Trauma and injustice from violent conflict impact all of us, up close and at a distance. Dynamics around past trauma and injustice lead to new rounds of con- flict. Outrage, pain and silence around injustice and trauma from violent conflict are combustible fuel. The fuel doesn’t just blow up on its own. Throughout his- tory, and in our current world scene, government and military state terror tactics readily exploit these dynamics, as do terrorist tactics, to stir new rounds of vio- lence.1 Grappling with community trauma and issues of accountability through- out society—so that we are less susceptible to such tactics—is of critical import- ance to peace-making and violence prevention.
Take a moment to think about how easily you can unconsciously fall into repeating rounds of conflict, at your own kitchen sink, especially where you’ve been hurt. Conflicts repeat with partners, family, colleagues or inside your own heart. If life teaches us something as individuals, it may be that just when you think you’ve worked out how to not fall back into an old pattern, it comes back once more. At the same time, life challenges us to become conscious and grow into a sense of responsibility and choice in how we deal with even the most painful difficulties life brings.