it he sees no use to
go to school since he will be shot anyway either by the Russians or
Chechen fighters.

This is the frame of reference of Roswitha's work where she tries to
de-traumatice and counsell people so that they can find new hope and
personal strength, detect and apply old virtues and regain a situation
of self-trust and confidence-building with others. So people from the
ARD team have interacted very sensitively for a long time with this boy
mentioned above. He has learned writing and reading by now and shows
motivation to study medicine. In Ingushetia ARD-Denal works with young
men which due to their unemployment and no-future perspective are
especially prone for drugs or join criminal gangs. ARD offers for them
learning courses like computer work.

A second focus of Roswitha Jarman is to cooperate with the local NGO
"Vesta" which takes care for the refugees from the Prigorod area
(disputed region between Northern Ossetia and Ingushetia). Vesta's
current project is in Chermen, a small village close to the border to
Ingushetia. This village has been virtually tri-partite, in the South
and North corner Ingush people live and in the middle Ossetian people.
During the last ten years almost no interaction has existed between both
national groups including the education system where Ingush children go
to the Ingush school and Ossetian children go to the Ossetian school,
both schools of course having only "national correct" teachers on their
premises. The Ingush kids even take a school bus to bring them to the
other side of the village where "their" school is located.

To assist government plans to combine both schools into one integrated
school, Vesta and Roswitha have started talks with the Ingush and
Ossetian teachers at first separately. Both groups of teachers had a
complete disbelief that such a rapprochement would ever be possible or
successful. Then Vesta organized a joint children summer camp and last
September the first joint meeting of Ossetian and Ingush teachers took
place. For the Ingush it was the first time ever in the decade after the
war, that they entered the cultural center in the middle of the village.

So far the new re-integration initiative seems to run well. Both sides
of the Ingush and Ossetian teachersī teams now see a positive future
perspective of this project, they show interest for continuous meetings,
to speak with parents of both nationalities, to bring the children
together and even to re-think about how to overcome the mutual enemy

The story above is based on a personal report by her in mid October
about her last travelling to the area. More information about the region
where Roswitha work and about her activities here are on the web sites
of "Conciliation Ressources" (www.c-r.org) and of the "Transnational
Foundation for Peace and Future Research" (www.transnational.org)


Grassroots Good News come to you from The Threshold Foundation

Editor:                 Dr Burkhard Luber
Contact:                mailto:Luber@dieschwelle.de
English Website at      www.dieschwelle.de

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