“In peacebuilding sometimes it takes twenty years to notice a seed has sprouted.” —John Paul Lederach
This quote is part of an haibun, a style of composition combining haiku and prose, and is included in Lederach’s essay, “Haibuns and Untold Stories.” A personal reflection on his peacebuilding work in Colombia these last decades, the essay uses the poetry of Pablo Neruda to pose questions like: “How can I heal if the violence has not ended?” and “How do we reconcile with people we never knew?”
In “The Art of Peace,” Lederach recounts a speech delivered by the Colombian campesino Josué Vargas, who stood up to a paramilitary general and inadvertently sprouted a nonviolent peace movement there nearly 24 years ago. Several listeners, including Marie Beard in Alpharetta, Georgia, inquired about Vargas’ speech. As it happens, Lederach includes Vargas’ address in its entirety in “Haibuns and Untold Stories.” So, we’ve posted it here for Marie and others who are interested in learning more about this man and his words.
In the image above, John Paul Lederach meets with peacebuilders in Colombia in 2009. (photo: Esperanza Hernandez D.)