2015 Memories - A Kind of a DDI Newsletter - Part 7

Participant reflections on Round Table public event

Spain - central and marginal identities

DDI Intensive October 2015:  Power, love, war and miracles in Barcelona Spain 

150+ people attended the evening Round Table in the center of Barcelona, a free public event hosted by the global Deep Democracy Institute and local DDI team in Spain. The purpose: To come together, to learn about and engage with the complex issues here in Spain/Catalonia/Basque involving multiple stakeholders and perspectives.

First, panelists shared informative and moving perspectives representing various positions and tensions - the independence of Catalonia, the unity of Spain and the view from the EU as a platform for unification of Europe. We witnessed deep feelings of pride, of pain and sorrow from the wounds of history. 

After the presentations, in the questions and discussion space, the generosity of local people enabled us to learn, witness and feel into centuries of conflict the belief in another way, hope for a better, more related and diversity-friendly world. At one point, a woman shared personally the weight of unacknowledged pain from civil war that the world turned a blind eye to. Then a woman from a European country stepped forward and addressed her directly, acknowledging the personal and collective sorrow and pain caused, and owning it as a European. 

Over morning tea the next day, Xenia, facilitator and filmmaker, Roman leadership coach and facilitator, and Alexei, a psychologist discussed the impact of the Round table on them as Russians: 

Xenia:  People were discussing different points of view and being very generous to each other, listening to each other, offering each other space to speak. I am shocked in a good way. For me as a Russian I am not used to discussions like that. 

Alexei: We three felt a hesitation to speak up, and we felt this has something to do with our Russian identity. We tend to blame the government for manipulating how we think. Sometimes we feel we are in a hopeless mess. And even in the forum, part of me was thinking: ‘It is a mess, it is impossible to make changes’. We interiorize this style by censoring our own thinking and speaking without even realizing it, in our conversations and relationships even here!

Xenia: In our tradition we have ‘kitchen talks’. In a kitchen talk you speak and gossip in the kitchen to make meaning, rather than openly in the society. 

Roman: I felt good in this group of people talking openly with each other. I wanted to speak in that atmosphere, but feeling my Russian-ness in that moment, it was difficult for me to express my thoughts and feelings publicly. In Russia these days we have many discussions about whether Russia is part of Europe or not. The Round Table opened my eyes to another way of communicating within a society, and I am inspired to bring this back to my country. 

Arita from Latvia described a moment at the Round Table that had a powerful impact on her: 

One of the panel members said, ‘I am an earth citizen. I am happy as I am’. That exploded in my head. I suddenly saw and understood and felt how every human being needs to have a place for our identity to be expressed, to be seen and known. For some it is country, for some language, for others something else. I realized that by respecting the other person’s right to a self-defined identity, you empower the person to fly, to become more of a human being.

Friday, 18. December 2015

Add Comment

Comment Title:
Your Name:
Email Address:
Make Public?
Make Public?
Phone number:



please type the content of the above image into the following form-field: