Monday, April 16, 2007

Former Female Militant Fights For Peace

UPDATE: Check out the new blog covering the Mid East: Outsider On The Inside

Came across this article today, about a former female militant who fought for a Christian militia in Lebanon's civil war of the late 70's and 80's. She's all for peace now, but the article provides an interesting look into what armed conflict has meant to some in the region, and leaves hope for some sense of maturity and realization of the cost of war on society.
Jocelyne Khoweiry was 20 years old when she first carried arms during the 1975-90 civil war. Now 51, she is working forcefully for peace.

"In 1975 I was ready to die for my country. Today I want to live for its sake," Khoweiry said on the 32nd anniversary of the outbreak of the 15-year civil war that killed more than 150,000 people.

Khoweiry, in a rare interview, said that she wanted to "relay a message of peace" at a time when many people fear that deeply divided Lebanon may plunge back into the devastating violence and chaos of civil war.

"I tell the young Lebanese of today war is not a game," said Khoweiry, founder and director of the Pope John Paul II Center which provides social, psychological, and medical assistance for those in need. "When violence breaks out it becomes deaf. Nothing stops it."

...

"After carrying arms, I thought repeatedly about becoming a nun. When you see so much violence and drama, you start asking questions about men, death, and God."

In 2000 she founded the Pope John Paul II Center in Ghadir, a mountainous village in the Christian heartland northeast of Beirut, with the help of other "sisters in arms" who discarded their guns to become "messengers of hope and peace."


The former militant insists that her military and spiritual endeavors have much in common.

"Military combat is also an ascetic, mystical ex
perience: one sacrifices oneself in wars - just like in religion," she said.

 
AddMe - Search Engine Optimization