TOLERANZTAG 20052005 Salzburg, 15 August, 15 August, 20052005 Giandomenico Picco Picco Chairman andand CEO, CEO, GDP GDP Associates, Inc. Inc. Dankesworte für für die die Verleihung des des Toleranzpreises 20052005 I wish I wish at first at first to express to express my my sincere sincere gratitude to the to the Academy for for such such an award. an award. There There are are surely surely so many so many persons persons who who would would have have deserve deserve this this award award andand are are more more meritorious than than myself. myself. Ladies Ladies andand gentlemen, In the In the professional journey journey that that took took me me through through the the valleys valleys of Afghanistan of Afghanistan andand war, war, the the alleys alleys of Beirut of Beirut thorn thorn apart apart by civil by civil strife, strife, the the cities cities of Baghdad of Baghdad andand Tehran Tehran durduringing their their 8 year 8 year conflict conflict I felt I felt I was I was constantly accompanied by an by unbearable an unbearable prespresence.ence. It took It took me me some some time time to figure to figure it out. it out. The The unbearable companion was was “the “the enemy”. enemy”. The The center center of life of life itself, itself, it seemed it seemed to me to me was was the the very very concept concept of enemy. of enemy. None None of my of my interlocutors would would have have imagined a world a world without without enemy. enemy. Few Few would would have have even even dared dared meet meet with with the the enemy. enemy. Why Why I asked I asked myself? myself? What What was was so powerful so powerful andand appealappealinging about about the the enemy enemy that that we we cannot cannot live live without without it? it? In fact In fact the the enemy enemy seems seems to be to the be the measure measure of many of many leaders: leaders: it led it led me me to wonder to wonder whether whether they they could could ever ever lead lead without without an enemy. an enemy. National National narratives, local local narratives, seem seem to be to impregnated be impregnated with with the the denomination of the of the “other”. “other”. Narratives understood as being as being the the pictures, pictures, the the emotions, the the prejuprejudicesdices as they as they have have being being passed passed down down from from generation to generation to generation andand indeed indeed the the presentation of reality of reality as it as emerges it emerges through through the the local local media, media, the the narratives are are full full of conflictuality of conflictuality indeed indeed full full of justifications of justifications for for it. it. Some Some 15 15 years years ago ago during during one one of my of my unorthodox conversation with with a Lebanese a Lebanese Hezbollah fighter. fighter. I had I had been been blindfolded andand taken taken away away during during the the night night by car by car to to an unknown an unknown destination. I asked I asked him him if, provided if, provided that that would would have have released released me, me, he he would would meet meet with with an Israeli. an Israeli. Though Though meeting meeting with with the the enemy enemy did did not not seem seem to fit to the fit the realm realm of possibility; of possibility; perhaps perhaps I dared I dared say say if you if you meet meet him, him, it would it would not not look look like like an an enemy. enemy. But But much much has has changed changed since since that that time. time. While While my my masked masked interlocutor refused refused to to come come andand meet meet with with the the Israelis, Israelis, he was he was fully fully aware aware that that I was I was an unorthodox an unorthodox but but nevertheless an intermediary. an intermediary. In other In other words words negotiating with with the the enemy enemy through through me, me, was was not not rejected rejected at all, at all, actually actually it became it became quite quite normal. normal. This This in itself in itself was was a sign a sign of a of kind a kind of enmity of enmity which which is so is far so far apart apart from from what what we we see see today today as manifested as manifested by the by the actions actions andand behavior behavior of groups of groups of the of the so called so called Al Qaeda Al Qaeda type. type. These These groups groups would would find find inconceivable to negotiate to negotiate even even indirectly with with an an enemy. enemy. Even Even in the in the world world of terrorism of terrorism much much has has changed changed since since those those years. years. Indeed Indeed the the very very concept concept of enemy of enemy differs. differs. I will I will briefly briefly outline outline my my interpretation of terrorist of terrorist groups groups of the of the past past andand those those of the of the present. present. 1. 1. The The groups groups we we all came all came to know to know in Europe in Europe andand the the Middle Middle East East some some 30 30 andand 20 years 20 years ago ago can can be described be described as follows: as follows: a) They a) They had had a national a national andand local local root root andand were were embedded in a in defined a defined sosocialcial context; context; b) b) Their Their involvement in in the the local local society society made made them them somewhat stakeholders in a ingiven a given society. society. c) Their c) Their goal goal was was well well known, known, unchangeable, andand in some in some cases cases even even popoliticallylitically negotiable; d) They d) They were were not not opposed opposed to negotiations to negotiations with with the the enemy enemy even even if indi- if indirectly;rectly; e) They e) They were were very very careful careful in identifying in identifying the the enemy enemy as one as one (at (at most most two) two) categories; f) They f) They would would usually usually have have a dual a dual structure structure with with a political a political andand a military a military wing. wing. I called I called them them the the “tactical “tactical terrorists”.