January 12, 2002
Oka. Rwanda. Somalia. Sudan. Belfast. Afghanistan. The list of conflicts keeps growing, but our understanding of their causes does not. As we watch the television news or read the newspaper accounts we say to ourselves, “How can human beings act this way towards each other?”
In this important and timely book, Vern Neufeld Redekop looks behind the headlines and uncovers the roots of such deep hatreds. He shows how a disposition towards violence is deeply ingrained – not only in these infamous conflicts, but in many other human situations. These inclinations towards violence often subvert the potential for peace and reconciliation.
Redekop takes his readers on a guided tour of violence in the world. He then presents, in a clear and accessible way, the implications of Rene Girard’s work on how, as a culture, we tend to act out repeated patterns of violence.
But From Violence to Blessing is about getting beyond the “mimetic violence” that Rene Girard describes. Sharing his extensive experience as one of Canada’s foremost leaders in conflict resolution, Redekop shows how deep-rooted conflict and violence can slowly be transformed into peace and reconciliation.
Vern Neufeld Redekop, the former director of the Canadian Institute for conflict resolution, directs the development of the Conflict Studies programs at Saint Paul University, Ottawa.