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Every year, going back to the time shortly after the outbreak of civil war in Lebanon, groups representing Lebanon’s diverse and divided factions have taken part in the Initiative of Change conferences in Caux, Switzerland. They have come from Maronite, Orthodox, Melkite, Sunni, Shiite and Druze communities. On their return to Lebanon they have worked on the ground for a genuine national reconciliation, without which the reconstruction of the country may be in vain.
Among these Lebanese personalities is Assaad Chaftari, former head of security services of the Christian Phalange militia. In the year 2000, ten years after the end of the war in Lebanon, he wrote an ‘open letter’ of apology for his actions, published in the main Lebanese daily newspaper, Al Nahar: In his apology to his war victims, he asked for forgiveness and promised to try, with God’s help, to do any reparation he could. ‘I decided to get rid of my prejudices, jokes and contemptuous attitude against the Muslims.’ He added that he had also forgiven his enemies, some of whom were Christians like him.
Others taking part in the dialogues include former Muslim militia member, Mohieddine Chehab who also apologized for atrocities he had committed during the war.
You can see Chehab and Shaftari interviewed here, for the first Pangea Day global media event. http://www.pangeaday.org/filmDetail.php?id=62
A special film was also made for the event: 2 men, 1 war, 33 years on...
Who we are: Initiatives of Change (IofC) is a world-wide movement of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, who are committed to the transformation of society through changes in human motives and behaviour, starting with their own.
Purpose: We work to inspire, equip and connect people to address world needs, starting with themselves, in the areas of trustbuilding, ethical leadership and sustainable living.
Omnia Marzouk, President, IofC International
'Nothing lasting can be built without a desire by people to live differently and exemplify the changes they want to see in society.'