Then and there, on the ochre sand of the Sahel desert, by the wells we had dug, we had to review the principles which could guide our steps, for the times to come in the new Millenium – in the years that would hold the biggest challenge yet, peace in the “Holy Land” :
1. The principle of freedom.
The need for freedom is our first priority, in terms of conditions that enable us to think and act. “Peace Lines is a non-confessional, non-partisan organization, without borders, open to all free beings of good-will.” (2nd Article of the Statutes)
2. The refusal of hatred and resentment.
We are well aware that, often enough, there is no running away from a conflict, when our freedom, our dignity, our peace are at stake. What we refuse to accept is the hateful aspect of vengeance. Disagreement does not have to lead to discord.
3. The principle of equality.
Because all people are equal, absolutely, we cannot accept any discriminatory speech. Thus, to let human beings suffer in their distress, under the pretext of fate or helplessness, is the very beginning of the process of segregation and collective extermination. We accept no kind of separatism, or apartheid, whatever their logics may be.
4. The principle of unity, and equivalence of sufferings.
What is happening far from us does not necessarily prevail over what is happening within our walls. Here too, like there, we witness the daily horror, and rampant fires of hate and exclusion. We cannot forget the warning : “It is the infinite sum of our breaches, however little they may be, that makes great catastrophes possible.” The envenomed conflicts around us poison our lives too much to be tolerated, even for one single day. How can we make peace in the distance, if we are not at peace amongst our closest circles ?
5. The principle of defence of minorities, of the oppressed.
Oppression exists, under multiple masks, and we fight it wherever it triggers its too familiar sequence of hate, personal boycotts, denials of dialogue. Inasmuch, our fight remains non-violent : we do not resort to the oppressors' means, be they civilians in the private sphere, or uniformed persons in the public domain.
6. The principle of non-judgement.
To be finished with judgement : such is one of our daily absolute priorities, in all our relations, infected as they are by centuries of oppression, fear and phobias, and multiple forms of violence. Do not close the door to dialogue...
7. The emancipation from, and eradication of, stereotyped opinions.
Because we live in a world saturated with partial news, and disinformation, and because we have no wish whatsoever of deceiving or being deceived. In this light, we consider it our innermost priority to methodically emancipate ourselves from ready-made opinions, and root out any system of creeds that lead to tensions, exclusive particularisms, and resulting tragedies.
8. The refusal to carry and use arms; our opposition to the death penalty.
We accept neither retaliation nor revenge. Because we consider everything that lives to be holy, we refuse to fight with weapons and death what we can fight through the spirit and the vigilant determination to live peacefully and safely.
9. The awareness of our limits.
Because we cannot get involved with every earthly challenge, we have to stay lucid about what we define our concerns to be, what is within our control, and what is not. On the other hand, we will pursue with dedication our defined objectives – what we decide to do, where we decide to go – and will not give up until we have reached our goals : the silence of arms, the meeting of fundamental needs, and the development of constructive relations between people.
10. The principle of gratuity.
Because a life has no commercial value, and nothing is worth a life, because we refuse any form of slavery, we place as the foundation of our practice the donation of time and energy, acts of free will, voluntary deeds. What we do to live in peace has no price, and can never be priced. The freedom and gratuity of our acts are the very conditions by which we put an end to the system of prevailing general suspicion. The principle of gratuity, little by little, restores the highest degree of equality between us, known as humanity.
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