by Marie Dennis
Co-President, Pax Christi International
(Ed. note: The following message was published yesterday on the International Day of Peace.)
A few years ago I visited a small village in the Shamali Valley outside of Kabul – a few tents and a house or two populated by families trying to reclaim life after years living as refugees in Pakistan. The narrow pathway to one of the small houses was lined with stones painted half red and half white. The white half of the stones marking the pathway faced in, indicated that the path itself was cleared of landmines. The red half of the stones pointed out to the rest of the yard around the house, indicated that there could well be landmines buried there. How a family with children and animals can survive in such a situation is beyond me. They, like all their neighbors, were trying to eke out an existence in a geography riddled with landmines and unexploded ordinance, including bomblets from cluster bombs.
Hope in the village was clearly present. What else could have driven those few courageous families to return? But it was hard to pin down. The vineyards were bursting with life, laden with grapes; they also were riddled with landmines. De-miners were carefully inching their way down the rows of grapevines, slowly pushing back the fear, the terrible threat of violence to make room for life.
Work toward the New Creation, work for peace is like that – slowly pushing back the fear, the terrible threat of violence, the reality of social injustice to make room for life.
Let’s be courageous, let’s foster hope, let’s make room for life. Peace is possible!