Poem: Getting To Know Dialogue

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Getting to Know Dialogue
By Chris Spies

Dialogue is her last name. She has many first names. Depending on the context people call her Political, others Environmental, Gender, Development or whatever they choose.

Dialogue lives in “Uncomfortable Safe Spaces” in families, communities, regions, countries; in offices, board rooms, organisations, governments and wherever people seek her.

Dialogue is very different from her distant trouble making cousins Debate, Negotiation, Consultations and Speeches, and is frustrated when people confuse her with them.

Dialogue is very close friends with Mediation, who always says that she needs Dialogue, but Dialogue does not need her.

Dialogue can work wonders, but she cannot solve every problem.

Dialogue does not have security guards, weapons or shields, because in safe spaces there is no need for anybody to attack others or defend themselves.

Dialogue is not afraid to boldly speak and seek the truth. Neither is she afraid to hear and discuss uncomfortable issues.

Dialogue does not care so much about who is right, but about what the future asks of us.

Dialogue is not afraid of differences. She encourages and invites them.

Dialogue does not seek to win arguments. She seeks information to understand better.

Dialogue does not hold on to “my” idea, because she cares more about “our” ideas and purposes.

Dialogue is not interested in blaming or shaming. She is not jealous of others, seeks no credit and does not take offense.

Dialogue does not exclude anyone, especially not the differently abled people.

Dialogue is a player on the field, not a spectator that criticises from the sidelines.

Dialogue does not like centre stages, pedestals and podiums. She is most happy when people sit in a circle as equals.

Dialogue always opens her windows for ventilation, fresh ideas and perspectives.

Dialogue does not hide or sweep anything under the carpet.

Dialogue sees the elephant in the room and encourages everyone to say which part of the elephant they recognise.

Dialogue likes to invite only a few people because then the discussions are deeper and more open.

Dialogue has big ears and a small mouth, not the other way around, and her feet are firmly on the ground.

Dialogue does not wear a T-shirt with slogans but a blanket to cover others who are cold because they were prevented by others to enter.

Dialogue, unlike Debate who tires people out, loves to inspire and energise others.

Dialogue is tough and hates it when people calls her a “soft option”.

Dialogue is not an event. She is a process that will never end.

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