|the roots of this violence. Is not one of these roots our greed of obtaining the American Dream at the expense of others both in America and the rest of the world? Woolman outlines clearly in “The Plea for the Poor” and elsewhere that if everyone lived modestly there would be enough for everyone. I think this is still true. Should we not focus on the “World Dream” where everyone would have clean water/sanitation, health care, food, shelter, and education?
The fifth lesson is that we need to address the roots of violence both here and elsewhere to reduce societal and domestic violence.
Laura Shipler Chico has just finished a twenty month tour in Rwanda with AGLI and she wrote in a report:
Is it the Quaker notion that there is that of God in each of us that gives the Friends here [in Rwanda] such gall? Is it that unwavering hope that even a man who has butchered and hated and thieved can be redeemed? Or is it simply a thirst that comes out of raw hurt, to find each other again? Whatever it is, Rwandan Evangelical Friends, through Friends Peace House, are doing something that very few other groups in Rwanda have tried. They are bringing killers and survivors together. They are inviting them to sit down and look each other in the eye.
To illustrate this, let’s hear part of a report of a recent workshop by Theoneste Bizimana, the HROC coordinator in Rwanda. I should explain that if a person grew up in Uganda, this means that they are Tutsi refugees who returned after the genocide.
The workshop was very good even though at the beginning it was difficult for the group to feel free and open, to trust each other. We were with two social work students from Butare National University who are doing their practicum in Friends Peace House. They wanted to participate in our work in field. This was the first time for them to attend a workshop like this one even though they had learned some theory. Both of them grew up in Uganda and they didn’t see what happened in Rwanda. They could not imagine how survivors and people who killed their relatives can sit together again and share food. I remember when we were sharing what we learned from the workshop, one man from the jail said that he killed ten people and three were from the family of one person who was there. Sarah one of those students wanted to flee or to get out, she got fear! She told me she was thinking that he can do that again.
Or as one of the released prisoners said after confessing and being released:
I have accepted what I did in the genocide and I have been released. Through this workshop I see that I caused trauma to many people, especially those whose relatives I killed. I traumatized myself because I had an animal heart. I had done that, but I repeat, I ask pardon. Forgive me. I did bad to you, to all Rwandans, even to myself. I believe since now we become brothers and sisters, we can all say together, “NEVER AGAIN.”
Joy has a younger brother, Tommy. When she was little, she might say, “Tommy is a bad boy. He hit me.” I would reply, “Tommy is not a bad boy, but rather he did a bad thing.” Woolman’s approach to the slaveholders was not to degrade or demonize them, but to speak with them with respect, indicating that he believed their holding of slaves was contrary to “Eternal Wisdom.” Recently a woman called me on the phone who couldn’t remember who killed who in the genocide. She asked,