Bombs can kill terrorists but dialogue can kill terrorism, said Andreu Claret, director of the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue Between Cultures.
The foundation presented its 2014 report during a parliamentary assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean in San Macuto.
Claret explained that the results of a survey into the perceptions of people in the 13 Euro-Mediterranean countries showed that there was no clash of cultures and that the values of the different peoples had a tendency to converge. However, the director went on, there are distortions in the way different people see each other, for example with regard to values like family, freedom of speech and freedom of association, while most people share these values. But people also show a strong will to talk about these issues. Claret pointed out that these tendencies clearly showed in the report, but that they were not reflected in politics. In the political arena people don't know each other, he said: "We are faced with a paradox: we see a reality on the television screen that does not match what we see around us. Jihadism and terrorism are not expressions of what people think in the Arab world. What appears on TV is the work of a few tens of thousands of radicals able to destroy countries like Syria or Iraq.
Most people disagree, two million Syrians have fled their country because they do not want war." Claret added that the Anna Lindh Foundation wanted to work with societies to create a meeting space: "There is clear desire for dialogue and exchange of views. We need to develop and respond to this need to isolate the terrorists." An important step will be made up in the coming days in Naples, where the foundation will celebrate its 10th anniversary from Oct. 27 to 29. Claret concluded: "On that occasion, we will try to launch a programme for the next few years on how to develop inter-cultural dialogue to counter radicalism in certain parts of the Mediterranean." .
Produced in association with AGI – Media Partner
The Anna Lindh Foundation is co-funded by the European Union and the 42 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the position of the EU or any UfM Member State.