Brian Cox, John Parsons and Dick Tiff conducted a reconciliation mission to Kashmir July 15-24, 2002. This faith- based reconciliation mission was conducted under the auspices of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy in Washington D.C. and the Institute For Reconciliation based in Srinagar.
By Brian Cox
Kashmir is situated in the heart of the Asian sub-continent, with an area of 86,000 square miles and a population currently estimated at approximately 12 million. It is surrounded by four countries: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China with the narrow Wakhan Strip separating it from the Central Asian Republics.
India and Pakistan’s bitter dispute over Kashmir has proven to be one of the world’s most intractable problems. The tensions in Kashmir have stubbornly endured half a century and two major wars. Many geopolitical strategists pinpoint the dispute as the most likely flash point for the world’s first nuclear war.
The present cease-fire line, known as the Line of Control, between India and Pakistan has currently divided Kashmir into two parts. One is known as Jammu & Kashmir and is under Indian administration. It comprises 63% of the whole territory with a population of approximately 7 million. The second part is known as Azad (Free) Kashmir which has its own separate government, but is under indirect Pakistani control and also includes the northern region of Gilgit and Baltistan which is directly administered by Pakistan. It comprises 37% of the whole territory and 2.5 million people. There are approximately 1.5 million Kashmiri refugees in Pakistan, 300,000 in Great Britain and another 100,000 are scattered around the world.
When one considers the human toll of suffering on ordinary Kashmiris one must conclude that a human disaster of epic proportions is in the making. Kashmir needs and deserves the intervention of faith-based intermediaries to play a positive role for all concerned: Kashmiris, Indians and Pakistanis, in the cause of peacemaking, reconciliation and justice.
HISTORICAL ROOTS OF THE CONFLICT
Regardless of how much I have listened dispassionately to all parties of the conflict over the course of six missions, it seems clear that the conflict in Kashmir is based on four historical events. The first historical event involved the sale of Kashmir by the British to the neighboring Dogra prince of Jammu in 1846. Kashmir had been independent for over a thousand years until the Afghans established their rule over the territory in 1752. In 1819 the Sikhs from the Punjab replaced the Afghans as the rulers of Kashmir. The British defeated the Sikhs in 1846 and forced them to relinquish control. However, instead of extending British colonial rule over Kashmir, the British sold the territory to the Dogra prince. The Dogras ruled Kashmir as an independent principality until 1947, despite deep resentment from the primarily Muslim population. Kashmiris felt like chattel, being sold by one owner to another. This perceived injustice constitutes a historical wound and forms part of the collective identity and memory of Kashmiri Muslims.
The second historical event involved the accession of Kashmir to India on October 26, 1947 without any plebiscite to ascertain the will of the people. The words “Kashmiri Self Determination!” have rung like a mantra through many of my meetings in Srinagar, Islamabad and Muzaffarabad. During the period of the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan, there were guidelines stipulated by the British that Muslim majority areas that were contiguous would form part of the new state created for Muslims. The Muslim majority in Kashmir Valley assumed that they would become a part of the new state of Pakistan. For a variety of reasons, the status of Jammu and Kashmir was not resolved in this manner, but became part of a deal between the Maharajah, Hari Singh, and the Indian government. Fearing Kashmir’s Hindu ruler would side with India, Pakistan launched a covert operation to infiltrate the valley and overthrow the government. In reaction to this development, Singh appealed to New Delhi for military assistance, agreeing in the process to become part of the Indian union. This resulted in Jammu & Kashmir, in fact, becoming part of the Indian federal state system and the secular democracy that emerged from it, a development that only served to deepen the wound mentioned above.
The third historical event involves the advent of Kashmiri militancy in 1989 and the reaction of Indian security forces (over 700,000) to that militancy. The police actions of these security forces (regardless of perceived need or purpose on the part of Indian officials) have enraged older opposition leaders, radicalized the current generation and contributed significantly to the growth of a distinctive Kashmiri identity. In addition the violence of militant groups against the security forces and their own people have caused extensive suffering and a sense of weariness of the conflict among average Kashmiris. The resulting spiritual, emotional and moral wounds represent a formidable obstacle to rebuilding a civil society.
