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October 3 2010

Mozambique: Celebration of the 18th Anniversary of the Peace

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Mozambique: Celebration of 18th Anniversary of the Peace

4 October 2010

Peace is of age in Mozambique. Today we celebrate 18 years of peace.

Peace was signed in Rome on 4th October 1992. It took 27 months of negotiations at the headquarter of the Community of Sant 'Egidio to end a war that had caused one million victims and great destruction.

On 4th October Mozambicans were able to stop the violence of war, mother of all poverty. It's a memory that honors those who decided to take a chance on negotiating peace, but most of all honors and fills with courage all Mozambican people. This memory is the story of the value of dialogue, nonviolence, democratic coexistence. Is it not a value that must be experienced and transmitted?
The 120 Communities of Sant 'Egidio in Mozambique organize meetings and debates throughout the country to keep alive the pride of peace.

The contemporary world has changed. Mozambique has changed so much over the past eighteen years. A democratic system took shape, communications have made great strides, the country is faced with a future.

Nevertheless we can not hide our society's problems. Episodes like those that occurred in Maputo and in other cities in early September are a source of concern. In parallel with economic difficulties, fear and mistrust are increasing.

There is the temptation to choose violence as a method to solve problems. People are seduced by the mentality of contempt and hatred, and are captivated by the fascination of violence.
We are witnessing lynching in various cities. Every day in our country, in our neighborhoods, we see behaviours that are true death sentences. Many poor people accused, rightly or wrongly, of having committed crimes, are lynched to death or burned alive with gasoline and tires.
Many times the charge is for stealing a shirt, a cellphone, a television, a pet. Sometimes people are even accused of witchcraft.

There is a blind vengeance at the root of lynching. It's hatred for life.
Nobody has the right to take the law into one's own hands. True justice must be based on human rights.
Burning a person alive who can not defend himself, is barbarity. It is also a big cowardice because all human life must be respected from birth to death.

Lynching does not solve the problems of crime: on the contrary, increases the rate of violence in our society.
This peace that we enjoy was not achieved by the force of weapons. It is, instead, the result of dialogue, which led people to the conversations table at Sant'Egidio. The method of the whole negotiation was "to seek what unites us, and put to one side what divides."

There were those who were under the illusions that peace could be bought. In today's world this mentality is very common: everything is bought and sold, everything has a price and nothing is free. What is dominant is just the ideology of "market". At any cost.

But peace, now as then, is priceless, because it is built with gratuity. This is one of its secrets. The other secret was to overcome the ideology of armed conflict - where violent armed struggle was seen as the only way to support their own positions - with dialogue, through the political debate that bring to fruitful democracy and guarantees pluralism. We want this to continue, even with the seeds represented by the gestures of trust that will help the very future of the country.

Therefore we must strengthen, at all levels, the method of dialogue and reconciliation. This is the appeal that once again we address to government leaders politicians, religious leaders, civil society, to everyone. Look for the common good!

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