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  • Bruna Kadletz

Goodness disarms


In an old factory

weapons and arms

harm


In an old factory

a military arsenal

falls into ruin


Goodness disarms

Goodness transforms

Goodness rebuilds


What was then a factory of violence and suffering

Today is refuge for solidarity, peace and service

"Goodness Disarms", the Arsenal of Peace, Turin, Italy
What was then a factory of violence and suffering. Today is refuge for solidarity, peace and service




My visit to Turin, Italy, comes with an inspiring and insightful encounter.

In the heart of the city, an old munition factory, which provided the Italian Risorgimento, the First and Second World Wars with military arsenal, is transformed into a centre of peace in 1983, the Arsenal of Peace.

The story of Sermig, a brotherhood of missionaries, starts in 1964, when Ernesto Olivero, his wife and a group of friends joined forces to walk a path of peace, justice and solidarity in order to serve the most vulnerable among us. Nineteen years later, in 1983, the group obtains the old munition factory and converts it in a refuge for solidarity, peace and service.


Today, instead of producing weaponry to harm, the old factory supports anybody in need. The Arsenal of Peace offers food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, protection for the refugees, clothes for the poor. It promotes opportunities and dignity. It cultivates hope and inspiration.



Main hall of the old munition factory which today functions as refuge for peace, justice and solidarity.

While walking through the central hall, an empty space surrounded by brick walls covered with plants and photos of projects developed by the Sermig worldwide, I reflect upon the transformational trajectory of the place. I imagine how many lives were killed by the weapons fabricated in that factory. How much suffering originates from the military industrial complex. How much healing our world and humanity need.


An empty space opens within me.

Inside each one of us, lies the potential to transform our own inner factories of conflict and suffering into refuge for the peace residing in our beings.

As we transform the conflict within us, we connect with a deeper place inside ourselves, where peace resides. In this process, our worldview and values are transformed, our ways of relating and being are transformed.

In a world which celebrates a culture of war and violence, from the imaginary of movie theaters and children’s play to the awful realities of armed conflict, we need urgently an alternative narrative. One which celebrates life and collaboration, beauty and oneness. One which recognises our interconnectedness. A narrative that is also a vessel for peace to flow into this world.


Inside each one of us, lies the potential to transform our own inner factories of conflict and suffering into refuge for the peace residing in our beings.

An empty space opens within me

May I become an empty vessel

out of which peace flows into places of suffering in the world

May I become a walking prayer

bringing comfort to those in need.



For more information about the Arsenal of Peace, visit their website:

http://www.sermig.org/inglese/sermig,-an-open-history

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