Caritas imagines peace between peoples
Yousif and I are friends, but we had a fight when he took my ball and pushed me,” said Ahmed, a young boy in Iraq. When you’re seven, it doesn’t take much to have a disagreement. Yousif and Ahmed sorted out their problem thanks to a peacebuilding course held by Caritas in their school.
After so much violence, Caritas is ensuring that an openness to dialogue begins early in Iraq.
“It’s important to teach children about peace,” said a Caritas Iraq staff member. “After all these wars, crises and killings, children are suffering from nervous conditions and they have turned to abusive play.”
The peacebuilding course was held at a primary school in Baghdad around Christmas to improve co-existence between Muslim and Christian children. It included workshops in which the children were told stories to help them understand the concept of peace. “It’s so important to make a move before the seed of war is planted. We want to build societies based on peace,” said Caritas Iraq.
Caritas is committed to working for peace that tackles the underlying causes of conflict and allows healing and reconciliation.
Violence in Kenya, Congo, Georgia, and Sri Lanka raged. Progress in Afghanistan and the Holy Land stalled. As advocates at the grassroots, national and international level, Caritas worked ceaselessly to broker peace between peoples.
Caritas delegate to the UN in New York, Joseph Donnelly joined other international Catholic peacebuilders at the University of Notre Dame in the USA in April to reflect on the theological, ethical and practical dimensions of the Church’s work on conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict reconciliation.
Four decades ago, Pope Paul VI said prophetically, “The new name of peace is development.” Poor countries are four times more likely to suffer a major conflict than more developed ones. Over 40 years later, we’re still waiting for authentic development.