Would You Die to Do Judo? - OZY | A Modern Media Company

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Because fighting for peace never made more sense.

By Eugene S. Robinson

Yenguete Anatole, a judoka in Central African Republic, has created a place where Christians and Muslims can train together in martial arts despite the war raging between Séléka militias and the CAR army. “Sport connects people. When we practice sport, we are just human beings,” Anatole says from his studio in Bangui, the capital, where relations between Muslims and Christians are fraught and attended by the ever-present possibility of death. “Courage is part of the moral code of judo. It means you got to go through with this. It means believe in your idea and fight for it.”

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Photos by Ugo Lucio Borga, Davide Lemmi and Marco Simoncelli

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“I often bring my Muslim brothers to my house. We always hang out together for a beer and in the district. In this way we’re trying to find peace,” says Anatole.

    
        
judoka

Clashes in 2016–17 were so intense that Anatole and his athletes were forced to leave the studio. Months of struggle followed by community and nongovernmental organization aid led to another studio, which opened a few hundred yards from the original one. ”When we are training, we share everything. We forget completely we’re Christians or Muslims,” Anatole says. ”We even switch our kimonos.”

    
        
    


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