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Countering Terrorism with Peace

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(lire en français) Dear people of France, from all backgrounds and religions, My heart goes out to you. I am so sorry for the murders your citizens have suffered today, and in recent weeks, at the hands of violent extremists. I am so sorry for the fears that divide you instead of unite you at this difficult time. I am so sorry that the universal right to life was violated on your soil. I am so sorry that deeply-held beliefs about the right to the freedom of expression and respect for religion clashed with violence. I am so sorry that these differences are being used by some to fomont increasing alienation and conflict instead of being addressed with mutual respect, curiousty, dialogue, and acceptance of differences. This conflict wounds the world's heart, and I pray, will wound no more of its bodies.

Last comment by Carole on Oct 29, 2020.
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This year, Liguorian magazine gave me a dream commission — writing four articles on diverse aspects of peace. We began with an exploration of interfaith peace and ways the Bible embraces the whole world, including people of varying faiths. Next, we ventured into the valley of the shadows of death and terrorism, and saw how the light of God shines even there. Thirdly, we considered how theology and practice can empower us to respond peacefully to violence wherever it occurs. In this final article, I use my favourite medium, personal stories, to illustrate how people I know have persevered for peace in difficult circumstances — in the family, in a country recovering from genocide, and in a city after a violent attack.  

Last comment by Carole on Nov 20, 2018.
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They were humiliated and mistreated, and they couldn’t take it anymore. So they took a stand. They went into extensive training for the fight. They knew it would be hard and long. They had to be mentally, spiritually, and physically prepared. When the day of confrontation arrived, every hour of training was worth it. Although they were shouted at, pushed, spat upon, and beaten, they did not fight back with angry words or fists, but with love. They won, peacefully.

Last comment by Carole on Oct 06, 2018.
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On July 22. 2018, an ordinary summer's evening, Danielle Kane was celebrating a friend's birthday in one of the restaurants in Toronto's popular Greek Town. She hasn't gone home since. When she stepped outside to investigate what sounded like fireworks, she looked an ordinary looking stranger in the eye. Then he fired a gun at her. The bullet went through her spinal cord and stomach. Danielle was rushed to the hospital. Now, seven weeks later, she faces two more months of fulltime rehabilitation before finding a new, wheelchair-accessible apartment to go home to while facing a radically changed life. Danielle does not know if she will ever walk again. Yet, she is not bitter. How has she accepted this dramatic, unexpected event in her life, which many would call tragic?

Last comment by Carole on Sep 13, 2018.
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I wish I didn't have to write this. I wish I was writing an Easter message about lent leading to resurrection, or videos and stories about meeting Martin Luther King, Jr.'s family in Atlanta this month, or news from the peace and justice conference I attended there. But a tragedy has struck my city, Toronto, and I am compelled to walk the long path back to peace with my fellow Torontonians, and the others around the world whose hearts are with us at this time.If you aren't familiar with the event, a young Canadian man, Alek Minassian, plowed a van at full speed down a pedestrian-filled sidewalk on Toronto's main street on April 23, 2018, killing 10 and injuring 15 others. The suspected motivation for the attack is anger over a type of social ostracism called involuntary celibacy. When I heard of the tragedy on Monday, I listened to the news for hours, watching the situation unfold, seeking to know what had happened. The work I had been doing paled in significance to the fight for life and security on Yonge Street.

Last comment by Carole on Jul 05, 2018.
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Our peace series in Liguorian magazine, which began with Lighting the Way to Interfaith Peace in January, continues by examining one of the most darkest valleys humans encounter — acts of terrorism. How do we counteract hate in order to prevent as much violence as possible? And when acts of terrorism do occur, how to do we respond, forgive and heal its onslaught so it doesn't lead us into a cycle of even more violence? The surest way I know is by following God's peace plan. This peace plan is for everyone, regardless of their faith, but it is supernaturally difficult — it is loving our enemies, countering hate with love, recognising our common humanity instead of superficial differences. My article, Our Role in God's Peace Plan, is copyright Liguori Publications, 2018, but they kindly allowed me to cross-post it below. Please visit Liguorian.org to learn more and subscribe.

Last comment by Carole on Apr 23, 2018.
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Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the youth who committed murder/suicide in Cobumbine on April 20, 1999. In this transparent reflection, Sue shares, "It was appallingly easy for a 17-year-old boy to buy guns both legally and illegally without my permission or knowledge and somehow, 17 years and many school shootings later, it is still appallingly easy.” Sue says upon reflection, her son’s spiral into a mental health crisis happened over a 2 year period. She deeply loved her son, but says “love is not enough” to prevent suicide. Since 15% of American youth report having made a suicide plan in the last year, Sue urges us to “listen with our whole being without judgement and without offering solutions” to the youth in our life. Even if we cannot see their pain, as she did not, it may be deeply affecting them and they need a supporting listener.

Last comment by Carole on Jan 06, 2018.
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Scarlett Lewis, who’s son Jesse was killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Connecticut in 2012, has chosen forgiveness over hatred. In her powerful testimony she says forgiving his killer cut the invisible cord of anger that linked her to him after her son’s death. Freedom from anger gave her the strength to found the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, based on an unusual message her 6-year-old son wrote on their kitchen chalkboard before he died: "Nurturing healing love." The Choose Love Movement teaches students positive social and emotional skills. If you are an educator, you may want to review this free program. It may even prevent future violent attacks.

Last comment by Carole on Jan 06, 2018.
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Gill Hicks, who survived a suicide bombing in London, used a tragedy that was meant to kill her to change her life. Gill says, “Throughout all the chaos my hand was held tightly. My face was stroked gently. What did I feel? I felt loved. What’s shaded me from hatred and wanting retribution, what’s given me the courage to say, ‘This ends with me,’ is love. I was loved. I believe the potential for widespread positive change is absolutely enormous because I know what we’re capable of. I know the brilliance of humanity. So this leaves me with some pretty big things to ponder and some questions for us all to consider. Is what unites us not far greater than what could ever divide? Does it have to take a tragedy or a disaster for us to feel connected as one species, as human beings? And when will we embrace the mystery of our era to rise above mere tolerance and move to an acceptance for all who are only a label until we know them?” Gill’s experience of the love of strangers was so powerful it countered even the hatred of a terrorist. And with God’s strength, prayer, and deep understanding, we can find compassion and love even for terrorists.

Last comment by Carole on Jan 05, 2018.
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Last night, when I heard about the attack in Nice, France, I immediately thought of my friend from France, Valérie Baron. She shared these thoughts today, which are so important as we grieve, and reflect on how to bring peace to a very hurting world. I was thinking about my home country again today.  I was there during the November attacks and I wasn't far away. I am thinking of the  atrocity and fear that comes along with it. It is not pleasant, to say the least. I don't think I will ever get over the Paris, and now Nice, attacks. It is home. A safe place that I call home that has become a not so much a safe place anymore. So much hatred and so much violence around the world... And not just France, as we have been seeing for the past few months. Can hatred, greed, and violence be reversed in providing God's love and patience to those who suffer in their misery and anger, hence the attacker?  

Last comment by Valerie on Jul 15, 2016.
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