“If a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf decides to stop wearing it, I think she is a bad person and she does not deserve to be my girlfriend. If I knew her, I would intimidate her. Howrah Ibrahim Kandur, a Lebanese Muslim, explains.
He says his ideas grew up in a very religious family. Her father wanted her to befriend people like her, He also mentions that he carried those values with him in his adult life and as a high school English teacher.
Howrah was one of 150 participants in Lebanon Deep listening programCo-hosted by the British Council (UK’s public cultural body dedicated to the promotion of the English language and culture).
The goal was to learn connected skills Remorse, peace and suspension of judgment. A year later, Howrah was wondering how what she had learned helped open her mind.
“I learned to listen more, not to judge, but to try to understand and give others time to communicate the messages they want. Feedback To make sure I really understand what they want me to know.
What she sees now is her ex Sectarianism and intolerance Extended to What was different.
“I was against the Syrian refugees in Lebanon,” he says. “I thought the Syrians here did not care about their health and did not live a proper Lebanese life.”
However, today he works at the Syrian Refugee School on Tuesday afternoon. Despite the traumatic reaction of his family.
Every morning, Howrah meets Mayada, a refugee nurse from Syria, having her morning coffee. They first met when Mayada was taking care of Howrah’s mother, and now the two women are often at home with each other.
Says Howrah Her new relationships helped her to be more tolerant.
“In the past, I didn’t Communicate effectively I was listening to the media with those people, or playing a role in stigmatizing them, ”he explains.
“If we listen to each other, we will find that we have a lot in common: Human feelings that we share, ”he added.
However, Howrah’s friendship with Mayada did not prevent Howrah from having serious doubts about certain aspects of Mayada’s culture.
Mayada’s son is about to marry a 16 – year – old girl, which is not uncommon in the Syrian refugee community.
“I accept that this is your choice,” he responds. “By listening deeply, you understand who this person is Not your enemy Even if he behaves differently. “
Deep listening technique Used to deal with difficult conversations And make sure Both sides feel they have been heard. Indicates existence Real interest About the other person, with Great desire to understand it. About Connect Create another with the individual Hope. Here’s what you need to do to implement it:
Mohammed, a Lebanese humanitarian worker, said he did not know how to ask. Intervened in the negotiations The main part of your work.
“I was the person who always interrupted, the person who always knew what you were trying to say,” he says. “There he would start with assumptions and then try to verify them. Assumptions can be deadly. “
Shortly after completing his training, Mohammed traveled to Mosul, Iraq, to work with local authorities, voluntary organizations and UN agencies to develop a relief program for the city’s displaced people.
To succeed in his new role, Mohammed had to compromise with a large number of different groups Opposite views.
“Should IDPs be sent home? Want to try to integrate them into the city where they were? Will they accept living in the neighborhood with different tribes?
Mohammed clearly remembers the information he received before starting work. As his co-worker described his role and its needs, he began to feel I was thereBackground information you need, But it was not shared.
“Trust me, in the humanitarian field you need To understand personalities Everyone involved to effectively integrate. Who is a facilitator, who is spoiling the situation, who is preventing.
At that moment the memory of Muhammad came Listening training And importance Give space after someone has finished talking As a sign of respect and allow yourself to share more.
When a colleague finishes talking, Waited a full 20 seconds.
“In those 20 seconds I was able to gain a little bit of confidence and bonding with her,” he says. “After that place, our relationship changed and he shared with me his real experiences and his opinion about the main characters he needed to work with.”
Mohammed said three months later, it allowed him to understand how the city was functioning and to make great strides through plans for an integrated response.
However, there are times when Mohammed tries hard not to use him Ability to listen anew.
“In the field of aid, if you are really good, if you are in a personal conversation, take it upon yourself. Very deep emotional state You may not be ready, “he says.
Muhammad tells me about a conversation he had with a taxi driver who was flogged 18 times for driving a woman without a male companion, which was banned when the city was called the Islamic State.
“There is a dark side to deep listening”, Mohammed explains thoughtfully. “Now I know it’s not safe for me to have these conversations. I need power Separate me from the experience and suffering of others. Personally, I’m not ready yet. Master that emotional side. “
Meanwhile, for Howrah, how does he reconcile his new beliefs with those of his foster and fatherly values?
His father died a few years ago, but Howrah goes to his grave every Thursday. “I feel like he’s watching me from heaven, and I’m glad he’s happy and proud,” she says.
“The more we know people, the less we fear them. We have fewer prejudices. You may have found it All people are equal in their humanity. “
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