11 2007


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AFRICA: Misna; I extend my heartfelt thanks to your for coming here to attend this conference organized by Koinonia Community and Africa Peace Point, together with the collaborating organizations.

We have gathered here with in our eyes the vision and in our hearts the burden of the millions of African people who continue to suffer from a international system whose very essence is war, violence, racism, oppression, repression and the impoverishment of the poor. We are all too aware that peace is more than just the absence of war, and that many country who are officially in peace, in fact see an ongoing violence against the most vulnerable members of the society. The dark clouds still hovering above our landscape, particularly in Africa, are matters of serious concern. Thus is it our humble invitation so that together we examine how we could further coordinate our efforts to move a step ahead towards a more just an peaceful society.

When the oppressed and disadvantaged take their destiny into their own hands; and when those divided in bitter conflict turn towards peace and reconciliation, that is indeed a collective act of extraordinary effort and leadership. As Koinonia Community " which is a lay Christian community committed to the service and uplifting of the lives of the poor and marginalized in the society " we have, together with Africa Peace Point, dedicated our efforts towards this course " to empower the poor and marginalized towards charting their own destiny. We know we are small and weak, but this very house where we are is a testimony of this effort. Most of the people working here, in every capacity, come from a background of marginalization and poverty.

We have over the past 15 years worked relentlessly to fulfill this journey of peace. Already in 1991 we were invited to act as mediators by the warring faction of the SPLA, and in 1992 we were invited to work for reconciliation during the so-called tribal clashes " in reality political clashes " in the Rift Valley of Kenya. Up to the recent months when we were, for example, invited to act as mediators in the civil war that has involved the Lord Resistance Army and the Ugandan government for the last 15 years. These involvement were a chance for us to learn more about the economic, political, cultural and historical intricacies that lay behind the African tensions and wars. We have been humbled to learn that the process of peace building is one big challenge that requires a long term vision, deep understanding and resilience. And that in these conflicts there are often hidden and powerful actors. (continue) [MB]

foto -© REUTERS

Source by Misna

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