Communicating Around Barriers

Carolyn Stephenson

Professor of Population Studies, College of Social Sciences, University of Hawai'i

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

A: This is a pattern that goes on and on and it's a major problem I think generally for Track II action because it is always subject to governmental approval. Now there are ways you can do it by moving out of the country, but even then you still have to get passports, and passes, and so forth in order to get out and be able to get back in.

Q: Is there a solution? How do you deal with that problem?

A: Well, e-mail has made some difference. Many of the groups that had been working together before 1997 in Cyprus had begun to work together by e-mail. That's not always reliable. There also was a UN telephone line that you actually could us to call across. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't work. Sometimes we thought it was listened in to, sometimes we thought it wasn't listened in to. One has to be very careful with that, but that helps some, all the various alternative methods. Then there's one town in Cyprus where people are allowed to go from both sides.

The one problem is that it has also been seen as a smuggling town so people are reluctant to go there because of the fear of being stereotyped in ways that are not comfortable. There are certain places where at some time, one has been able to do that, sometimes right in the area of the green line. Fulbright has built a building where there's a big hotel that be used as a joint site, things can be done then, but many of those can be turned down as well.

Taking people out of the country has been one important method, but that again has drawbacks because a) it costs more b) people are interested in simply getting out of the country and wanting to go to where the seminar is rather than in what the seminar is, so there's been a repeat process. The people who go to the environmental seminars are the same people who go to the conflict resolution seminars are the same people who go to the women's seminars are the same people because they are the type of people who like to do that sort of thing.