Greetings of love and peace at the end of a long and extraordinarily full day from Manila!
- I felt like I’ve known my partner all my life.
- We were talking from different books and different languages, but we share the same understanding.
- If we emphasize dogma, we will be divided, but if we talk about service, we will be united.
We also spent some time exploring the importance of creativity in peacebuilding work. Herm Weaver offered the following guiding principles from a musical project he did as part of his doctoral work:
Our reflections on these points led the Uganda team to reflect that a key challenge they face these days is a conflict between an internal standard of restorative justice and the external practice represented by the International Criminal Court.
They proceeded to describe their own internal restorative justice system – matopput (drinking the bitter root). In this practice, each party acknowledges what they have done wrong and asks for forgiveness. Then, with hands behind their backs to show that they are through fighting, they drink together out of a calabash of an herbal drink as a sign that they will forgive and be forgiven, and will move forward positively.
The Acholi leaders now have hired lawyers to document the process of matopput so that it might become acceptable to the ICC and open a way past the current stalemate in their peace efforts.
We also heard from the Peacemakers Circle that commitment to staying true to their internal standards has made it a challenge to attract funding, since so many funders have a rigorous set of external standards that would draw them away from what they feel is the most essential work to be done and the best way to do that work.
And so we have worked our way through a Saturday filled with new insights, laughter and tears here in Manila; through a day that has made me more deeply aware of how precious is the unique community we are creating, of the extraordinary value and potential of our work, and of the deep challenges we face individually and together.
May we all be blessed in our work for peace, justice and healing.