Unesco 15 novembre 2016
Mr. Damien Kattar*
Host: I’d like to ask Mr. Damien Kattar to take the floor, he has doctorate in strategic planning and he was former minister of finance and economics in Lebanon. Now he’s the strategic consultant of the gulf countries and he’s a friend of the political movement for unity too. Please take the floor.
Mr. Kattar: Good afternoon, I don’t know why they left me till the end, maybe because you’ll [be] very tired. I tried to lobby coffee for you but the security couldn’t accept to cut it in. if this conference was in Lebanon you will all have a good Lebanese coffee. (applause)
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I am so honored and privileged to address this audience tonight, especially from the united nation space. 40 years ago, I learned about the peace building during the civil war in Lebanon in the Focolare movement in an event in the summer called Mariapoli. On one hand the Malaysia was training young people about fighting and on the other hand the Focolare Movement was courageous enough to tell the people that they could love each other. Did it stop the war, definitely not, but it created a hope, a channel of hope that the peace is feasible. 20 years ago, Chiara Lubich was decorated as a symbol of this hope one more time, 20 years later, is the world better? Definitely not, but the movement is bigger, the movement is better and the ideas are greater day after day and I feel proud to be part of this event today.
The problem of politics and economy like my friend Ambassador Pascuale today said, it’s interlinked in my opinion is very confusing , in Russia, who dominates what? Political denominates economy or vise versa? In America, recently, in the recent politics and the recent election. In France, here, who’s controlling what? It’s becoming so confusing for us. So I went back to the concept of Political Economy called sharing power between 3 dimensions: The state, the society and the markets. In mid 90’s young enough we were, my generation very excited and happy about the freedom momentum in Europe and the rebuilding of economies and democracies in Latin America. We were so proud we believed, maybe naïve enough that the peace is coming, the famous eternal peace is coming and democracy will be everywhere and the embedded power of finance, the embedded power of lobbyist will be cooling down. But as a matter of fact, coming from the middle east we can notice that it’s totally different. So what’s going on basically? In our opinion, it’s no more power sharing it’s power shifting. The states are becoming weaker and the society is becoming more desperate, and the markets had the shift of power of the last 20 years. Thanks to the greed these markets collapsed.
The problem we are living everyday is the state is dominated by election and the market is dominated by greed. What dominates society? Unfortunately, fear. So our debate tonight and in the future I hope is can we really rebuild the hope, the channel of hopes within society not for a new revolution. You know people exist on the network to exist, but they don’t have substance on the network. And I was very happy with the performances this afternoon and you can allow me to give another applaud to the audience performance that happened this afternoon before lunch about this disconnection, although everybody is communicating. Everybody is linked but we have total disconnection.
If we want to enter into the educational mood, you have heard a lot about education, I will not extrapolate about education but I will make only 2 concepts, one from experience, and one as a future thinking. You know when the prime minister Lopez spoke about the third pillar that we have to believe we are all minorities. Trust me, this is what is Lebanon 100 years ago. We are all minorities. And we have always fought in order to build consensus and inclusive process for all these minority. So the first educational momentum should be minor doesn’t need fear, minority means dialogue. And if we can build capabilities in minorities to get this little number into huge connection then we can definitely make an educational difference and the tool for that is mediation. We have suffered in Lebanon recently for 2 and ha years of vacancy at the presidency level but at the end we get it because all the minorities believed that it’s time for a consensus and mediation effort lead to a certain result and after day after day people are worried about one thing which is the cost of conflict. We don’t educate enough our youth about the cost of conflicts. So if we build on mediation. If we get people aware about the cost of conflicts, definitely we’re getting into the 3rd momentum which is the inclusive part.
It’s impossible to say to a young woman or a young man , “come, I wanted to build peace” , there are indifferent arena, there are indifferent worries , there are indifferent fears. Everywhere around the globe we travel and we debate the fear among youth is about the uncertainty, and the uncertainty for someone is opportunity and for other people is a disaster. Can we educate people about the uncertainty in politics and economy could be an opportunity when we reach a dialogue level , when we reach an exchange level? Is it feasible? You know we live in a world, I never heard the word today of risk at all. As if risk, is something that doesn’t exist in our world, or in reality if you want to interact politics and economy, the first word that would emerge is risk. And because you want to engage in an educational process to build peace, definitely you are entering into very dangerous waters and risk would be then a major element. And how would you define risk in a world of love, in the world you unity , in the world of peace, what’s the risk? And the most critical element is that when we tackle decision makers, they have a different notion about risk than analyst of risk. The analyst of risk work about evidence, work about facts, while the decision makers are invited to take this analysis into values and then make a decision.
Unfortunately, the majority of politicians today and economists are only based on facts, based on evidence and rarely on values. So if I want to element the conclude the educational momentum by the importance of the dialogue and mediation and with the importance of clarifying and enhancing the cost of conflict, we land into the area of risk analysis to drive more and more the elements of values more than only evidence and facts. My village in Lebanon is a small minority Christian who’s 3 streets , one axes comes from a minority Muslim called “Druze”, one axes comes from a minority Muslim called “Sunni”, and one axes is from a third minority called “Shia”, the 3 of them are Muslim religion. And you know during the civil war, we thought we had to fight to stay. And my grandfather said, no, no,no,no,no you have to negotiate to stay. You need to prove to people that you are not on a fear momentum. That you are open to dialogue, that the difference between these 4 party have nothing to do with your own values and your own existence. And it’s only the permanent negotiation that will lead into that process and the politician of this region at that time communicated with the Vatican and they received a special envoy and the special envoy when he landed in our city, they asked him, “Where is your tanks and where is your arms?” and he smiled by saying, “We have the strength of faith and the capability to dialogue”. And we survived over the whole civil war without getting into the conflict itself.
So if I need to conclude according to the organizers about the time constraint. I like to conclude with a positive note to be able to gather more than 400 people from all around the globe, around a celebration, it means that we can gather 10 times, and hundred times and thousand times about connection, about connection about peace. And if we want to make a paradigm shift, today I was full with the cognitive power of the idea under the slogan of reinventing peace but the social components who wants to build the peace are totally different. Lebanon alone have 18 socio-cultural unity. In Syria you go for around 20, in Iraq, more, in Libya, in Yemen, in every part of the Arab world you have all the socio-cultural. You have to code and decode this peace for them all the time. Coded with mediation and cost and decoded with interactive participative inclusive behavior. If we can decode and code all the time then probably 20 years from now, we will be celebrating the impact of this event on the world, the real impact. So maybe I can propose another word than reinventing peace for the 20 years to come as reengineering peace.
Thank you very much!
* former Minister of Finance and Economy of Lebanon