Democratic Republic of Congo: Pax Christi International trains the youth of Kinshasa in active nonviolence


7/8/18 - The following article appeared in French in the journal of CENCO. You can read it in French here.

by Pétronelle Lusamba

Pax Christi International, in partnership with the Centre d’information et d’animation missionnaire (CIAM), launched the training sessions on active nonviolence and entrepreneurship for young people last Saturday, 28 July 2018. It was the young people of Saint Catherine de Lemba parish who had the honor of being the first to benefit from this training which will extend throughout the capital of Kinshasa.

From Saturday 28 July to Sunday 29 July, the young people of the St. Catherine Chaplaincy were provided with notions on nonviolence.

During the two days, the trainers called the youth to awareness and responsibility as they live in a society full of violence, where it is important to aspire to change, to a transformation of lives, minds, country and the world.

Ms. Manuella Kidiamboko, one of the trainers, addressed issues of conflict and violence. In her speech on conflicts, she explained to young people how to prevent and manage conflict. She explained that the conflict can be intra-personal, inter-personal, inter-group. Conflict arises from disagreement over a thought, a decision, a point of view: when there are differences between two or more people the conflict is inevitable. Manuella noted some benefits that can be gained from conflict. She talked about rebuilding even stronger relationships, making things better, growing...

Speaking of violence, Manuella emphasized the importance of managing conflict to avoid violence. She defined violence as a consequence of conflict that has not been well managed. She says it's an abuse of strength, a misguided aggression. "Violence can be done to others or to oneself by not accepting oneself, mutilating oneself, changing one's sex, and so on. It can be through speech, behavior, attitude, thought, gaze, etc”. The trainer then urged the youth to fight the violence around them by building an equivalence relationship in order to make all of them equal in a respect and mutual love and promoting the six pillars of peace whose freedom from violence, oppression, dignity against contempt, truth against falsehood, forgiveness against revenge, justice against injustice, finally love against hatred.

As for Jean Baptiste Nsawanga, he focused on nonviolent communication and active nonviolence. The trainer began by explaining the difference between a “jackal language” that judges, imposes, is aggressive, qualifying and frustrating; and the “giraffe language” which is sweet, thoughtful and tolerant. Jean Baptiste explained that in order to engage in a nonviolent communication, one needs a soft language which gives a lot of consideration to his/her interlocutor.

Nonviolence was the last topic of the trainer who explained to young people that it is a doctrine of resolving conflict without using violence. Nonviolence does not mean to be passive. It is acting with tact to know how to express one's position, to make one's voice heard without using force or violence. It is good to adopt the attitudes of nonviolence: to love those who are violent, to help them to change, to offer them nonviolent resistance, to be merciful following the example of Jesus Christ.

Young people who are satisfied with this training have expressed the wish to learn even more about nonviolence. Emi Kazadi, a singer in the Regina Caeli choir, said that it is for her the first time to benefit from this kind of training which she describes as very important for the youth she represents. "I learned a lot during this training, not to be passive in the face of violence, but rather to act tactfully to make others understand that violence does not solve anything".

Pax Christi International is a Catholic movement for peace, a global network of more than 100 autonomous member organizations in 50 countries across 5 continents. Pax Christi International contributes to Catholic understanding and commitment to nonviolence. His collaboration with CIAM is justified by the fact that CIAM is a working tool of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (ICMC) for the awakening of African consciences and particularly those of the DRC.

Petronelle Lusamba, CENCO, active nonviolence, Great Lakes, Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa, nonviolence, CIAM, Centre d’information et d’animation missionnaire