‘How Empathy can end Conflict’

I have learnt so much from this ­challenging dialogue and continue to do so. I have learnt about my capacity for violence and for non-violence. I am learning to give up blame and choose empathy.

On October 12th 1984 my father, Sir Anthony Berry and 4 others were killed in the bombing of the Grand Hotel, Brighton as they attended the Conservative Party Conference. I made a personal decision just two days later, to bring something positive out of this emotionally shattering trauma and to try and understand those who had killed him. I chose to give up blame and revenge, instead taking responsibility for my pain and feelings, transforming them into passion for peace. The journey of healing began with my intention and I trusted that life would then bring me the opportunities to heal and grow. Two months later I randomly shared a taxi with a young Irish man whose brother had been in the IRA and had been killed by a British soldier. We should have been enemies but instead we talked about a world where peace was possible and where there were no enemies. As I left the taxi, I had a flash of inspiration, this was one way I could make a difference, and I could build a bridge across the divide.

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