Damietta Peace Initiative
is realised by:
Creating local interfaith
Pan-African Conciliation Teams (PACTs)
Forming PACT members around the core values of non-violence, reconciliation and respect for creation.
Facilitating group communication among PACTs
nationally and internationally.
Giving special attention to Christian/Muslim relations in the tradition of St Francis of Assisi.
Father Kees Thonissen OFM Cap
Many are sickened by the extreme violence that is overtaking the Middle East and elsewhere. Photographs of slain children shot and dropped into trenches shock us.
Repulsively, women are ill-treated, raped and sold-out in marriage. Sadly, Christian minorities are persecuted and displaced.
Such violence reflects ugliness of heart, superiority, ruthlessness, intolerance, inhumanity and plain evil.
What may be the causes of such
Firstly, they could have structural origins, where society has lost cohesion and direct people fill the vacuum imposing their own power structures and their own idea of civilisation.
Secondly, there is internal dimension - how can human values such as respect, just evaporate?
Thirdly, an ideology that secures dominance drives tribal or other superiority.
Fourthly, religious extremism makes it a duty to force others into one's own religion. Such religion reflects only"their god" for who would want such a ruthless and a murderous Overlord.
Firstly, we need to integrate countries, not to isolate them- division between the West and the rest is played up.
Secondly, we have to continue to instil value systems where they have gone missing.
Thirdly, hardened ideology can be educated, broadened and enlightened. This means meeting and dialoguing people from the "opposite side."
Fourthly, religious attitudes have to be deepened - they have to be grounded in truth and a merciful divine being.
Fifthly, we can sensitise consciences against obvious evil, draw people back into caring family units and lead people into seeing others as they see their own children and wives.
For all this we need to be socially astute, but above all, pray for the miracle of conversation of minds and hearts.