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Peace at a Price: Sierrra Leone

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: October 5, 1999
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"In Sierra Leone, Peace Comes at a Price"

Article on front page of Los Angeles Times by Ann M. Simmons, on Tuesday, October 5, 1999. Article opens with an excerpt that sets the tone: "The rebel soldier who hacked off 8-year-old N'Damba Koroma's left hand--whoever and wherever he is--already has been pardoned." (At p. A1.)

As is traditional in news bites, this article tells a story, one meant to grab out attention. And it does. At the detailed practical level, our sympathies are clear. How could anyone hack off a child's hand? The picture of the child's innocent face accentuates our outrage.

How do we reconcile the rage we then feel with the policies we have learned in the U.S., with our sense that we are to be the policemen of the globe, that we will not permit such civil rights outrages? That we will protect and serve? That is the issue of peacemaking and social justice. A messy issue, one that carries much agony with it.

Hal Pepinsky approaches this dilemma in his Peacemaking Primer. One piece of his advice that made eminemt good sense to me and helped me in my own struggles with forgiveness, is that any peacemaking effort must also recognize and allow vent to the justifiable outrage within. If we do not provide for the expression of that affect, it will fester and poison the good faith of further discourse.

More to come. . .