“Both sides are motivated by fear, by anger, and by wrong perception. But wrong perceptions cannot be removed by guns and bombs. They should be removed by deep listening, compassionate listening, and loving space.
…. We should be able to say this: “Dear friends, dear people, I know that you suffer. I have not understood enough of your difficulties and suffering. It is not our intention to make you suffer more. It is the opposite. We don’t want you to suffer. But we don’t know what to do and we might do the wrong thing if you don’t help us to understand. So please tell us about your difficulties. I’m eager to learn, to understand.”
— Thich Nhat Hahn, on empathy and averting conflict
That sounds very pollyannaish, doesn’t it? But imagine if it worked.