Mel Duncan: “Third Side” Interventions into the Heart of Deadly Conflict

Dear Subscribers,

I'm sure you are not all holding your breath waiting for my blog posts, but I try to send them weekly on Thursdays.  This week, I couldn't because the wonderful person who manages my website, Nakul Sachdeva, was affected by extreme violence in his home province in India. He lost internet, 50% of the city was burned and he says they are now set back many years.  Anyway, Nakul has surfaced and is OK, but it was an immediate reminder to me of what so many people in the world have to live with on a regular basis and motivating to keep this podcast moving forward.

The work reported on in this episode is so amazing. I  interview Mel Duncan, the Founding Director and Director of Advocacy and Outreach of Nonviolent Peace Force (NP) which provides unarmed civilian protection in the world’s most deadliest of conflicts. In this moving account of the power of “the third side”, Mel talks about those who put themselves in harms way, both nationals and internationals, in conflicts in S. Sudan, Colombia, the Philippines and elsewhere. Mel also talks about how 90% of current victims of current warfare are women and children.  Rape, for instance, has become a central strategy of most violent conflict today and NP has tremendous success in stopping further atrocities as Mel describes.  He reflects on the origins of NP, as well as his own life path to begin this work when first challenged by a Sufi teacher to “enter the heart of his enemy and work from a place of unity”. He was then further inspired to continue by his stay with Thich Nat Hahn at Plum Village in Southern France.

Mel's hope for this interview is to spark people's moral imagination that there are abundant alternatives to just meeting threats against civilians with more violence. My favorite quote goes to the heart of the need for all of us to take up our leadership: "I am a regular human being who has had an opportunity to work with a lot of other regular human beings and together we have been able to do extraordinary things and people listening to this podcast also have the ability to do extraordinary things with the gifts that they have."  Thank you Mel. 

Please listen to this podcast. I was moved to tears while doing the interview and I'm sure you will be too when you listen. Listen to this podcast stream or download it here, or listen in iTunes if you prefer.

Hope you enjoy and please tune in again this Thursday when Gabrielle Kluck and I talk about her tales of Ombudsing in UN Peacekeeping Missions in the Sudan region of Africa.

If you haven't already done so, I would be so grateful to you for reviewing the podcast on iTunes.

Cheers for now,

Gabrielle Kluck: Ombudsing in UN Peacekeeping in the Sudan Region

John Horgan: The End of War