The fourth historical event was the forced migration of Kashmiri Pandits (400,000) from the Kashmir Valley to refugee camps around Jammu in 1989. This resulted in loss of life, property, businesses and homeland.
If one were to take a strategic view of the healing/reconciliation process that will be required, one must conclude that a political settlement alone will not bring peace to the region. Any political settlement, if it is to be lasting, will have to be part of a larger process of sociopolitical healing in which people of faith have a major role to play. A political settlement amongst the power brokers of India, Pakistan and Kashmir will collapse if it is not accompanied by a movement of faith-based reconciliation among the people that (1) restores pluralism to the Kashmir Valley; (2) fosters individual and collective forgiveness; (3) promotes social justice; (4) restores a sense of community across regional boundaries; (5) addresses the historical wounds; (6) imparts a new basis for political order and civil society; and (7) seeks to provide an alternative identity for Muslims who are otherwise negatively influenced by the larger geopolitical currents in the Islamic world.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF THE CONFLICT?
There are generally a host of background factors contributing to the cause of a conflict. Depending on whether one is talking to a Kashmiri, Indian or a Pakistani, they share different perceptions of how and why the conflict began. Among the causes are:
- Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism in Kashmir as a way of infusing Kashmir with Islamic fundamentalist ideology.
- India’s denial of any right to self-determination to Kashmiris and its refusal to honor United Nations resolutions.
- Ethnoreligious tensions in Kashmir, with religion playing a significant role in communal identity.
- The political mobilization of Kashmiris caused by increased education, greater media exposure and a resulting tendency toward political activism.
- Institutional decay of regional and local Indian governing structures that has contributed to an increased centralization in Delhi of decision-making on Kashmir.
- The stifling of Kashmiri political expression under Indian rule.
To what extent does religion play a role in the cause of this conflict? I have asked this question many times to numerous individuals. It appears that religion plays a role as part of the communal identity of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists in a broader context of ethnoreligious nationalism. This conflict is not primarily about religious fundamentalism despite the attempts of outside militant groups to push the conflict in this direction. The form of Sunni Islam in Kashmir has been profoundly influenced by Sufism and is thus resistant to political radicalization.
To what extent can religion play a role in the resolution of this conflict? Based on considerable exposure to the dynamics of this conflict, I conclude that faith-based intermediaries may have an important role to play in its resolution, particularly in relation to Muslims. In the Muslim heart, faith and politics are inseparable and secular approaches are inherently unacceptable to a practicing Muslim. In spite of this reality, I have been unable to identify a single indigenous religious leader who has been a force for peace and reconciliation in Kashmir. It would appear that the ICRD approach of combining faith and diplomacy is ideally suited to this situation.
TRIP OBJECTIVES AND THE RESULTS
1. To participate in the opening of the Institute For Reconciliation in Srinagar.
The formal opening of the Institute For Reconciliation in Srinagar was held at the Hotel Broadway on July 18, 2002. Approximately 125 people were invited and expected for the event and almost 300 people actually attended. Every school of thought was represented; Hurriyat, militants, National Conference, Jammu & Kashmir government, civil service and key civil society leaders. The event was attended by many influential personalities and intellectuals, and leading journalists covered the event. Bashir Manzar, Editor of Kashmir Images daily newspaper gave the welcoming address, and I gave the keynote address. There was also a major address by Professor Kamal Chenoy, Professor of International Studies at Jawaharal Nehru University in Delhi and a prominent Indian human rights activist.
My address was followed by a Question & Answer period with the audience. Clearly, the concept of faith-based reconciliation stirred up a vast array of questions and led to a very vigorous and passionate exchange which included a discussion with a group of seven former militant leaders.
In retrospect, the opening of the Institute For Reconciliation was very skillfully planned by Firdous Syed and the core group. It was truly “an event” in the Kashmir Valley. It was reported on the front pages of the leading Kashmir newspaper. Awareness of the event filtered through to Hurriyat, National Conference, the governments and intelligence services of India and Pakistan, militant sympathizers and Al Qaeda militant leadership in Pakistan. There is now an institutional presence of our work in the Kashmir Valley.
