Photo: Peace Olympics, by Germaine Umutoni, one of the original gafotozi, a photography project sponsored by A Peace of Life.
After the dream comes a whole lot of love in action….This week marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s immortal “I have a dream” speech. Words that continue to inspire. However there’s a lesser known speech of his that shows how this dream can be realized. It’s called “Loving Your Enemies” and it was written while he was in jail for nonviolent civil disobedience. Here’s an excerpt:
“Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love.”
I love the photo above from last year’s peace camp. It was the water challenge in our Peace Olympics where you had to pass water by hand to fill a container at the other end of the line. On this team we have both Congolese and Rwandese working together. Learning to respect, love and help each other. To work together for a common good. As the global war machine winds up over Syria…as the bombs and hardline rhetoric continue to rain down in DRC and Rwanda…we remember the example of these courageous youth at peace camp; love and peace and just general good neighbourliness IS possible. It starts with respect, listening and dialogue. With being creative together to transform the conflict. Perhaps we need more preaching in governments, business, churches and schools about the need to love your enemies, to seek the peace of your neighbours. We pray for these youth – especially those living in the regions currently experiencing yet again an escalation of violence (Goma/Gisenyi). We pray for safety and that you will be able to stand strong and continue to spread your message of brotherly love.
As one youth commented: “Love is the catalyst for peace; it sets you free yourself.” MLK refers to this need for inner peace, to look inside and be transformed in order to be able to even dare to attempt to love your enemy. To seek the good for others. To find common ground. In the words of another of the world’s great advocates for peace and brotherhood, Nelson Mandela:
“If you want to make peace with an enemy, one must work with that enemy and that enemy becomes your partner.” ~ from Long Walk to Freedom, 1994
It is a long and hard walk, but worth it. More of our leaders need to be on this path, don’t you think?
NEWS: Are you ready for peace camp? Contest launching next month in the AEBR schools. We will also be joined once again by a team of youth/youth leaders from CBCA in DR Congo.