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Le Fait Missionaire. Social Sciences & Missions, « War, peace and religion. Religion, guerre et paix. Sénégal, Guatemala, Angola »

Dorigny, Faculté de Théologie, Université de Lausanne, 13, October 2003, 160 p.
Inge Brinkman
p. 250-251
Référence(s) :

Le Fait Missionaire. Social Sciences & Missions (Dorigny, Faculté de Théologie, Université de Lausanne), 13, October 2003, ISSN : 1420-2018, Éric Morier-Genoud & Didier Péclard (eds), « War, peace and religion. Religion, guerre et paix. Sénégal, Guatemala, Angola », 160 p.

Texte intégral

1Le Fait Missionaire was established in 1995 at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Having started out as a series of working papers, it became an international journal in 2001. The journal focuses on religions, with an emphasis on the legacy of Christian missions and has contributions from various disciplines. Over the years Le Fait Missionaire has grown into a substantial journal with an international readership, especially as articles may appear in French or in English and, although mostly dealing with Southern Africa, frequent excursions are made into other regions.

2The volume under review here deals with the relations between war, peace and religion and contains articles on Senegal, Guatemala and Angola. In view of the global developments, in which the world is increasingly seen as one of "clashing civilizations", the approach taken by the editors and authors is most welcome. Instead of a generalised perspective that broadly sweeps the world’s religions into monolithic opposites, the journal’s contributions specify the religious context in detail and an attention to particular religious histories. Furthermore, instead of a view that relates religion exclusively to war, the role of religion is shown to be more ambivalent than that: the influence of religion may include tendencies to peace as well as to war.

3The first article by Vincent Foucher deals with the separatist movement MDFC (Mouvement Démocratique des Forces de Cassamance) in its relation to the Senegalese state, Catholicism and Islam. The article is entitled "Church and nation. The Catholic contribution to war and peace in Casamance (Senegal)" and one could object that the usage of the word ‘contribution’ has a too positive ring to be used in relation to warfare, but, apart from this remark, the points made in the article are well-taken. Foucher explains the particular history of Christianity in Casamance and he convincingly argues that the rebellion, glossed as a ‘religious war, is far more complex : other factors, such as the construction of a Diola/Casamance identity, are also important, the MDFC has quite some Islamic support as well in the region and the Catholic church of Casamance is also active in the peace process.

4The next article, by C. Mathews Samson, revolves around a coyuntura, a historical moment in Guatemalan history. After the kidnapping and political murder of Manuel Saquic Vásquez in June 1995 Guatemalan evangelicals interpreted the events in a new manner, "located between evangelical identity, the struggle against impunity in the area human and civil rights, and the movement for ethnic renewal in Guatemala embodied in the Maya Movement" (p. 43, 45). After his death Manuel Saquic was constructed not only as a Christian martyr, but also as a martyr for human rights and a Maya martyr, and in this triple interpretation evangelicals placed the events in the public arena. This challenges the general view on Protestantism in Guatemala as an apolitical : the issue as to whether or not the church should approach social issues in a political manner is rather subject to debate in evangelical circles. Mathews Samson’s subtle analysis brings together issues of identity, religion and human rights, and once again reveals the complexities of the relations between war and religion.

5In "Les Églises et la dernière guerre en Angola (1998-2002). « Les voies difficiles de l’enagement pour une paix juste”, Christine Messiant shows how the role of the Angolan churches shifted in the course of the prolonged war in Angola that lasted with only a few intervals from 1961 to 2002. For a very long time the churches hardly played a role in opposing the war in Angola and were in no position to contribute to a movement for peace. Only as of 1998 were the Angolan churches able to overcome their divisions and a movement for peace was established that was widely recognised as having large potential to represent Angolan "civil society." Messiant’s in-depth article makes clear that the churches’ movement for peace failed to influence the course of events in Angola directly, yet at the same time the movement proved important in that it contributed to a culture of peace and formed a possible alternative to the violent bipolarisation that characterised much of Angola’s recent history.

6Finally the volume contains an interview with two members of Sant’Egidio, a Roman Catholic community involved in charity, evangelisation, inter-religious dialogue and mediation in conflict. The focus is on the latter aspect of the organisation’s activities, as it ties in with the issue’s overall theme. Sant’Egidio was founded in 1968 by students in Rome and has developed into an international organisation that promotes peace, dialogue and solidarity with the poor. One of the founding members of the organisation, Don Matteo Zupi, gives his view on a range of issues: the community’s history, its successful role in the peace negotiations in Mozambique, the less tangible results in Angola, the role of the international community, global relations since 9/11, and other subjects. The second part of the interview, with Ricardo Cannelli, is specifically engaged with mediation in Latin-America and in the Casamance conflict.

7This issue of Le Fait Missionaire treats the theme of religion, war and peace in various ways and offers a range of perspectives. The editors did well to choose for a combination of three scholarly articles and the interview with members of Sant’Egidio. Finally there are a number of sound reviews at the end of the issue.

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Inge Brinkman, « Le Fait Missionaire. Social Sciences & Missions, « War, peace and religion. Religion, guerre et paix. Sénégal, Guatemala, Angola » »Lusotopie, XV(1) | 2008, 250-251.

Référence électronique

Inge Brinkman, « Le Fait Missionaire. Social Sciences & Missions, « War, peace and religion. Religion, guerre et paix. Sénégal, Guatemala, Angola » »Lusotopie [En ligne], XV(1) | 2008, mis en ligne le 10 mars 2016, consulté le 22 juin 2021. URL :

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