Those who celebrate Christmas in terms of the Christian Story, understand to a greater or lesser degree, the season to be a time of patient expectation of the advent of Peace. The Christian hope is wrapped up in that Peace showing up in a baby person born a homeless refugee amidst a genocide. Those of us who believe that baby person to be God himself showing up get to re-assess all our notions of power in this world. Everything is turned upside down. Strength shows up in ultimate vulnerability.

Much of my time is spent teaching Alternative Dispute Resolution processes, primarily mediation, through the lens of transformative justice. In our mediation training times, and in my own life, one of the key things I work on is the dismantling of our tendency to make assumptions, to label and to stereotype. Assumptions, labelling, stereotyping and categorizations all tend to be anti-peace building. They tend to be borne out of a sense of fatalism and fatalism rails against hope.

As many will know, we have been part of helping to build towards a permanent solution for a group of displaced foreigners at Hope Farm, Cato Ridge.

It has been an extremely difficult situation and you may have seen the matter in the news over the past days with a fire at the farm being portrayed as an attack on some of the foreigners. The truth is, right now we have little evidence around what caused the fire. You can take a look at the Press Statement of Access to Justice here:

The news reports have caused widespread reactionary sentiment which has been negative towards the owners’ of the farm having responded to the crisis in the first place at all, has reverted to stereotyping ethnic groups, Africans and the poor and traumatized that need help.

None of this is peace building. It’s actually the opposite. Not just for the owners at Hope Farm or for the refugees, but for the world around us in general.

This season of Advent, with only a few days to go, is a really good time to re-assess how each of us can build peace in the world around us. It starts with our thinking and shows up in how we speak and act. Over the next few days, I will be sharing some very simple practical action each of us can take each day to help build peace in the world around us.

To be a part of this check into our facebook page here and add your ideas and experiences if you will:

As always


Sheena Jonker


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