Irish man blinded by rubber bullet to tell story of forgiveness

By staff writers
March 23, 2009

Students in Westminster will today hear the story of a man who was blinded after being shot by a British soldier - but went on to found a charity to help children affected by conflict around the world.

Year 11 and 12 students from Catholic Schools in Westminster Diocese will hear Richard Moore share his inspiring story of forgiveness and determination at a gathering organised by Pax Christi.

Mr Moore, who was blinded by a rubber bullet after being shot by a British soldier in Derry as a boy of 10 in 1972, went on to found Children in Crossfire to help other children across the world who are caught in conflict.

Speaking of the importance of this work he said: "I have first hand experience of what it is like to have your whole life changed or affected by conflict. In the last 10 years Children in Crossfire has been working to improve the lives of young people right across the world. We have seen the difference that support and understanding can make."

In 2007 Richard met the soldier, an Army captain when the incident took place, who was responsible for the shooting. Richard said he did not want the meeting to be about "revisiting the evidence" about the circumstances of the shooting. "What I was doing was meeting a human being behind the gun that was fired at me.

"At least we agreed on the fact that I wasn't a rioter - because that was something that was very strong to me." He added: "I was a child going home from school, and it is important that the soldier accepts some bottom line as well. I feel that he and I - where we may not agree on everything - reached a common ground that both of us can live with."

The gathering will take place at St Pancras Parish Church, Euston Road between 10.00 am and 12.30 pm this morning and will be introduced by Bruce Kent, Vice-President of Pax Christi Pax Christi.

The organisation is offering this opportunity to young people who are exploring the meaning of forgiveness and reconciliation in their own lives.

At a time with the Peace Process in Northern Ireland is being challenged by violent attacks from the Real IRA, it is important to be reminded of the consequences of violence and to hear of stories of healing and peacemaking, the groups says.

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