21 August 2006


The past month has seen the Middle-East again erupt into violence with once more innocent civilians bearing the main burden of suffering and loss of life. At the same time many travelers had their plans disrupted by a renewed threat of terrorist activity, whilst violence continued unabated in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

What has been the return on the vast sums spent on military expenditure? Is the world any more secure as a result? Or do violent solutions just create greater violence?

In Kenya I met with a leader of Chemchemi Ya Ukweli - an inter-faith peace movement initiated by a small group of religious leaders in 1997 who were concerned with the growing violence in Kenya. Their desire was to bring about justice and peace through active non-violent means. Active Non-Violence (ANV) embraces the spirituality of non-violence for conflict prevention and transformation in order to achieve a sustainable culture of peace and reconciliation.

The goal of ANV is not to win or prevail over the other but to arrive at the truth of the situation. It aims to destroy enmity rather than the enemy. It assumes that both the victim and the aggressor share a common humanity and seeks friendship and reconciliation rather than defeat or humiliation of an opponent. It is based on a belief that the exercise of power depends on the consent of the ruled and asserts that one must maintain faith in the future and faith that the universe is on the side of justice.

Perhaps western leaders, some of whom claim to be Christian, could look again at the teachings of Jesus whom they profess to follow and perhaps something could be learnt from groups such as Chemchemi Ya Ukweli or Pax Christi

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