In subsequent discussions with Firdous Syed and Raouf Rasool about the nature and structure of the center it was agreed that Brian Cox will serve as Chairman of the Board of Governors, Firdous Syed will serve as President, and Raouf Rasool will serve as full- time salaried Executive Director. The Board of Governors will consist of the Chairman, President and seven other voting members (two from Kashmir, two from India and three from outside of India). A set of bylaws will be developed. Application will be made for incorporation and non-profit status with the Indian federal government. A hard currency account will be established and an office set up and furnished in conjunction with the Kashmir Foundation for Peace and Developmental Studies. The center will be an independent entity, but will work in close cooperation with the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy in Washington DC. The Board of Governors will exercise spiritual, strategic, legal and financial oversight of the center. Implementation of major initiatives and routine administration will be overseen by the Executive Director.
2. To conduct a faith-based reconciliation seminar for Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits in Gulmarg, July 19 – 22.
Team members included: Brian Cox (USA), John Parsons (USA), Richard Tiff (USA), Firdous Syed (Kashmir), Raouf Rasool (Kashmir), Bashir Mir (Kashmir), Gowhar Fazili (Kashmir), Ejaz Malik (Kashmir), Javid Geelani (Kashmir), Hamid Rafiabadi (Kashmir), A. S. War (Kashmir), Shahid Saleem (Jammu), Daoud Iqbal (Jammu), Iftikhar Bazmi (Jammu), Karamat Qayoom (Jammu), Athar Pervaz (Jammu), Tabarak Hussain (Jammu).
Brian Cox and John Parsons made the presentations and members of the core group from Srinagar and Jammu augmented by two Islamic Scholars served as small group leaders. John Parsons and Richard Tiff served as the prayer and fasting component of the team.
There were a total of 50 participants with 26 Kashmiri Pandits from Jammu, 18 Kashmiri Muslims from Srinagar and Jammu, and three Sikhs from Jammu. This seminar was marked by the scope and breadth of participation representing the array of religious communities and political ideologies. There were extremists from both sides of the spectrum; hardline Muslim militants as well as Pandits representing the ideology of Panum Kashmir. The participants included a combination of professionals and university students. There were six Islamic scholars, seven former militants, a former Islamic judge involved in the militant movement, an Indian Supreme Court judge, a prominent Imam, attorneys, civil servants, journalists, educators, scientists, research scholars, professors, engineers and leaders of local NGO’s. The 26 Kashmiri Pandit participants were all from the refugee camps around Jammu. For them, this represented a deeply emotional return to the Kashmir Valley inasmuch as this was the first time that they had set foot in the valley in thirteen years. The age range of participants was 22-60, with the vast majority being under 35 years of age.
The seminar was held at the Hotel Highlands Park in Gulmarg, approximately two hours from Srinagar and 3 kilometers (as the crow flies) from the Line of Control. Our meetings were all conducted in a large, colorful tent erected especially for the seminar. Participants were assigned to one of eight small groups.
The seminar began on Friday evening at 6:30pm and concluded on Monday afternoon at 2:30pm.
This seminar, which brought Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits together for the first time in a context of faith-based reconciliation, represented a bold and courageous turning point in our work. As participants arrived on Friday afternoon, there was a heightened awareness of the historic nature of the gathering. The seminar was known about and being watched from Srinagar, Jammu, Delhi and even Islamabad. There were expressions of concern for the security of the Pandits in Gulmarg from a possible militant attack during the seminar. As we began the seminar there was a palpable climate of suspicion, pain, and anger and awkwardness as Muslims and Pandits sat down together in their small groups. As I stood up to give the first presentation on Friday evening, I realized that this was a moment of truth in which we were bringing antagonists together for the first time. This would prove to be not only our greatest challenge to date, but also a seminar that would expose the very depths of pain, loss, anger, hatred, suffering and unforgiveness in the collective soul of Kashmir.
At one point during the course of the seminar, I spent almost three hours with twelve Kashmiri Pandits listening to the stories of their migration from the Kashmir Valley to Jammu in 1989. They expressed anger and mistrust toward Muslims, Kashmiri and Indian politicians and Americans. They told stories of being forced to leave a land that was part of their very soul. They told of family members killed, houses burned and miserable camp conditions. The question they asked over and over was “where was God then?” To a person, they held out the hope of returning with their families to live once again in the Kashmir Valley.
