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Sosefo Ta'ai Wins Essay Competition

Sosefo Ta'ai of Matahau has won the national essay competition for Tonga's forms 1 and 2 with his essay on a topic echoing the words of Mahatma Gandhi: "I believe that an eye for an eye makes us all blind". Our winner can be seen below (courtesy of a related article on Matangi Tonga Online) reading out his winning essay during the national celebration at Teufaiva Stadium to mark the International Peace Day. Congratulations to Sosefo from us all here at Here's Sosefo's winning essay courtesy of his favourite uncle, Hiko jr: I believe that an eye for an eye makes us all blind physically, socially, emotionally, intellectually and moreover spiritually. Actually, to take eye for an eye is the same thing as revenge, that whatever our enemy has done to us, we have to pay them back somehow, sometime. There will never be peace if we always try to pay back what our enemy had done to us. We sometimes think that when we hit back at our enemy in a very painful way, we will put a stop to the fight. However, it will only pile up feelings of hatred and anger which will cause more revengeful actions later. At school, I find it very hard not to hit back at someone who punched or bullied me. When I take eye for an eye, it turns a small fight into a bigger one which can involve more of my friends. If I do not take eye for an eye, the fight will only end up between just the two of us who fought and our friends would not have been involved. An eye for an eye can easily turn a local fight into a national, regional or even international fight. In the same competition, Sosefo's sister, Susitina, took out 3rd prize in her level (forms 3-4). Here's her essay under the topic: "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies": In the gospel of Luke, Jesus taught his disciples and to us about our neighbors by using the parable of the Good Samaritan. A Jew who was beaten up and left at the roadside dying was only rescued by a Samaritan, an enemy. Just as this parable had taught us, I agree with this topic, that “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” As a saying that says “You will never know how a person feels or think until you get into his/her shoes”. There are times when conflicts between us and our enemies surfaced. Therefore direct negotiations or dialogue between the two parties are needed. We cannot be bold or arrogant enough to make detour discussions for peace. In other words, we should not bother a spokesperson to come and relay messages to the two rival parties. We have to face our enemies and talk directly with them on how to solve the problems. We will therefore be able to listen to their point of views and vice versa. It is only through listening directly to our enemies’ stand that we can understand and feel how they feel and think. With that we can do away with making unnecessary judgments of our enemies which can easily leads to trivial fights. Lastly, again in the parable of The Good Samaritan, Jesus taught us about humility and forgiveness. The Samaritan was humble enough to look at this dying stranger lying at the roadside and only see him as one of his people. He treated him also as one of his own friends or his own brothers. So, a one act of kindness to our enemies is a huge step to peace.

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