Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Society and the individual

Society is or can be a reflection of each individual within that society.  The same can be said of all types of relationships that we belong to, such as a team, organization, family, marriage, friendships and so on.  As I think about those connections, the mind spins into many realms of being or belonging.  Who do I choose to be with and belong to? Then I asked why do I choose those relationships?
What is the most important relationship in your life?  I figured that question had to be answered first.  The answer came rather quickly and the most important relationship I have is with my own self.  No one will ever know me as fully as I know myself.  In some ways I feel that is a great loss but it is a reality (anyway that is a side bar thought)
In the time I have spent in peace work, psychology has proven to be a major element of understanding peace.  Societal peace, inner peace and peace with the environment have all been intertwined.  Mostly though when dealing with violent conflict the focus is split between inner peace and societal peace.
Being from Canada I have the luxury of being able to go home to a peaceful country and live where ever I please.  Not so for many of the people I have lived with.  That luxury is not a reality for many and to be honest it has caused a great deal of pain for me to reconcile with.  It has often been thrown in my face without sugar coating.
 “We live here, this is our homeland, where else do we go, we can not leave.” 
Each of those statements stir many memories and emotions as I think about the people that said them.  These people choose to stay in that place because of their attachment, they belong there.  No matter how hellish life gets they will not give up, why?
The only answer I feel is worth repeating is that these people believe in the future of a peaceful day.  It is that singular piece of mindset that has enabled me to work at bringing peace to anywhere I have worked.  There has to be hope in a future that is peaceful.  Even as I think about all the relationships that an average person here in Canada has, they too must make similar decisions as to whether or not a relationship continues. 
As I sit here writing this the economy is in dire condition.  Then I think about all of what I just wrote and I know that the economy will boom again someday.  Think the economy is bad now, imagine what is what like here in Canada during the thirteen hundreds?  Wonder if they even cared?

Palestine/Israel resolution

It would be a rare person that has not read about the situation in Palestine and Israel.  Having been involved in peace work for at least fifteen years, the violence between Palestine and Israel has been a topic of a number of my briefings.  For me this how I see the past few weeks.
Any country that supports a peace process must agree to a two state end goal, which has been a condition since 1947 and will not be bargained away.   Due to that, the request of the Palestinian government to be recognized as a state is in fact already agreed upon.
Within the last three weeks of Sept 2011, a few countries have come out and stated that the United Nations resolutions are not a useful method to bring about peace.  “Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations," Barack Obama said during a speech to the UN General Assembly.  Such a statement is beyond reason seeing that the permanent five members of the Security Council are to ensure the peace of the world through the passing of resolutions.  But of course we are dealing with insanity.  The entire situation in the Middle East is beyond reason.
Now, if the world is actually concerned about a resolution to this problem here is what needs to happen:
The entire area needs to be blockaded from any and all weapons.  Every soldier, police officer, security guard and so on must be replaced by the UN peacekeeping forces.  These forces will carry out all enforcements of the laws that currently exist in the respective area in which they are charged to police.  This brings us to the peace talks.  Only Palestine and Israel are to be engaged in these talks.  Every other country can go suck eggs as this is not their territory, country, people or problem. Further more, the rhetoric must stop.  Each side has acted in manners that amount to crimes against humanity.  Each side is equally responsible for the deaths and misery that abounds in that region.   
Now the hardest part is to have the courage to do this and the wisdom to see it through until it is completed.  That means no six month deployment window and then rethink, if another six months is needed.  The peacekeeping forces are there until the threat of violence is gone and the two sides produce a treaty on their own.  This will all be paid for through the taxes that already pay for the current military and law enforcement of Israel and Palestine.
Will this ever happen, no way.  Fewer people would die, plus it is to logical, practical and it would actually work – if the world actually cared enough to do something about it. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Truth, fact, reality and perception

As I do my work the question that always comes up is, What happened?  Thus begins the stories of how each person experienced the event.   Each person will have their own perception, which they see as the truth and present them as facts.  As each person gives their truth about the event little bridges will connect and the reality of the event will come out.

For sometime the world was hooked on Truth and Reconciliation commissions so that societies can deal with the reality of violent conflict.  These process are not about setting blame on anyone but more to clear the air so that future generations will know the closest possible reality of how and why society ripped itself apart. These questions will ultimately land on answers that point to a division in perception, truth and fact.

Now if you care to delve into the person I am you will understand that I see the complexity of simplicity.  In that I believe all wars start with poor communication, very simple.  Then the ball of hatred begins and builds into a rat nest of distorted perception, hell bent on revenge.  That festering hatred will grow and once the killing starts society is quickly spun into chaos, just look at the idiocy we have to endure daily with Isreal and Palestine.  A classic situation of "well thousands of years ago your brother pissed on my families goat".  That (fictional) simple act continued to the point where helicopters fire missiles into communities, suicide bombers walk onto busses.  The history of 1967, 1947, all the way back to Moses is brought into why killing another is justified.

These firmly held truths of past events fuel a great many conflicts.  Even in our own personal lives, in marriages, friendships and places of work.  The best method I have found to deal with such frustrations when you are pissed off at the actions of others is to step away and think.  Often I say this phrase:

No matter what happened, I must believe that everyone is choosing the best possible option they see to ensure a peaceful society.

That was the best option they could see and choose.  Each time that thought process is taken, the shock of how complex life can get astounds me.  What set of circumstances evolved for that action to the best possible choice, what emotions were played upon and then I feel the dark spiral of hatred that spins.  At the bottom of that spiral there is always the question, How did that get so out of control so fast?

Thus begins the truth and reconciliation process to seek out truth, fact, reality and perception.