Marius Mufuta – #WhatsYourPeace?

September 21, 2015

Making Peace without the Support of Bureaucracy

As I crossed the border between Rwanda and Congo, I felt the defeat of the M23 was necessary for the Great Lakes Region to become peaceful. I was told that Martin Kobler was a hero and a proactive figure of the United Nations Peacekeeping mission. However, the memories of twenty-year of war remained. What began on the balcony in a Ugandan ghetto ended up deposing the King of Zaire, and leaving victims in its wake. There was bloodshed across streets of Kigali. Regardless of who died, they were human beings: there were memories to heal, women to help, families to rebuild, nations to construct, and regions to reconnect. A 24 year-old, Interahamwe told me: “I have lost families, I have seen my family being killed, but now people like you are preaching peace and forgiveness. You don’t understand at all!”

I could feel anger coming from him, and I trusted my instinct that making peace is not about talking but acting. Despite my arguments, the boy remained convinced.  The Congolese government and UN are launching Sokolo 2, to neutralize the FDLR rebel group. I attempted to help the boy understand why the FDLR needed to be stopped, but I was unsuccessful. My words for peace were useless, insufficient, and irrelevant to him. Peace is not what we give to people but what they feel, understand, and desire to be in. My two months with the 24 year-old boy were not only a shadow of “possible peace,” but also a learning experience of the key elements that bureaucracies miss in addressing conflict situations.

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