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Peace please

Wednesday 11th August 2010
by

 

Jean Paul Brice Affana Affana, our Nkabomer from Cameroon, urges us to learn from each other.

 

”The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’

I read this assert for the first time when watching ‘Tears of the Sun’, a movie based on a true story of an intertribal conflict that occurred in Nigeria between Fulani and Igbo. I watched the movie with a group of friends and the only question I wanted to ask just after was this: ‘How people can hate each other just because they are seeing them as belonging to the tribe that has all the rights?’ None of my friends were able to answer this question and I began to understand that people are just not informed or aware of the importance of building peace and mutual understanding within our communities. This is how I started to involved myself in peace promotion and dialogue between people from different backgrounds. I wanted to help my peers embrace their cultural diversity in order to build a better world for all of us. 

I understood that if you and I are different and we have to live together in the same place, it is a necessity for us to learn from each other so that we can easily know our differences, our similarities, our cultures, why we have to live together and how we can do so with respect and without any unwanted conflict situation. How can I respect your culture and your faith if I don’t know anything? How can I prevent myself from conflicting with you if I don’t know what can frustrate you and what can result in a conflict situation among us? To ensure a peaceful world in our communities we must understand that some conflicts are occurring between people only because they are living together without having taken even a few minutes to learn one another’s differences. This is why the Nkabom programme is so important for me because it will allow me to gain new skills relating to interfaith and intercultural dialogue, skills that will allow me to really ensure peace and mutual understanding in my community. We must learn to accept our differences, tolerate our differences, learn from our differences, live our differences.

Conflict situations in Cameroon mostly involve youth as perpetrators and victims. My belief is that youth in my country and around the world can be agents for peace through peace education starting in their families when they are children. Because youth are the leaders of the future, they should promote peace in their communities by actively participating as main actors in innovative programmes and projects. Then, they will learn that without peace we cannot make better cities for better lives, and neither will be able to sustain the future. The Nkabom programme will help me develop my personal and professional skills in the use of art, drama, cultural values, and dance to educate people in peace building and make positive change around me with my peers. Since I am a child I am passionate about drawing, dance and theater and what I am doing is to use these skills when working on local projects aimed at teaching peace and affecting change in my community. I believe that by ‘coming together’, my fellow Nkabomers and I will be able to bring peace among our different communities with new innovative approaches.

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