credit the Mothers with having played a vitally important role, since
they were not only the first (and subsequently most vocal) group to
highlight the human rights abuses in the country, but were instrumental
in mobilizing national and international support…The springboard for the
universal mobilization of consciousness was the unsung, heroic
achievement of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.”
Woman 1: Wow! Who would have dreamed that a few heartbroken mothers
could have achieved so much.
Woman 3: Still brokenhearted. But our loss is a nation’s gain. Thanks
to our efforts, maybe this won’t happen again to other mothers’ sons.
(For more details, see Dylan Mathews, War Prevention Works: 50 Stories
of People Resolving Conflict (Oxford: Oxford Research Group, 2001),
42-43; and Walter Wink, When the Powers Fall: Reconciliation in the
Healing of Nations (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998), 44-46.)
The Saint of Ayodhya (India)
This is the story of Hindu/Muslim conflict in 1991, and what one very
courageous Hindu holy man was able to do to stop it. His name is Mahant
(the head of a spiritual institution, something like our abbot) Gyan
Das, and he took on a politician named Praveen Togadia and his political
thugs, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad party (VHP). The VHP in turn belongs
to the World Hindu Council, which, despite its official sounding title,
is an extremist right wing party that espouses Hindu cultural supremacy
through violence. Their enemies are the minority Muslims, who are
regularly attacked in Hindu-fomented riots and pogroms.
(Abbot enters room with local Muslim and Hindu leaders. They sit in a
Abbot Gyan Das: Sometimes it helps to have the prestige that comes from
being head priest of one of the most holy temples in the city of
Ayodhya. When the VHP stirred up a riot earlier in the month, I was
able to stand in their path and make them stop and then scatter. Now
they threaten another riot, using people outside our state who may not
share veneration of our temple as the birthplace of the Lord Ram. I
fear that my personal prestige may not prevail this time.
Muslim Leader 1: We are grateful that you have consistently stood
against them, sometimes at the risk of your own life. We have tried in
every way we can to keep our own Muslim people from taking up arms and
setting off a full scale religious war. But what can we do? We are
outnumbered, and the right wing government is actually in collusion with
the VHP, so there is no where we can turn for help.