Creativity, Human dignity, Leadership, Stories from life, Strategic planning

Weapons in the war on terror – Soap and water

Another example of creative solutions in the battle for human dignity.


“They are coming with a large mob to attack all the Christians here and destroy the church!” the leaders of the local mosques informed Bishop Thomas. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, lawlessness was a common feature in Egypt. A group of violent Islamists were planning on attacking after Friday prayers and the local mosque leaders had gotten wind of it. These leaders wanted to warn their Christian neighbors and help them if they could.

Bishop Thomas called a meeting of with Christians and Muslims alike attending. He described the situation as he understood it from his Muslim friends and they together looked for a solution. The Christians were naturally afraid. They had all experienced such violence before, but this appeared to be of a much larger scale. They knew that in the climate of fear that now gripped Egypt, notifying the police ahead of time would do little to stop the coming mob. Arming themselves and fighting fire with fire was also discounted as it did not fit the Bishop’s philosophy of not meeting hate with hate, but rather with love. This did not prevent, however, mean that the Christians simply would have to meekly stand by while they were beaten, murdered and their church was demolished. But, what could they possibly hope to do against the soon approaching horde?

Bishop Thomas pondered all of this and then requested that they do the following. Go to your homes and gather all of your soap; dishwashing detergent, hand soap, shampoo, etc. Everyone should then pour it into the street leading from the edge of the village to the church. Then he instructed everyone to pour water onto the road and then come and wait in the church to pray.

So, Christian and Muslims neighbors quickly went home and began doing as the Bishop had requested. When all was finished and everyone was safely in the church they waited for the attack. But it never came. The violent Islamists, gathered outside the gates to the village, agitating themselves into a frenzy. Then they began marching down the road leading to the church. Much to their surprise they began slipping, sliding and falling on the road. They could make little headway. After some time struggling to stay on their feet the anger and violent passion of the jihadists washed away and they left the village.

There are many weapons that have been used in the war on terror. Many of them entail weapons that maim and kill the jihadists giving rise to new jihadists who must avenge the deaths of their martyred brothers and sisters. I doubt seriously, though, that anyone will feel the need to avenge someone who has suffered a sprained ankle or scraped knee because of falling on a road covered in soap and water :-)!



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