|administrator is kept. I will ask to see him. I will be bringing him food. I will hug him. He will not, maybe, recognize me. I will tell him that I come from Mutaho Internally Displaced Persons camp. I will show him that love has replaced hatred. I will be happy that day.
During the follow-up day a month or so later, a group from the workshops decided that they would visit the prisoners. It took some time and much negotiation for this to happen, but it did. Here is a picture of the group that visited the prison. Adrien Niyongabo interviewed many of the people present and Aime-Claude, the drive who took the group from Mutaho to Gitega said,
Understand that you are called to do good to the one who did wrong to you. In that way, instead of pushing the person away from you, which will put all of you into isolation, you bring the person back to you, which will put all of you into communion. May all Burundians follow this excellent example.
Wouldn’t it be nice if all Americans followed “this excellent example?” We push two million Americans away each year by putting them in prison, we push the ”terrorists” away by trying to kill them, we isolate anyone whom we label as “bad” or “evil,” we push away those who are homeless, addicted, or mentally ill. We push away those who are on the other side of social, moral, or political issues. What would happen if “love replaced hatred?” Our lesson is that we need to work to restore that of God in those who have done bad things.
Although the HROC program deals with community healing from trauma, we find many testimonies such as this one:
I would have been the big loser if death had taken me away before having attended this HROC workshop. I had seen how happy are those who came from these workshops you are organizing and I wondered what they were given. I was overloaded with my bad feelings and this workshop has been an opportunity for me to put down some of them. More, I had been quarreling with my wife and many times I used violence over her. Thank God that I have learned how I can manage my anger. I am ready to change and bring peace in my family.
One could say that this is what he was expected to say and that he is still “using violence” over his wife. Here is a testimony from the wife of another man:
After the workshop that I attended, I wished that my husband would get this extraordinary chance too. Fortunately, God answered my prayers! He participated in the last one you conducted. My home has become a paradise! Before we attended these workshops, my husband was always furious. He was treating us as slaves. My home was a hell. Since he had participated in the HROC workshop, he has now time for the children and me. When he comes from work, he greets us, tells us how things have been for him and asks us how we have been doing too (what he never did before). Now he consults me before making any decision. You understand that there is reason for me to be this joyful woman.
There are so many testimonies like this. I think we have gotten things backwards when we say that peace must start in the family, then the community, the nation, and the world. Family violence is the result of societal trauma as people take out their anger and frustrations on those closest to them. There is too much domestic violence in the United States which we attribute to personal problems. We need to look at the conditions in our society which make it so violent and then begin to address