New Humanity Movement

Social Ethics

paceSeven days in dialogue between a painful past and a bright future full of uncertainties. In a country in South America there are painful wounds, but there are also hopeful signs in the horizon that make every small effort a gigantic step - always towards the direction of a more united world.

by Monica from Colombia
Between August 3 and August 5 2008 a "School of Peace" was held in Colombia.  About 100 people participated, among whom were academics, politicians, businessmen, students, artists, people from various ethnic groups and other groups. Also present were some former guerrillas.

During the school small working committee groups were formed to discuss various issues. I worked in a Committee with two ex-guerrilla executives.

One of these executives always remained undercover. From the start of the meeting she was very moved and shared his experience which he had never shared with  anyone. This made the Group live a particular type of pain that nobody had ever experienced before.

This sharing also encouraged the other executive to share his experience, although it was a bit different for him.  He  had in fact abandoned the guerrilla movement because he realized that fighting had a too high cost in terms of civilian casualties.  However he did not change his mind that it was good to give your life for your country with the usage of weapons. Also because  so many people know no other form of struggle to combat the strong social injustices present in Colombia.  Furthermore, hatred towards those who caused these situations was so entrenched that he felt unable to forgive anyone.

In my Working Group, a "facilitator", i.e. a sort of Ombudsman for reconciliation was present. He is a world-renowned "non-violence" mediator  and is the founder of the ´ Institute of Peace of Spain. With his help we begun to move the water, clarifying many aspects of a delicate issue which people were experiencing. Many of the participants started to feel the earth move under their feet. For example, it was difficult for them to accept our proposal to "remove the category of the enemy" as first step towards reconciliation and freedom.

Yet during the breaks a profound dialogue was established with everyone, especially with the two former guerrillas who needed to speak, but because of the sufferings they had experienced it was difficult to accept our proposals without reservations. However, at the same time we felt the need of a spirituality -  to go deeper, and understand their feelings;  in this sense we recognised Jesus, a historical person who had great understanding.  I felt all I needed to do was listen and speak at the right time and encourage hope.

These discussions done in a very ordinary way made a lot of people want to remain in contact with us, understand our motivations and cooperate in our various initiatives.  Meanwhile Yolanda and Javier, these are the names of the two former guerrillas, began to reflect on the idea of "reconciliation with the enemy". They took this proposal seriously, and eventually wanted to "learn" to forgive.
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