|March 19, 2010|
March Focus on Peace and Conflict
THE PEACE MAKERS
“Go now to make a difference in this broken world.
May you all hold each human life in the same regard as your own.
May you bring peace to the lives of others.
May God’s loving Spirit go with you and guide you this day and always.”
(Prayer by The Rev. Brian Yealland, at Queens University 2003)
A great deal of human suffering is linked to conflict, misunderstanding our human differences, political instability, unjust policies and practices. What if we could get to the conflict before it even happened? Jump in and instead of making war, we could make peace?
Peace builders take many approaches to defend the lives of all people, making a stand to transform situations from tension, misunderstanding, injustice, anger and violence towards peace and protecting life.
There are amazing examples of people in our history who have been peace builders. Many are well known including Mother Theresa for her care and love amongst the people of Calcutta, India. Martin Luther King Jr. for his work and activism for civil rights. Archbishop Desmond Tutu for his fight against apartheid in South Africa. Mahatma Gandhi for seeking freedom from British occupation, rights for the poor and economic growth. Nelson Mandela who fought for equality in Africa.
“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Here are some more famous/well-known examples of people who stood for peace. They, along with the others listed above are ordinary men and women like us who have made choices towards peace. They have had no special training, but they have stood against injustice.
Louise Arbour, Canada.
Since July 2004, Louise Arbour has been a High Commissioner for Human Rights for the United Nations. Louise was the Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. In that role, she brought to justice the former Yugoslav and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and four others for war crimes and crimes against humanity for their part in killings committed in Kosovo. She says “The refusal to bring war criminals to account would be an insult to those who obey the law, and a betrayal of those who rely on it for their life and security.”
Father Louie Vitale, USA.
Louie is a long time social activist who is a Franciscan priest. He co-founded the Nevada Desert Experience movement to end nuclear testing. Louie finished serving a six month sentence for his non violent action in trying to draw attention to and to close the “School of the Americas” at Ft. Bennning, GA in 2006. He is currently the Action Advocate for “Pace e Bene” and is involved in trying to raise awareness about issues of torture and US involvement in it.
The Un-named Man at Tiananmen Square, China
In 1989 on the eve of Hu Yaobang’s funeral, 100,000 students and intellectuals marched in Tiananmen Square. He had stood for political and economic reform. The students marched to support democracy and rally against corrupt leaders. The government used force to disperse the massive crowds, using gunfire, tanks and aggression. On June 5th 1989, one man, who is un-named stood against those tanks, he lost his life, but he stood for what was right and the world gained a role model for peace.
The un-named man at Tiananmen Square could be any one of us. On that day he fought against what was wrong, he had one moment to make a difference, he stood in the path between the crowds and the tanks. At every point we have to halt the work of violence. What will you do? What will you be remembered for doing or being a part of? How can we work together to take a stand against injustice and conflict and see peace prevail?
Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
We pray for all those who suffer from acts of war. We pray for peace. Stop the great suffering that people are causing each other. God, remember all who are involved in every civil conflict. Remove from them hostility, confusion and hatred. Lead everyone along the path of reconciliation and peace.
We pray for the peacemakers, give then hope, give them courage, give them wisdom. Let there be more people of peace then ever before building communities where all people are respected and all lives are protected.
We pray that we would turn from hatred and violence to be people of unity and peace. God make us peace builders.
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