It’s very challenging to go to sleep inspired by the power of being in a space with 70 peacebuilders and ready to write a blog sharing the hope and possibility of being here – and then to wake up to the news of Nice, France, and the other examples of violence all around us. This news leaves a lump in my throat, just as did the stories shared last night – as our Global Youth Rising family sat in a room hearing the experiences of fellow trainers who have experienced the grief, fear, and anger of experiencing terrorism first-hand. And yet each of those stories – Jo Berry sharing her process of personal healing (which she explained as a journey of trust and timing); Bjørn Ihler, influenced by his experiences as a survivor of the attack on Utøya Island in Norway on July 22, 2011; and Asma Khalifa, a Libyan activist who shared for the first time her experiences during the war – shared a common underlying understanding that we have a responsibility to collectively transform our realities. As Bjørn shared, “terrorists come from the same communities we come from.” “If we stop treating…[them] like a human being then we’re no better then [them]”.
I’ll share a more complete update from Global Youth Rising later. For now I want to ask, where are we enabling the current violent conditions that we are seeing? As Asma shared, once we stop demonizing the other, it becomes clear that we are all complicit. How will we, individually and collectively, find new ways of being together in the world?Love,