Inheriting non-violent way of life from father of the Okinawan civil rights movement
June 30, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
By Hiroe Nakagawa
On June 17, Kazuyuki Sasaki, who teaches Peace Studies at a university in the Republic of Rwanda, located in central Africa, and his wife Megumi visited the “Wabiai no Sato” foundation in Ie Village. They had a conversation with the foundation director Etsuko Jahana who shares the way of life and philosophy of the late Shoko Ahagon, the father of the Okinawan civil rights movement who devoted his life to the peace movement and fought non-violently and reasonably. Tracing the trajectory of Ahagon, Sasaki will introduce the story of Ahagon in his class.
Sasaki has lived in Rwanda for eleven years. He did research through a graduate program in England on peacebuilding. He has engaged in supporting reconciliation between perpetrators and victims who still suffer from the Rwanda genocide of 1994. Currently, he works as the head of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Science in Rwanda and gives lectures on the theme of “non-violence theories and practices.”
In his lectures, Sasaki refers to Ahagon in addition to the world’s great peace figures such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Sasaki visited “Wabiai no Sato” to learn about Ahagon’s personality and ways of life, which he said he could not grasp only from reading books.
Jahana described Ahagon as “conservative and committed while not being negative or a follower. He fought non-violently without using any abusing words or violence until the end. I think his principle won. He kept saying, ‘The weapon of peace is learning,’ and he studied hard. He was humorous.”
Sasaki said, “In Rwanda, perpetrators, who engaged in the genocide, got back into society and rejoined in the same village. The challenge is reconciliation and harmonious coexistence of both. I have a student, who suffered the loss of their father during the genocide. I would like to teach Ahagon’s ways of life and lessons for peacebuilding.”
(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)
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