As Ekklesia has reported recently, FARC and the government are moving ahead with peace talks in Colombia. But many questions remain about the current process, and as this Christian Peacemaker Teams briefing indicates, what lies behind it is a decidedly mixed history. Can the politics of hope overcome a legacy of oppression and despair?
All too often 'peace' becomes merely the absence of war, an aspiration beyond present circumstances, a limited discourse controlled by assumptions about the normality of conflict, or a moral choice alongside 'just war'. All these lazy or restrictive assumptions need challenging - and they are being, at the first global churches' and faith-conveyed peace gathering of its kind.
Civilian protection requires simple, straightforward dialogue and negotiation with the people who can control whether other people are safe or not. It also works, say Tim Wallis of Nonviolent Peaceforce. As soon as we bring guns, tanks and air support into the picture, we are talking about something which more often than not does not work, and often makes things worse.
From the smallest village to the biggest town in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) people are yearning for peace, says Fredrick Nzwili. Church leaders are encouraging the rebel fighters to disarm.
The government suffered a humiliating defeat as MPs backed a resolution calling for former Gurkhas to be allowed to settle in the UK without restriction, raising further questions about rights for soldiers and unjust immigration policies.
This Sunday 9 November, churches up and down the country will make a political statement which will be widely covered across print and broadcast media, says Jonathan Bartley. But it is likely to pass without so much as a murmur of criticism.
The UN Liaison Office of the World Council of Churches and Mennonites have co-sponsored an international dialogue between some 300 religious leaders and political figures - including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.