Pain, passion and empathy – what I’ve learned about peacemaking – Tony Blair

“In foreword to new Alastair Campbell book, former PM ascribes his success as conflict mediator to empathy skills”

“In a conflict there is suffering of a nature and on a scale that we from the outside can scarcely appreciate, because it is not within our experience. Each side has a sense of pain and of cruel consequence from the other side’s actions. They need to know that those mediating get this feeling, not at a rational but at an empathetic level. In getting it, the mediator is then able to pass something of the pain of each side to the other. Especially where there has been violence over a prolonged period, and in conflict the violence often either falls or is even directed at the innocent, being able to articulate the sense of hurt and know that the other side has been forced at least to confront it, is a powerful way of opening up the dialogue that can lead to peace.” 

Tony Blair