As part of the Museum’s Why War? exhibition, Gabrielle Rifkind and Giandomenico Picco, the recent authors of The Fog of Peace: The Human Face of Conflict Resolution, will be in conversation with journalist, writer and broadcaster, John McCarthy.
In their thought provoking and important book, the authors of The Fog of Peace stress the importance of getting into the mind of the other, however difficult that is.
In 1991 former UN official Giandomenico Picco negotiated the release of John McCarthy and others held hostage by Hezbollah in Lebanon, allowing himself to be abducted from the streets of Beirut to meet with the leadership of the kidnappers in the process. In these encounters he had a deep commitment to understanding the human mind and what motivates it, and to asking questions as to why people behave in particular ways. He understood that behind every face there was a human story, indeed more than one, there was a life and there were hopes and aspirations, fears and anger, hatred and pain.
John McCarthy says of The Fog of Peace ‘”This remarkable and refreshing book offers an extremely practical new approach to finding a path through the fogs of war and peace. The authors argue that using the tool of empathy and getting into the mind of the enemy is not appeasement. This book is anything but soft and cuddly, it is based on a deep understanding of politics in its most brutal forms”.
The conversation will offer the opportunity to explore the difficulties and opportunities for making peace. In today’s fractured world.
Gabrielle Rifkind is the director of the Middle East programme at Oxford Research Group. She is a group analyst and specialist in conflict resolution immersed in the politics of the Middle East. Rifkind combines in-depth political and psychological expertise with many years’ experience in promoting serious analysis and discreet dialogues with groups behind the scenes.
Giandomenico Picco served as under-secretary general of the United Nations and was personal representative of the secretary general for the United Nation year of dialogue amongst civilisations. He led the task force negotiations to end the Iran-Iraq war and the freedom of Western hostages from Lebanon. Over decades he helped securing the freedom of over 100 individuals unjustly detained from 4 different countries.
John Patrick McCarthy CBE is a British journalist, writer and broadcaster, and one of the hostages in the Lebanon hostage crisis. McCarthy was Britain’s longest-held hostage in Lebanon, being held for more than five years.