Un texte de Ysabel Viau
Membre du CA de RIVO depuis printemps 2016

French version

Last October, I met Véronique Harvey, who profoundly awakened me to RIVO’s cause. She made me see how this cause concerned me, even though my profile did not lend itself readily to it. As a communications and strategic business development consultant, I did not reflect the typical profile of a collaborator for the organization, which provides psychological support to victims of organized violence. However, I had some relevant experience namely after my sojourn in East Timor, then under UN trusteeship.

It was in 2003, when the UN was busy rebuilding this tiny country north of Australia, where a civil war had been raging for over 20 years, decimating a quarter of the population. As somewhat of a clandestine traveler, I spent 6 months exploring the country while accompanying my then partner, assigned there on an international police mission. I took the opportunity to immerse myself in the culture and to meet locals and expats who shared their experiences, some less fortunate, during and after the armed conflict.

Through numerous candid chats, I began to grasp the depth of the people’s inner wounds. They far exceeded the visible crumbling homes still ubiquitous 4 years after the devastating bombing of the capital by the Indonesian military. I have heard and seen the consequences of war, either on the premises or in the eyes and the discourses of the survivors. I mostly witnessed the resilience of women, men, and children - after the war, over 50% of the population was under 18 - which, before an imposed clean slate, stood back up with great courage to rebuild their lives.

Forever a partisan of global peace, I was struck by a reality that transformed my vision. The reality I experienced rekindled my hope in the human race, and strengthened my belief that we can survive even the worst beatings - although, not without difficulty. By endorsing RIVO’s cause, I hope to contribute my bit to support these brave people who too often, suffer in the shadows. While they take refuge in a more peaceful country, they carry unspeakable memories, incomprehensible to those who have never experienced such conflicts.

In Canada, large-scale organized violence is not part of our DNA. It's hard to imagine the suffering of those who have lived it. However, we can offer our support and our empathy, particularly through organizations such as RIVO. If I have the good fortune to live in a country free of armed conflict, I cannot imagine remaining indifferent towards the victims who were not as lucky.

Ysabel Viau


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