By Jamal Jivanjee
Every once in a while, a story stops you dead in your tracks and takes your breath away. In today's media climate, many of these stories are stories of heartbreak and despair. Sometimes, however, there is a story that leaves us stunned from sheer beauty. Such is the story of former CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) clandestine service operative Amaryllis Fox who worked in the Middle East fighting the war on terror. During her tenure at the CIA, Amaryllis discovered that killing for peace is an illusion that only leads to more anger, violence, and bloodshed. She discovered that the agency's best efforts to stop the fires of terrorism and extremism were actually akin to pouring gasoline on it. Simply put, after ten years of continual warfare against terror and extremism, things were not getting better.
Thankfully, many men and women in our government's service who've been trained to use violence in the name of defending and advancing peace are waking up to the reality that only love and peace can truly bring about love and peace. Amaryllis Fox is one of those courageous people who has been awakened to this reality. During her work with the CIA, she discovered that everyone believes they are fighting for a righteous cause. No one considers themselves to be the 'terrorist'. She discovered that an essential part of pursuing peace is helping all sides understand the thinking of the ones they consider their adversary.
As a result of her discoveries, Amaryllis left her career in the CIA to pursue work as a peace activist where she founded an organization called Operation Zoe (life). Operation Zoe seeks to employ other former military and intelligence officers to utilize their highly specialized training to wage peace and life as opposed to war and death. Amaryllis regularly returns to the region (often risking her own life) on peace missions to help address the violence at its very root: within the human mind.
The Mundo Sisters & Peter Berg's film 45, in partnership with CNN films, created and produced a beautiful short film about Amaryllis' story. With all the negative media that exists today, this piece is a breath of fresh air. When I came across Amaryllis' courageous story, I knew I couldn't keep it to myself. May the wind be at her back, and at the backs of all who are doing the very tangible work of Christ on the earth today. Take a few minutes to watch this and be encouraged.