As we mark International Peace Day, Caritas Bosnia & Herzegovina invites us to reflect on how each one of us can contribute to building peace in our communities.
The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina lived through a brutal war in the 1990s in which 100,000 people died and 2 million people were displaced. Many people are still suffering from Post-Traumatic Distress Syndrome following the conflict.
In these portraits of war survivors, we see the faces of people who suffered at the hands of others, yet who have embraced love and forgiveness as they move forwards in life.
In his message for the Vatican World Day of Peace in January 2020, Pope Francis said, “The path of reconciliation is a summons to discover in the depths of our heart the power of forgiveness and the capacity to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters. When we learn to live in forgiveness, we grow in our capacity to become men and women of peace.”
Here Caritas introduces you to some men and women of peace and their words of wisdom.
“The war made us all unhappy and destroyed our lives. But I have decided to fight and to try my best to make sure war never happens again. To live in hatred of others is horrific. To live in peace and love with another who is different to you is the most valuable thing in the world.”
“In the camp, I was physically and psychologically tortured and with permanent scars by people from other ethnicities. But that didn’t kill my faith nor my respect towards others who are different to me. Our lives are short, yet long enough to be lived in a decent, sincere way, even when we face the most extreme human trials such as war.”
“Those who have felt the war on their own skin are here to tell you that in a war, you’ll lose members of our family, parents, brothers, sisters, neighbours, friends, classmates… A war has no winner.”
“We don’t have the time to hate. Our life will not pass in hatred. The only way to reach reconciliation is to meet with others and talk to them, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. Don’t allow prejudices to divide you. The only acceptable division is the one where people are either good or bad.”
See the whole gallery on the IAmCaritas Facebook page.