Human Stories

If he would know NVC, maybe he wouldn’t choose to kill (Israel-Palestine)

I am back in the Netherlands after teaching 10 days NVC to a large group of 70 Israelis, Palestinians and Internationals.
Often people ask me- “Can NVC stop the violence? Can NVC solve the problems?”
Here is a story that demonstrates my approach to those questions.

During those 10 days training, I offered a session called ‘caressing my inner jackals’ (how to work with inner judgments toward oneself). After demonstrating the process, I invited the group to practice in small groups. A 25 years old Palestinian guy came to me and said- “I cannot do this exercise, there are too many emotions in me for doing this exercise”. And he left the room.
Few days later, the same guy approached me and said- “Yoram, I did the exercise! yesterday I spend the whole day caressing my inner jackal! This NVC strategy really works- First time in my life that my soul feels relaxed!!”.
I could see it in his body- in the days before I was seriously concerned about how ‘tense’ he seemed to be, he could not sit and rather was moving continuously in a very restless manner. I knew about some of his war traumas, so ‘relaxation’ was truly a new inner experience for him.
Then he shared with me one more thing, he said: “2 friends of mine are the ones who did the terrorist activity in Jerusalem 4 months ago (They entered a Jewish synagogue, shooting dead 4 people, injuring 7 more).” And he added: “One of them was an extremist, but the other was actually a very quiet guy. He was even in love with a Jewish girl. How sad… if he would know NVC, I am sure he would never do this act…”.
I felt sad with a wave of much compassion to his friend… And grateful to get such an intimate look into a terrorist’s mind.

My focus is not on ‘solving problems’ nor on stopping the violence. The mountain is much too high for me to move. When I am thinking in terms of ‘stopping the violence’ I soon feel discouraged with how little power I have in making a difference.
My only focus is on transforming the room I am in. When my focus is there, I see that miracles happen. The most meaningful miracles.