We’re continuing on the theme of The Nature of Peace, this the fourth of several excerpts from an address I gave in Hamilton, Canada in November 2014. Excerpt #1 is here and #2 is here and #3 is here.
Last week I was at a pool in Uganda doing my lanes. And most of the time when I swim in Uganda this particular pool is empty because Ugandans don’t swim. But this day there was a little girl there – she looked about 10 years old – and she was trying to learn to swim and she came up to me in the water and said, “Okay. I’ll climb on your back and you’ll swim and carry me and I’ll kick.”
I thought, “Are you crazy? This pool is 20 metres! It has a deep end!” But then I looked at the side and thought, “Okay, if I stay close to the edge, it will be fine.” So I did, and everything was fine. That girl trusted me more than I trusted myself.
Some years ago, Jean was almost killed in Yemen. That story of the murders in the hospital in Yemen that I shared at the beginning of this talk? – Jean was supposed to be there. That’s how close we’ve experienced danger in our overseas work. The Spectator reported that. And, after that, we stayed in Yemen for three more years, eventually moving to Uganda for other reasons.
So is making peace a risk? Of course. So is getting up every morning a risk.
Once I accidentally got between two Ugandans who were fighting. It’s like I got between Enzo and Robin from those old school fights. We had helped one and the other got jealous. We had actually helped both over the years. So, one day I got this message:
I u trying to support that killer? Last night we so that traitor richard coming there, u gave him some thing. If we happen to see him oh his relative with them u will arrested oh burnt 2 death with ur family. Stupid Canada, stop mistrearting people instead of blessing u will reap ceases ….
As they say, with friends like that, who needs enemies? But we make peace with our enemies, not our friends, right? Yes, we make peace with our enemies, not our friends. And with wisdom we learn the difference between real threats and threats that are just perceived.