This Light That Pushes Me
In the week that marks the twentieth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, Quakers in Britain launch an extraordinary book of photographs: This Light that Pushes Me.
The book features more than 20 peacebuilders from sub-Saharan Africa; all are Quakers or involved with Quaker work and all have experienced violence. Using photographs and personal testimonies, This Light that Pushes Me traces the journeys that have transformed that suffering into a force for social change.
Among the testimonies is this from Cécile Nyiramana from Rwanda who says: “Someone can’t forgive with a broken heart. We need first to heal our wounds… Then start the work of peace and reconciliation.”
More than 40 peacebuilders in Africa offered their stories and conducted many of the interviews with one another. The stories were gathered and edited by Laura Shipler Chico, programme manager for Peacebuilding in East Africa for Quaker Peace & Social Witness, a department of Quakers in Britain.
“Moving and extraordinary… These friends exhibit tenderness in both senses: carrying an acute awareness of pain and yet treating those around them with care and hope.” Peter Woodrow, Executive Director, CDA
“Extraordinary accounts of people who experienced the worst that a human can do, yet turned their suffering into grace, forgiveness and healing. Each story is an inspiration.” Carolyn Hayman, Chief Executive, Peace Direct
The photographer, Nigel Downes says: “I want people to look at these photographs and recognise something of themselves in them.”
Speaking about the inspiration for the project, Laura Shipler Chico says:
“Weaving throughout these stories is the belief that somewhere within our imperfect selves, however hidden under layers of grief, loss, tragedy, hurt, and disillusion, there is something good, something wise, something knowing. And it is this Divine kernel that pushes us to keep struggling to fix our broken world; to transform hurt and grief and the human lust for vengeance into something new, into a commitment to peace no matter the cost. This book invites us to do what the peacebuilders in this book have been striving to do for a long time: listen – with simplicity – for the truth. And when we hear it, let us walk side by side right into the heart of hurt, the deep and frightening darkness, and look for light.”