Thursday, February 23, 2012

Peace and conflict

Often I find it quite amusing that I focus on areas of violent conflict and yet I work in the area of peace. Sometimes I wonder if there is any improvement. Now there are times when I say that there has been great improvement. Plus the academic results suggest that we live in a more peaceful world.
We do have to recognize that we are coming out of the most deadly century known to us. Two world wars, El Salvador, Zaire/Congo, Cold war, Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, Afghanistan twice, Rwanda, Columbia, Indonesia, Kashmir, Yugoslavia and the list goes on.  Being a more peaceful time was not all that difficult considering the non-stop fighting we have just come out of.
One of the elements that sparks many of these wars is the desire for change in leadership.  I know that is a simple cause to state but it is a reality. The buzz phrase is “regime change”, which has a certain identity of corruption, brutality and violence attached to it. Of course the reality is that even in the most peaceful country an election can bring regime change.
In the grand idea of unity, we are all striving to live in a country where regime change is done peacefully. It is difficult to think of anyone that would want to live in a country where you are oppressed, fearful and living with violence every day.  However for many that is exactly what life is like the entire time they are alive.
It is odd that the average person is a very peaceful being yet we have the governments they elect being very violent. For example the RUSA, most people in this country are very peaceful so you wonder how can their government be so violent? Where is the disconnect? We can see the same thing in Israel and Palestine, the average person is against the use of violence, yet it has been a constant part of life since 1948.
At some point there is a major disconnect between the people and the leadership of this world. We spend more energy on killing each other than we do on helping it seems. Many governments are willing to engage in violent wars with no thought of an end strategy other than kill as many as possible. When it comes to peace efforts most leaders bark about the cost, it takes too long, it is messy, it is not done right and/or it is too complex. Such thinking just leaves me in a spiral of futility.
As I sit back and relax I realize that there is no need to worry about when our tasks will be finished. That day will come for each of us when we die, but the task will still need to be worked upon. It is the legacy of peace that is left for others. We are all human and we all deserve an equal opportunity to live a peaceful life. So with that I sense that being closed minded means you just found the edge of understanding, the frustration you feel is telling you to expand your understanding of life and others.

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