They arrived with hearts filled with pain, anger and mistrust. But there was also a sliver of hope that this seminar could be the first tentative step toward healing one of the most gaping and painful wounds in the collective soul of Kashmir.
The various seminar presentations were assigned as follows:
Introduction: The Journey of Reconciliation: Brian Cox
Reconciliation As A Moral Vision: Brian Cox
Building Bridges: John Parsons
Demolishing Walls of Hostility: Brian Cox
Conflict Resolution: John Parsons/Brian Cox
Social Justice: Brian Cox
Healing Relationships: John Parsons
Healing the Wounds of History: Brian Cox
Becoming An Instrument of Reconciliation: Brian Cox
For the most part the presentations proved challenging and thought-provoking to the participants. Clearly, the concept of faith-based reconciliation and its component parts is still a fresh idea in Jammu and Kashmir, although many of the participants had been introduced to the concept through prior contact with core group members. We sought to present the materials in a manner that showed respect for Islamic, Hindu and Sikh traditions and which enabled the participants to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the reconciling principles of Jesus of Nazareth.
Based on our previous experiences in Gulmarg and Jammu, we anticipated that the most challenging presentations would be on the subjects of social justice, individual and political forgiveness and healing the wounds of history. These three presentations were all given on the second day. Firdous Syed and I attempted to prepare the spiritual and emotional framework for the day in two ways. First, during the early morning team meeting I spoke about submission to God and its manifestation in the form of humility. I explained that a sign of our submission to God was our willingness to listen to the pain of the Kashmiri Pandits without seeking to justify Muslim actions, argue the politics of it or correct their perceptions of history. Humility meant dignifying their pain and restoring their humanity by speaking words of healing.
Second, at the beginning of the morning session Firdous Syed spoke as a former militant leader in acknowledging the part that Muslims played in the forced migration of the Pandits, expressed moral culpability, apologized to Pandits and expressed the commitment of the Institute For Reconciliation to work for the return of the Pandits to the valley. I spoke as an American and acknowledged the role that America had played during the 1980’s of indirectly introducing the gun into Kashmiri politics. I apologized and expressed our commitment as an American NGO to be part of the solution to the problem.
This was our first time utilizing the Gandhian Edition of the Reconciliation Basic Seminar. For the most part, the materials were well received by the participants as being respectful of their religious traditions and having a solid integration of spiritual and intellectual substance. One Hindu participant complained that we spoke too much of the Abrahamic tradition and submission to God (which pleased the Islamic scholars). One Muslim participant complained that we talked too much about Mahatma Gandhi (which pleased the Hindus and Sikhs). Hence, we seemed to find the right balance in our non-sectarian faith-based approach. A couple were initially suspicious that perhaps we had a hidden agenda to convert all the participants to Christianity. However, by the end of the seminar they were among our most enthusiastic proponents and expressed the desire to invite their network of friends to future seminars.
Each participant received a presentation packet (presentation outline and exercise) at the beginning of each presentation. On the final afternoon each person received a complete training manual as well as a study booklet for use in the reconciliation cell groups. These materials were brought with us from the U.S.
The Question & Answer periods following the various presentations were animated, intense and punctuated with speeches and arguments on the part of the participants. Many of the questions reflected an underlying tone of hostility toward the U.S. owing to the U.S. role in introducing the gun into Kashmiri politics by training the first anti-Soviet militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 1980’s. This gun culture soon found its way into Kashmir and led to the militarization of the valley and over 30,000 deaths. It is remarkable that we were received as esteemed people of faith despite our American identity. This, I believe, reflects the depth of relationship building and trust that has been established by ICRD officials and teams. Given the troubled and complex U.S. relationship with the Islamic world, it requires people of faith who radiate a humility as well as conviction to operate in this context.
The small group exercises were helpful in facilitating relationship building, discussion and teaching new skills. Some of the new skills that we taught the participants included: sharing one’s life journey in relationship building, identifying core values, analyzing one’s collective identity, applying the core values of faith-based reconciliation to policy and program development, dialogue on contentious issues, prejudice analysis, negotiation and mediation principles and techniques, analyzing broken relationships, analyzing societal group privilege, conducting an honest conversation about history, developing strategies for healing, and examining one’s own sphere of influence for reconciliation opportunities. The participants enjoyed the exercises which provoked much lively interaction in the small groups.
