“If people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love! We must find the way, you and I, no matter how long it takes…”
January 27th is International Holocaust Memorial Day. One of the people whose life we celebrate in the Curriculum is Corrie ten Boom – although I tend to think that it is the entire ten Boom family who should be celebrated for the way they lived their lives during one of the darkest periods of the twentieth century, namely World War II and the Holocaust. Here is their story. I hope it inspires you as it does me and gives you the courage to look at your own life and see the ways in which you also can be a light in whatever darkness surrounds you. Continue reading “The Habit of Hospitality”
It’s strong, it’s new, it’s brave. It’s kids pursuing peace
December 9 was the peace heroes “launch day” for the Yezidi and Muslim children living in Northern Iraq/Kurdistan. Lisa (whose story was featured in my last blog post), decided to turn the launch into a full-fledged celebration, a day to mark the “birth” of a new culture of peace within the walls of the refugee camps that these kids are living in. In so many ways, such a celebration of peace is incredibly subversive because of how it counters the terrible darkness these children are emerging from. It amazes me how something as simple as the Peace Heroes Curriculum can become a catalyst for the reframing of an entire culture and provide a platform for healing. It is, in the end, just a tool – but in the hands of a visionary, like Lisa, it can become a life-changing experience.
I am deeply indebted to Lisa for allowing me to repost her reflections from this momentous occasion, as well as a variety of pictures she (and her team) took, all of which you can find below. Please do visit Springs of Hope Foundation for even more pictures of and reflections on this special day. Continue reading “Counter Culture”
I was floored by the realization that what these kids have been through is comparable to the Nazis in Germany: the selection and ethnic cleansing, the concentration camps and all that went with that. It was (and is) shocking to think that the Yazidis can relate to this, on so many levels, and that Corrie’s experience will most likely resonate with them in ways we can’t even being to imagine
Several weeks ago I met with a woman who lives and works in northern Iraq/Kurdistan with ISIS survivors (Yazidi and Muslim), most of them former slaves (and mostly children). Lisa had heard about the Curriculum and wanted to know if it was something she could take back to Kurdistan with her, to use in her restorative therapy center. Sitting there with her, listening to her tell story after story about these communities and what they have been through in recent years, was both devastating and intensely hopeful – a tension I wasn’t sure how to navigate emotionally. I just listened in silence, stunned by the extent of the suffering these children have been through, awed by the work that she and her staff are doing to help these kids heal and give them hope for a better future, and completely humbled by her desire to use the Curriculum to that end. Continue reading “From These Ashes”
Love – in its essence – is boundless. It has no borders; no stop signs; no inherent law that says “thus far and no further.” On the contrary: the nature of love is to grow, not diminish. Peace heroes are those who understand the worth and value of all life, and who are propelled to action by the desire to restore dignity to a broken world
In March 2016, Muslim extremists carried out a terrible attack in Brussels, Belgium, killing 32 innocent people and injuring more than 300. Two days later, on Holy Thursday, while Europe was still reeling from the bombing and anti-immigrant/Muslim sentiments were on the rise, Pope Francis washed the feet of twelve asylum seekers, including Muslims from Syria and Pakistan. “Today, at this time,” said the Pope, “let us all make a gesture of brotherhood, and let us all say: ‘We are different, we are different, we have different cultures and religions, but we are brothers and we want to live in peace.’” It was a powerful expression of what can only be described as radical welcome.
Continue reading “Radical Welcome”