“I got some not so good news,” Sister Rita says. She returns to Nigeria today after a summer in the U.S. “Several weeks ago Boko Haram threatened to target southern Kaduna State and last week they drove up in two cars to a small police station in one of the villages south of where we work and sprayed it with bullets, killing three of the four police stationed there. The only one who survived is the wife of one of my former drivers, and she has 7 bullet wounds. She’s in surgery today.”
“Did they catch who did it?”
“It was some men from Kano State. They fled into the hills and the villagers tracked them down. They butchered one of the men, put his body parts into a bag, and took it down and turned it in to the CGI, the security forces. Some they burned. Some they turned over alive. They were making a statement, this is what you’ll get if you do it again.”
“I guess that would serve as a deterrent.”
“But it never is. One violent act precipitates a retaliatory act. It only escalates. It’s interesting. I have a workshop in the villages with the youth two weeks after I get back, peacemaking and conflict resolution.”
“Are you going to discuss what happened?”
“It’s not a matter of discussing it. I can talk about it. I just can’t say, what you did is wrong. If I did, I’d lose them in a second.”
“It’s a little ironic that when we need peacemaking most is when it’s impossible to talk about.”
“It’s a habit of thought, a process. Not a sudden conversion. That’s what we’re trying to create. Look at your own country. All gung ho to bomb Syria. When there’s no proof Assad used chemical weapons. Assad is not a stupid man. Why would he risk that kind of retaliation? It’s a set-up.”
On the radio I hear a snippet of Kerry’s speech, our country’s resolve, blah blah. Pull up a ship and blast a few cruise missiles. That’s credibility for you.
Blessed are the peacemakers whistling in the wind.