As Europe reels from the events unfolding in France we see how desperately the message of Non-violent Conflict Resolution through Forgiveness needs to be spread throughout the whole world.

The Story of Christian de Chergé and his fellow monks in Algeria is a theology of hope.  This could not be a more timely or buoyant story of modern martyrs who sacrificed their lives for their faith and for the Muslims who lived around them. 

Breaking the Cycle upholds this story as a wonderful example of true nonviolence and forgiveness in response to Terrorism.

On May 24, 1996, a group of Islamic terrorists announced that they had "slit the throats" of seven French Trappist monks whom they had kidnapped from the monastery of Tibherine in Algeria and held as hostages for two months.  The superior of the monastery, Father Christian de Chergé, had left with his family a testament "to be opened in the event of my death," and after his murder.  Chergé's letter written prior to his death forgiving his captors, is remarkably powerful.

An account can be read from Why Forgive?  In the Chapter “Bless Your Persecutors.”   See also the film on his life: Of Gods and Men .

This letter reads in part:

If it should happen one day -and it could be today- that I become a victim of the terrorism that now seems to en­ compass all the foreigners living in Algeria, I would like my community, my church, my family, to remember that my life was given to God and to Algeria; and that they accept that the sole Master of all life was not a stranger to this brutal departure.

I would like, when the time comes, to have a space of clearness that would allow me to beg forgiveness of God and of my fellow human beings, and at the same time to forgive with all my heart the one who will strike me down.  I could not desire such a death; it seems to me important to state this:  How could I rejoice if the Algerian people I love were indiscriminately accused of my murder?

My death, obviously, will appear to confirm those who hastily judged me naive or idealistic: "Let him tell us now what he thinks of it!" But they should know that...for this life lost, I give thanks to God.  In this "thank you,” which is said for everything in my life from now on, I certainly include you, my last-minute friend who will not have known what you are doing...!commend you to the God in whose face I see yours.  And may we find each other, happy "good thieves" in Paradise, if it please God, the Father of us both.