Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The White Page Truce

Dale Carnegie says in his book "How to Win Friends & Influence People" :
"You can tell people they are wrong by a look or an intonation or a gesture just as eloquently as you can in words -- and if you tell them they are wrong, do you make them want to agree with you? Never! For you have struck a direct blow at their intelligence, judgment, pride and self-respect. That will make them want to strike back. But it will never make them want to change their minds. You may then hurl at them all the logic of Plato or an Immanual Kant, but you will never alter their opinions, for you have hurt their feelings."

We could all learn from these words to improve our daily life, couldn't we?

Lt. Col. Tim Ryan, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment from Fort Hood, Texas, took control of the Abu Ghraib district in March -- just the name "Abu Ghraib" brings all kinds of bad memories to most of us.
When Ryan arrived, the American troops were attacked daily by insurgents. Ryan first thought he could offer money for improvement projects and the situation would get better. Well, it didn't. The insurgents continued their attacks and many American soldiers died.

One day while in a meeting with the district council members, Ryan again offered money for a reconstruction project. An Iraqi guy said to him:
"We don't want your money, we want your respect."

That's what they needed: NOT money but respect. Respect of their culture and tribal leaders.

Ryan chose to listen to the local people. He wanted to know what they really wanted. He went so far as to tell the Abu Ghraib sheiks that both sides had made mistakes. His understanding made everything different. After many friendly -- maybe not so friendly -- discussions they agreed on responsibilities and rights of both sides, which became known as "The White Page Truce." The name came from the Arabic phrase "Let's start a new white page."

Ryan's method was so successful in bringing peace to this district that the Higher Headquarters sent people to study his method. Well done Ryan.

Now, how hard was it?

Arabic Word of The Post:

truce : هدنة - / hud-na /

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