25th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide: Quaker reconciliation work

Sizeli Marcellin lost 95 members of his family in the Rwandan genocide that took place between April and July 1994. After the killings stopped, Sizeli became a peacebuilder. Today, he’s a member of “Turning the Tide” , a  campaign for nonviolence, supported by British Quakers . Listen to his extraordinary story and that of other Rwandans here: https://soundcloud.com/qpsw-east-africa/sizeli-marcellin
See also: Quaker Peace and Social Witness on Twitter.

The Fifth University for Peace, April 8-13 at the Paris Student Residence Centre

The fifth Peace University gathering at the “Cité Universitaire” student complex in southern Paris will focus on the world climate crisis and actions that need to be taken immediately to fight global warming and bring about unprecedented change to all aspects of society.

Among the six round-table gatherings and lectures planned, the one being held on in the evening of Tuesday April 9 at the Argentinian residence will focus on an interfaith approach. Continue reading

A Nobel Prize for Africa, and for Women

2011: Congolese women march from Paris to Brussels to protest against rape in the DR Congo. Photo Réveil FM International

Our Friend Freddy Mulongo has long been fighting for freedom, peace and human rights for his country of origin, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Along with other members of the Congolese exile community in France, he has notably denounced the widespread sexual crimes committed against women in the war-torn country. On December 10th, that work bore fruit with the award of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize to the Congolese surgeon Denis Mukwege, for his work treating women victims of rape and other forms of torture. Freddy Mulongo was at the award ceremony, as both a journalist and a peace activist.

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Paris, 1942: An Extraordinary Witness to the Deportation of Jews

A new book by Frédéric Anquetil tells the story of Annette Monod Leiris, a Quaker who was practically the only person able to help the thousands of Jews who were rounded up by the French Vichy authorities in July 1942, and detained in horrific conditions in a Parisian cycling stadium before being deported to the death camps.

Annette, whose role during the infamous “Vél d’Hiv” round-up is also shown in the 2010 French film “La Rafle“, went on after the war to work tirelessly for prisoners, and also helped set up the Association of Christians for the Abolition of Torture, or ACAT, which is still going strong today.

Frédéric Anquetil will be at the International Quaker Centre in Paris at 2:00 pm on Sunday, February 3, 2019 to give a talk about his book, “L’ange du Vél d’Hiv” (The Angel of the Vel d’Hiv round-up).

A poem for Armistice Day

The Dead

In the wind that blows
The veils of widows
All float on one side

And the mingled tears
Of a thousand sorrows
In one stream glide.

Pressing each other close the dead
Who own no hatred and no flag,
Their hair veneered with clotted blood,
The dead are all on the same side.

In the one clay where endlessly
Beginnings blend with the world that dies
The bothered dead lain cheek to cheek
Today atone for the same defeat.

Divided sons, fight on, fight on,
You lacerate humanity
And tear the earth apart in vain,
The dead are all on the same side;

Under the earth no more than one
One field, one single hope abide,
As for the universe can only be
One combat and one victory.

René Arcos, translated from the French

2018 Yearly Meeting of French Quakers

French Quakers held their 92nd National Assembly, or Yearly Meeting, from Saturday, October 27 to Tuesday, October 30 2018 in Paris
This year’s theme was “Despair and Confidence: Quaker Responses in this Time of Troubles
Keynote speakers were Olivia Caeymaex, Peace Programme Lead at the Quaker Council for European Affairs in Brussels, and Paul Parker, “Recording Clerk” of British Yearly Meeting.
More info (in French) on the “Quakers in France” site