Is now available on this website – see STUDY GUIDE. It is a ten part study for small groups. Includes a facilitators guide; question sheets and an introductory video for each session. The Guide aims to help us gain personal insights from the award winning book: “From Genocide to Generosity”.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO RECOVER AFTER CONFLICT?
Many years ago the philosophers Gorovitz and MacIntyre wrote about human failings. They suggested that in the realms where control is within our reach, we have two reasons why we might still fail. The first is ignorance due to a partial understanding of how something works. The second type of failure is ineptitude – failing to apply the knowledge correctly.
These factors are of key importance to the possibility of recovery after conflict, tension, loss or other form of grief – both for the persons involved and for the relationship that is often spoiled by the effects of conflict.
First, we realize that we have been impacted, but may not understand exactly how and why the conflict has affected us. We need time to gain perspective and look into our experience – and we usually need supportive persons to do that well.
Our need then is to find such supportive persons. This is what community makes possible, especially if the group is not focused on trying to convince us about what is ‘right’ and what I ‘should do’. Rather the focus must be on a space for conversation where I can share my thoughts without being corrected or shamed.
Second, we may not be aware of how much we are affecting others with whom we relate. We will only get to know that when they can safely tell us and explain how and why we are affecting them.
This requires that I understand myself before I give thought to how I behave out of who I am. Deep reflection and honesty give me a chance to achieve this.
Third, we may feel estranged but do not know what are the steps by which we can recover balance and renew our connections.
These were key issues in the broken social relations in Rwanda after the 1994 genocide. World Vision asked me to discover ways to create space for Rwandans to face these challenges and make responses that would bring change.
I mentored a few Rwandans and they saw many people change and restore relationships that were broken by the worst acts of violence. Some of these people asked me to write their stories. Their stories contain principles of behavior change that any human can apply.
From Genocide to Generosity was published in 2015 with some powerful narratives and hope-filled changes. The Rwandan best-practice we used offers an antidote to ignorance and ineptitude. To find out how visit the on-line Study Guide at www.2live4give.org
John Steward, writer and speaker, Junction Village, Victoria
 Gorovitz and MacIntyre, Toward a theory of medical fallability, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 1 (1976): pp51-71.
Here is a useful link to some basic thoughts on why feelings are so important in the human journey.
This will take around 5mins to read; the material is helpful if you plan to use the Study guide TO LIVE WELL & TO DO WELL.
This book is both interesting and enlightening. It tackles one of the consequences of the Genocide against the Tutsi that is misunderstood by many Rwandans: the internal or psychological wounds caused by the traumatic events experienced or witnessed during and after the genocide. Such trauma manifests itself in collective and individual life experience. The feelings that resulted among the Rwandans are known: fear, anxiety, bitterness, sorrow, shame, shock, uncertainty, distress, and confusion.
After the genocide a few programs addressed that challenge, if only in a superficial way. These programs aimed at a collective cure leading to peaceful coexistence. They led to a positive outcome but, for the author of this book, their effects would not last long because psychological wounds were not healed. Read More
Here’s a quick response to the newly released Study Guides, from an Australian in Geneva…
“Congratulations seems to be an entirely inadequate word – what an amazing “ministry” this is. I can see so many applications – Ukraine, Western Balkans, working with refugees and host communities etc – and am looking forward to a deeper dive.”
“We rarely fully explore the healing power of forgiveness in our day-to-day lives, so John Steward’s deeply personal, first-hand view of sacrificial forgiveness in the midst of the Rwandan genocide is unimaginable. The personal journeys of pain and reconciliation will break your heart and inspire you. This book, emerging from experience with World Vision staff and the communities they touched, will change your perspective on the human condition.”
Kevin J. Jenkins, President and Chief Executive Officer, World Vision International
A Song for Nagasaki by Paul Glynn, Marist Fathers Books, Hunters Hill, NSW, 1988, 168pp.
I will forever be grateful for the friend who sent me this book. It is one of the most influential books in my life, and I made more marks and underlining in it than in any other book I have ever read. Here I met one of the world’s great Peacemakers: Doctor Takashi Nagai (“The well that lasts”).
“John Steward’s book provides a powerful and moving account of how recovery after genocide is possible. He inspires us with the stories of Rwandans who have been able to face their past and find hope in the future as they discover the potential for forgiveness and healing.”
Dr Wendy Lambourne, Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney.
After the genocide of 1994 Rwanda was a country with a national mental health crisis. Not only had most of its citizens suffered horrendous losses and abuses, but to compound the trauma, many were unable to find out what had happened to loved ones, or locate their bodies for burial. In 1997, the author and his wife felt called to go there and work with an NGO in the healing process. This is their story, of all the listening they did to start with, then the workshops they ran with a focus on healing and reconciliation. I was particularly impressed with the community based justice system which was focused more on restorative justice rather than punitive justice. Finally, he includes a 12 step program towards forgiveness which I found very powerful. The individual stories in this book are heartrending, but ultimately it’s a book of hope and healing.
Rich with insight…how one country can sink so low, so quickly…How ethnic tensions can simmer and then explode, or rather, how easily a group (mostly male) can come under the domination of leaders to do the most vile deeds. But then, the role of HOPE, in bringing people out of the worst darkness. where they encounter healing and learn to forgive…and be forgiven. How extreme enemies can become family…through forgiveness and the desire to restore…reconcile.
Heather Jephcott, poet and author of Open Hearts, Quiet Streams, Indonesia.
At the time of the Rwandan genocide, it was said that there were no more devils in Hell because they were all in Rwanda. In 1994, almost one million people were killed by the systematic interethnic violence. When the massacre stopped, refugees returned to Rwanda, fuelling reprisals and disputes over land. This unimaginable catastrophe created a mental health crisis, with few citizens unaffected.
So many put their hands to work – communicating and giving.
Your contributions to support creation of the study guide to accompany the book “From Genocide to Generosity” were just great. We are now 90% there to make this peace study possible. I am really pleased with the content and process. Now I am focused on getting the material into the best shape to be on-line. Hope to do this by the end of Jan ’18.
White ribbon day, Nov 25th, 2016
By John Steward.
This is such an important day on the world calendar: the international day for elimination of the violence against women. This day commences the UNs 16 days of activism against Gender-based violence and the action to “Orange the world”.
I am ‘all for’ this focus.
And yet I don’t feel satisfied. It is not enough, not even close. It’s the same feeling I have when I see the signs that read: SAY NO TO VIOLENCE.