Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rebuilding a better world, one survivor at a time

Most people have heard at least something about the international campaign to ban landmines. Many have even heard that the late Princess Diana was involved. For most of us though, that is as far as it goes.

Until a few weeks ago, I had never heard of Jerry White, let alone known that he is a leader in the international fight against landmines. I didn't know that he has this calling because he himself lost his leg to a landmine when he entered an unmarked minefield in the north of Israel, my own country, in 1984. I didn't know about his struggle to redefine his life after his accident, to choose survival, and I didn't know that he had taken it one step further, going on to found the Nobel Peace Price-winning Landmine Survivors Network (LSN), the same organization that Princess Diana was involved with.

I didn't know that he had recently expanded LSN's mission from aiding those injured by landmines to aiding all those who are victims of the worst epidemic of all - the very preventable epidemic of war and violence. The new mission bears a new name as well - Survivor Corps - which reflects both its calling and its philosophy.

Now I know, and I am proud to help spread the word. As you can see from their website,

"Survivor Corps is a nonprofit organization that serves victims of global conflict, by providing tools and support to help them rebuild their lives, improve their communities, and ultimately work together to break the cycle of violence in the world."

They do this through peer support, training and international advocacy, right in the affected communities. After all, who has more of a stake in ending a conflict than those scarred by it? Take some time to visit Survivor Corps' website and read their stories.

Innocent bystanders in faraway places are not the only ones who need encouragement to choose survival. Soldiers returning home from war also need support. Survivor Corps is launching a special program to help American Service members connect with each other and their communities to work together to heal the trauma of war and re-find their place in the world.

Jerry White has taken the lessons he has learned from his journey, and the innumerable lessons he has gathered from others who walk their own paths towards survival, and has written a book - I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis - which strives to answer the question "given that bad things do happen, how do people absorb the blows and move through them?" How do we come back after a major life blow - a death, an illness, an accident, loss of a loved one, loss of a job... What determines whether we sink into despair or claw our way back into the light?

I am pleased to announce that Around the Island will be a stop on I Will Not Be Broken's upcoming blogosphere book tour and look forward to sharing my impressions with you. Given what I've read of Jerry White's story so far (and the sneak preview I got of the first few chapters) it's sure to be a powerful and inspiring read.


Lea said...

Robin, this is so inspiring. I just left Rodriquez Style, http://rodrigvitzstyle.typepad.com/ where she just posted on Three Cups of Tea and here you are carrying it further... oh that the energy of violence can be transformed. Transformed, not stamped out, energy taken and redirected into life... what abundance and beauty this will bring... thank you. XO

Claremont First Ward said...

I just tagged you for what I think is a GREAT meme. Come see......

Phyllis Sommer said...

wow, this is great. i can't wait to read more...you rock, robin!