Fraternity brings about peace. We are all affected by the power of evil, of selfishness and its consequences, because we have been created for doing good and for loving. Russia’s war with Ukraine touches our human identity: we have been made to live differently.
The first step is openess
The weekend before the first Russian attack, we had a get-together in Dapaong with high school children. There were fourteen brave young people who dared to leave their homes, to come to an unknown place and live with unknown people… these young people dared to come out of themselves, and leave their fears and prejudices behind!
I say this because there are very different ethnic groups living in Dapaong- Mobas, Lousou, Cotocoli, Basar, Ewe, Cabier, Mousi – and there is a lot of mistrust between them. They feel threatened by each other. Fear makes them look at each other as enemies. You notice this mistrust in the tension they carry inside, which can explode at any moment.
Making friends is not easy, as they feel the need to protect themselves in order to survive.
By the end of the gathering, their eyes were shining with joy as they said: “I have experienced fraternity”, “here there is no discrimination and there are no differences”. Their hearts had opened and they discovered that the other person is not an enemy and can even be a friend. “It`s possible to love those who are different from me”.
These young people opened up to the idea of being builders of new relationships. One of the young people told us: «since my father died I carry an enormous weight. I can’t forgive the person who poisoned him.” Another person said: «It hurts that my aunt left home and does not speak to us. When she comes back it`s only to ask for money. How can I help to reconcile us?” In this way, the young people not only expressed the pain they feel because of the lack of peace and communion, but also the possibility of forgiving and reconciling. Forgiveness and reconciliation are a process, but it begins from within, from where we can create a new type of relationship between us.
LOVE is what drives all this. When we begin to experience how loved we are, we can look at those who are different from us. We stop seeing them as rivals and see them as someone who completes me. The relationship with Jesus gives us the love that drives us and enables us to share with each other and build fraternity. Fraternity brings about peace. What a great mission God has entrusted to us: we are collaborating with him in building peace!