Since a key component of the seminar involves transformation of hearts and relationships, we knew that the Service of Reconciliation would be a moment of truth. All of our teaching and the small group exercises led up to this decisive moment. Truly we witnessed the powerful intervention of God with results that far exceeded our expectations. The Service of Reconciliation was conducted in the lounge area of the hotel on Sunday evening and included three key components. First of all, I read a passage from Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12 in which the prophet speaks about the coming of a messianic healer and reconciler who was later identified as Jesus of Nazareth. I acknowledged that in the Islamic tradition that Jesus is revered both as a prophet and as one who will return as a messianic judge. I also pointed out that in the Hindu and Sikh traditions that Jesus is treated with great respect as a teacher and moral leader. However, I challenged the participants to view Jesus of Nazareth in a new way; as a healer and reconciler and to be open to receiving his healing touch. Second, we asked participants to focus on the names of specific people with whom they had broken relationships. They were each given a slip of paper on which to write the names. The names were then offered up to God and the slips burned in the fireplace. Third, we invited the participants to offer individual or collective words of healing. During the course of the Reconciliation Circle two respected Islamic leaders from Kashmir Valley stood up and humbly acknowledged the culpability of the Muslim community in the forced migration of the Pandits. They apologized and asked forgiveness on behalf of Kashmiri Muslims and expressed a commitment to work for repatriation of Pandit families to the valley. These two very emotional expressions were followed by other Muslim participants making statements of acknowledgement and apology. This was followed by expressions from several Kashmiri Pandits who shared the painful stories of their forced migration; murdered parents and siblings, burned homes, destroyed property and lost businesses. This was accompanied by profound sobbing. As one Kashmiri Pandit sobbed, two Islamic leaders went over to him, embraced and comforted him. I was later told by several core group members that in Kashmiri culture for someone to express the pain of his heart and sob publicly was a profound breakthrough. The fact that Muslims went beyond pointing the finger of blame or justifying the history to listening to the Pandit pain, acknowledging their culpability, asking for forgiveness, making commitments to work for repatriation and attempting to comfort the Pandits created a powerful spiritual and emotional dynamic of healing.
In addition two former militants stood up and shared the pain of witnessing the butchery of family members and asked for forgiveness for their violent actions that had caused suffering to so many ordinary Kashmiris.
In addition to the content of the presentations and the Service of Reconciliation, each of the sessions was opened with prayer from the Islamic, Hindu, Sikh and Christian traditions. The songs that were sung during the sessions and the Service of Reconciliation were drawn from their own Kashmiri Muslim and Hindu traditions, with the exception of one song, “We Shall Overcome”, drawn from the American Civil Rights movement. Most importantly, in the daily team meetings and in the seminar sessions there were many expressions of expectation of God’s intervention as a key part of the sociopolitical healing process in Kashmir. It was made very clear that a key component of the concept of faith-based reconciliation is that humanistic efforts alone are not enough to transform an intractable conflict in the heart of South Asia. Prayer, fasting, spiritual warfare and other spiritual resources are a key component of faith-based activism leading to community transformation.
It is difficult not to come away from this experience with a great sense of excitement and belief that God has brought us to a turning point in the movement of faith-based reconciliation among younger Kashmiris. The participants are catching the vision; and it is leading to changed priorities, attitudes and actions in their lives.
The next seminar will be in December in Jammu and will bring together larger numbers of Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits. The team has proven that it is ready for this continuing challenge of bringing together two parties to an intense conflict in an atmosphere of truth, compassion and transformation.
3. To spend an intensive day with the Kashmir Core Group.
The core group formed as a result of the earlier Gulmarg and Jammu seminars and represents the highest level of leadership and decision making in the developing movement of faith-based reconciliation. In essence it is the heart and soul of the movement. Therefore, the bulk of my time and ICRD’s resources need to be focused on this group.
