Yesterday's lecture by Linor Goralik on "How to start a conversation about tolerance" was a huge success. The European University conference room at the European University was full and overflowing. The audience, judging by the warm reactions, was not disappointed with the choice of spending Friday evening in the company of the famous writer and poet.
In the half hour of the lecture, Linor Goralik touched upon very deep and complex topics, but her delivery and choice of examples were so well thought out that she was easily able to convey to the audience her thoughts and ideas.
Linor spoke about aggression, its forms and those functions that it performs in the society. According to her, we now live in a culture where aggression is acceptable, is perceived as bravado and a way to protect oneself and one's group. The situation with "QueerFest" and the challenges that it faces are a good illustration of this idea.
The poet noted in the beginning that she would talk about the things familiar to her, based solely on her personal experience. Working for a long time with different children, she has developed different ways to build dialogue with them, what topics to raise, and what to focus on. She has not offered any universal methods of how to talk to children about tolerance, but outlined a certain scheme that can be used as a basis for such conversations. She noted that before the beginning of the conversation, it is important to keep in mind the socio-cultural context of the discussion, i.e. to account for where, when and with whom the dialogue is conducted.
The most important point in talking about tolerance is that all people have both "positive" and "negative" sides, strengths and weaknesses. To be tolerant does not mean to never experience aggression or hostility. To be tolerant means being able to understand the reasons for these feelings, and, realizing them, to learn to control oneself, one's thoughts and actions. Thus, it becomes important to ask why this or that group causes a feeling of anger, and how it is marked as an object of aggression. It's these questions that Linor Goralik suggests to raise in conversation with children, in an interesting and entertaining form. It's these questions should should also be pondered by adults.
"QueerFest" thanks the European University for providing the venue for this important event.