Friday, March 1, 2019

Insight: Peace through Tinku

By Lorraine Glowczak

Life is cyclical - or at least that is what they tell me. “Lorraine, this is happened before, it will happen again, and it will get better,” a local wise man told me this fall when we were discussing the political climate we are witnessing today, both nationally and locally. This conversation occurred last fall and the Pollyanna side of me was hoping the pendulum would have started swinging the other way by now. But I guess, “the arch of justice is long….” (stated by another wise man, Martin Luther King Jr.)

Unless you have completely warded off media, you most likely know that hostilities among our leaders still exists.

I make no judgement of our leaders (well- for the most part) because I could not maintain a peaceful manner during a public and political dispute in which I felt attacked. It is good that we have different perspectives. It is admirable to stand up for what we believe in, despite how others may perceive us and the kick back one gets for speaking a personal truth. Without this, it wouldn’t be freedom and it wouldn’t be democracy. I do hope people continue to speak their truth, no matter how difficult it is. But, at times, it just can be so darn frustrating to have a civil conversation with others who do not see eye to eye.

It’s possible that the frustration we all experience is one of the contributing factors to the conflicts we see among our leaders. Although I wish we could all get along a little better - who can blame our leaders for feeling frustrated? I certainly can’t throw stones. (Analogy taken from another wise man.)
So, how can we all – in the midst of all our individual truths – not allow frustration to consume us and, in doing so, approach things in a more peaceful manner. I must admit, I do not have the answers.   
But I wonder if a Bolivian Aymara tradition known as “Tinku", may provide insight for us. According to, Tinku “began as a form of ritualistic combat. In the language of Aymara it means, ‘physical attack’.”

I learned about the Tinku ritual during a personal Netflix ritual this past Sunday. In one of the episodes of “The Story of Us,” hosted by Morgan Freeman, Tinku was introduced. In that series, I learned brawls in this festival are considered a means of releasing frustration and anger between the separate communities who hold differing opinions. Once the festival is completed, the communities with different perspectives return into a civil working group with the goal of accomplishing things with the good of all in mind.

What if we did that here in our own community? We could do our own Tinku Festival. For three days, we could say and do all those things that a peaceful society would deem inappropriate. We could all yell at those who disagree with us, while dancing and banging drums to get out all our frustrations. We could say things that usually prohibits us from working together. Of course, there would be no physical violence, and no one would be hurt. A bell would ring to signify the end of the festival, and we’d all sit down together and have a feast – agreeing that, despite our differences, we would work together for the common good and commit to peaceful solutions for the next year, knowing we would have an opportunity  to “tell it like it is” from our own opinions at the next festival.

In this Netflix episode, Freeman spoke to Rwandan President, Paul Kagame. In a conversation about the current political and social divide we all experience worldwide, Freeman asked Kagame if he thought revenge and justice were two different things. Kagame replied. “They are different. Revenge may be justified. But it is not justice. Justice allows the disagreeable parties to get along. While revenge allows more revenge and creates a vicious cycle.”

Perhaps there is one cyclical life experience we can do without. War has been around since we’ve had to share resources such as land, water, food.  I don’t think the end of war is eminent. But what we have learned is that we must get better at making peace,” Freeman said, ending the episode.
And I will add that a fun three-day annual Tinku Festival, where acting like nincompoops is acceptable, might provide the peace needed in order to get things done in a civil manner. At least for one year. Just a thought.

No comments:

Post a Comment