“In the Babemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, and every man, woman, and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual. Then each person in the tribe speaks to the accused, one at a time, recalling the good things the person in the center of the circle has done in his lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy, is recounted. All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths, and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. This tribal ceremony often lasts for several days. At the end, the circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe.”
– Jack Kornfield, On Forgiveness, excerpted in Transforming Terror: Remembering the Soul of the World, edited by Karin Lofthus Carrington and Susan Griffin.
“The heart has reasons that reason does not understand.”
I have ordered my copy of Transforming Terror: Remembering the Soul of the World, edited by Karin Lofthus Carrington and Susan Griffin, University of California Press.
In their own words:
“Over the last decade, whether in Palestine or Israel, Mumbai or Pakistan, Baghdad or Kabul, Rwanda or the Sudan, the United States, Spain, or Great Britain, we have witnessed a vicious cycle in which terrorism causes terror and the experience of terror seeds acts of terrorism. And yet, though the human emotions we all share— fear, grief, and loss— are so clearly part of this murderous equation, in delineating and defining this violence rarely does society consider the experience of terror that lies at the heart of terrorism.”
Heart and humanity are at the center of my writing. I am looking forward to reading this book, and to using it as an inspiration for an upcoming presentation I will be giving at the University of Connecticut at Storrs on September 15 on the multivalent meanings contained in the still-evocative term, “ground zero.”
Buy the book. Read it with me. Tell me what you think.