The core group is defined by three commitments each member is asked to make: submission to God, commitment to each other and dedication to the movement of faith-based reconciliation. In December 2001 I spent two days with the core group training them in the methods of establishing and leading cell groups. At the end of our time together I gave them an assignment to start a cell group by drawing into this movement their individual network of relationships. The cell groups meet regularly and engage in the following activities: opening and closing prayer, personal sharing, topical study, and planning reconciliation initiatives. I produced study materials for the cell groups in the form of a booklet of case studies and opinion pieces together with discussion questions. Copies of the booklet were passed out to all the seminar participants and they were encouraged to start reconciliation cell groups.
First, it has now been a year since the first reconciliation seminar in Gulmarg and we can point to a number of modest accomplishments in that time:
- Three reconciliation seminars including the first seminar between Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits.
- Developing an indigenous partnership with the Kashmir Foundation for Peace an Developmental Studies.
- Establishing a core group consisting of 15 members as the leadership of the faith-based reconciliation movement.
- Conducting two civil society forums in Jammu and Srinagar as a means of bringing the concept of faith-based reconciliation into the public domain.
- There are at least ten functioning cell groups in Jammu and Srinagar.
- We have produced both Abrahamic and Gandhian editions of the Reconciliation Basic Seminar manual.
- We have produced study booklets for the reconciliation cell groups.
- We have opened the Institute for Reconciliation in Srinagar on July 18, 2002.
- We have published opinion pieces in the Kashmir Images daily newspaper.
- We have submitted articles for inclusion in the New Hope Journal.
- We have established relationships with key government and political figures in Kashmir and Delhi as part of our quiet efforts toward Track Two Diplomacy and a political settlement. We are also in the earliest stages of establishing those relationships in Islamabad and Muzaffarabad.
Second, the concept of faith-based reconciliation is now in the public domain in Kashmir. This, I believe, is an outgrowth in the opening of the Institute For Reconciliation on July 18. Participants in the opening ceremony and reception represented every school of thought. Awareness will now filter through all the intelligence agencies, Hurriyat, National Conference, civil society and NGO leaders, militant sympathizers and the Al Qaeda militant network. Leading personalities and genuine intellectuals were present. Leading journalists, including two bureau chiefs, were present. Faith-based reconciliation is not yet a household word in Kashmir, but it is the freshest concept to emerge in the sociopolitical discourse of Jammu & Kashmir in a long time.
Third, I have come to realize that the return of the Kashmiri Pandits to the Kashmir Valley would send shockwaves throughout South Asia. It would send a signal that faith-based reconciliation is not just an abstract concept to be ignored, but a potent spiritual and political force that produces sociopolitical transformation. It would pose a serious threat to various vested interests in Jammu, Srinagar, Delhi and Islamabad. It might cause genuine alarm among the Al Qaeda militant leadership in Pakistan. At present, we have learned through various reliable sources that our work, ICRD and Brian Cox are now known to the Al Qaeda militant leadership in Pakistan. At the present time they are aware and confused about the exact nature of our work. However, return of the Pandits to the valley could transform their confusion into alarm.
Fourth, I am profoundly touched by the personal growth and transformation of the members of the core group. Their spiritual growth, their dedication to the work of faith-based reconciliation and their growing openness to God’s work of healing within them and among their people is a tremendous inspiration to me. I have come to love and care very deeply for the future of these men and the ordinary people of Kashmir.
Fifth, the core group and I believe that the following steps need to be taken in the next few months:
- A visit by four core group members from Srinagar to the Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu in late August for purposes of relationship building and follow up from the seminar.
- An exploratory visit in October to Ladakh (Leh and Kargill) by Brian Cox, Firdous Syed, Bashir Manzar and Dan Philpott to begin the process of building relationships with Buddhist and Shiite Muslim leaders.
- A civil society forum in October in Srinagar to issue a signed appeal from Kashmiri Muslim leaders to Kashmiri Pandits to return to the Kashmir Valley.
- A second and much larger reconciliation seminar in Jammu in December for approximately 100 Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits.
- Bringing the members of the core group to the United States in the first quarter of 2003 for three weeks of advanced training in Southern California.
Finally, the most important dimension of this movement of faith-based reconciliation is not the communication of principles or the training of people, but the transformation of human hearts by God. Against the collective ire precipitated by historical wounds, we are seeing hearts, lives and relationships changed one at a time. For this reason I believe that God is actively working in Kashmir and that this is the fullness of time for our efforts.