The main focus of this blog is on local applications of peacemaking, with a special focus on examples of Restorative Justice (RJ). My goal with this blog is to connect “seat-of-the-pants peacemakers” with groups and individuals who are a few steps further along the path of making peace and are bringing restoration to people harmed by crimes, including the victims and the offenders .
Sometimes, however, successful reconciliation happens in the most unlikely situations, where all human perceptions would tell us no peaceful solution is possible, no forgiveness likely. For those of us who observe Resurrection Sunday (“Easter”), these successes have to remain at the center of our focus, and we just have to celebrate them when they happen. (But, let’s face it, it is hard to find any major world religion that does not seek peace, reconciliation and forgiveness, despite the egregious actions of the extremists in their/our midst.)
When we watched the horror of the Rwanda genocide in 1994, any hopes of reconciliation seemed impossible. But Prison Fellowship International looked with the eyes of faith on the overwhelming brutality, and they set about doing the difficult work of putting their faith and forgiveness into practice. So, in the ruins of the scene of some of the most brutal genocide, in the village of Musanze, Rwanda, and in five other decimated villages, Prison Fellowship International created “Reconciliation Village.” Here, forgiveness is lived out in rebuilding community. [Editor's Note: Click for a look at forgiveness in Uganda.
Today, dozens of former murderers and brutalizers live side-by-side with their victims, in harmony.
"Residents of the 182 homes that make-up the village of Musanze, Rwanda, work as one to grow crops and tend to livestock. The village’s community spirit may not seem unusual until you learn that within this small community live both convicted perpetrators and surviving victims of the 1994 genocide."
The story of this seemingly impossible reconciliation is available at this link. For anyone who doubts that reconciliation and forgiveness are unachievable, unattainable, I highly recommend this link:
Read this story, and tell me we can’t address bullying and domestic abuse in the “Developed World.” A Christian scripture reference comes to mind: ”Go thou and do likewise.” (If you have sacred scripture to share, select “Comment” below and share it.
But, before doing that, ponder this image: