Voice from Eastern Europe

I started to seriously think about violence only when I faced the war in my own town. Exposure to war actually turned out to be a gain for me personally: the war was a strong cause to re-assess my own attitude towards violence within the framework of my Christian system of values. These are several precious lessons I got. The first is regarding own personal responsibility for acting for peace based on justice. We often think that we do not have power for change. However, once we made the choice for peace and reconciliation, then it will be much easier to find answers on the question: what I can do for peace now? Our prime responsibility is to pressurize the politicians.

Further, during the exposure to on-going violence (day after day of bombing our town) I became aware how the logic of total war has taken a lead – how, even in my mind, there was less and less space for recognition of any other possible way for survival except: ‘either us or them’. Facing how violence grew around me and inside me, I realized that I cannot even imagine what love for the enemy means in our concrete situation of violent conflict. It was my conscious choice trying to love the enemy on the way as Jesus would love them which led me to the freedom from the merciless logic of violence. And then very soon I found out that I was not alone – there were other people in war zones who want to work for peace:  believers and nonbelievers. We started to think what we together can do for peace. The person who worked closely with me and created the Centre for Nonviolence and Human Rights in Osijek, Croatia, Krunoslav Sukić, was an atheist.

Katarina Kruhonja- Croatia – Pax Christi International Executive Committee Member. 


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