Under Attack – War & Peace

Under Attack – War & Peace

Gillian Southey

Under Attack
War & Peace

by Gillian Southey, Christian World Service, Wellington, New Zealand.

I suspect that though many of us may find violence on television exciting, we are in danger of forgetting that in real life it is real people who suffer and die.Many of the groups who receive support from Christian World Service and Caritas are working in conflict situations. They are actively involved in trying to end conflict through peacemaking processes and by helping to rebuild community.

Some times other factors like drought and flooding make the suffering even worse.

My people are suffering

In 1993 Bishop Seme, his wife, Esther and Father Raphael visited Aotearoa as guests of Caritas and Christian World Service. They came to share stories of the struggle in their land, Sudan, Africa. Esther told stories of walking huge distances with their children and Father Raphael spoke of running from the fighting with his people. What they wanted was an end to the fighting and food and assistance for their people.Last month Christian World Service received another letter from Father Raphael asking for help.

He often writes about the difficulty of feeding his people in the midst of war. On top of the war the region has been experiencing major drought.

“My people are suffering from hunger this year 1998. The drought was too severe last year as a result there is much hunger everywhere…We have cultivated the farm last year and could not yield due to the drought.”

Civil War Continues

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army is fighting for the freedom of southern Sudan.

The civil war in the south of Sudan has continued for the last 15 years although it is seldom mentioned in the New Zealand media. Over 1 million people have been killed and tens of thousands of Sudanese have fled as refugees.

What can we help?

For those of us in Aotearoa war and famine are very remote. Christian World Service and Caritas can provide background material on most conflict situations and other resources that your youth group could use.If you want to help the people of Sudan, you can send donations to either agency.

Perhaps as an introduction to a session on war and peace you might like to try the following role play or watch a video. Christian World Service and Caritas have videos to borrow or you might like to show Romero, available from video stores.

Role Play

Try this role play. It would be a good idea to read the book of Joshua to get the picture.Divide the group into two sides – the Canaanites and the Israelites.

Moses successfully led the Israelites out of Egypt but it was Joshua who led them into what we know as the promised land. This included the famous walk around the walls of Jericho. Of course there were people already living there – the Canaanites.

Introduce the role play by telling the story in your own words.

Invite the two groups to enter a dialogue. Ask each side to present their case. Was a solution possible that did not involve killing all the Canaanites except Rahab and family? Why are there so many battles over land? What does your land mean to you?

Christian World Service has just produced a new study series, Restore the Land. The kit includes a video, stories and Biblical material.