Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Being peaceful

What does it mean to be at peace? Perfect peace is perfect balance. To put a number to that , it means nothing, zero, which is perfect balance. Alas perfection is a dream for most of us, including me.
Each one of us has a dream. No matter what you do to earn a living, you are supporting each others dream. You can counter that understanding because that is your own choice. However, if you believe in that you will see the vast potential of a support network. Life takes on a new vibrancy when you feel the reality that everyone is there to help.
If you do not believe that reality, every moment is a struggle. You have to fight each other because you believe you must. The only reason to fight rests in the fact that you believe you must. 
Many people view peace as being obtained through sacrifice and difficult work. Such a mentality can have negative connotations. Negative ideology in the mind has come to be understood as bad. However when peace is truly in the mind good, bad, right, wrong are indicators of your own personal directions.
The knowledge of right, wrong, good or bad are there to inform you of patterns/methods of understanding. Being at peace does not mean you will no longer feel anger, frustration or confusion. However it does mean that you will be more at ease with those emotions. You will develop different patterns of venting such thoughts and emotions in a more balanced manner.
One of the toughest parts I have found is that there is a constant need to be mindful of others emotions plus your own. Being peaceful means knowing the consequences of actions and weighing the impact against the overall goal of peace. There are times when others actions are so selfish that an entire relationship or society is harmed, even though what was said or done had justification.
Managing your speech and actions are skills that take a great deal of energy to do. The popular term is being diplomatic. Being a peaceful person takes great skill and energy, mostly due to the managing of emotions and desires to trade “shots” with someone that has caused you harm. In such situations it is very difficult but when everything is understood, rarely has those moments of trading shots ever improved or helped solve anything. The immediate gratification is quite irresistible but the overall impact is more harmful. Thus, such actions will only prolong the unwanted conflict.
As you become embroiled in such conflicts, often the battle is so brutal that you can lose sight of the overall goal. The immediate goal of ending the conflict soon escalates into annihilation of your opponent. Due to the violent conflict there develops a wider impact on society. These impacts can take more resources and energy to resolve than the original conflict.
For example the destruction of entire towns, child soldiers, lost economies, racism and many other factors will take generations to heal. Even in our personal lives there are situations where a great deal of hatred can be carried towards others for entire life times. Carrying such hatred will destroy you. We have Palestine and Israel as an example on the international scale.
It takes time and energy to be peaceful with others. I have not even mentioned inner peace.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lost and too apathetic to find a way out

Knowing where you are is vital to knowing where you are going. That simple phrase is as important with directions to a location as it is with matters of the heart. Sometimes you have no idea where to go but you have an idea or wish about how that destination feels. For the most part the articles I write deal with the destination of peace in all its definitions.
I believe very much that society will not be at peace if the individual is not at peace. The chaotic portion of that reality rests with the fact that everyone will have a different vision of what peace is. That vision of peace will change as a person ages as well. Due to all those changing and differing opinions of peace, it is a difficult task to have a common goal or vision of peace on a societal level.
Within Syria, the cycle of violence has been spinning for months now. Neither side can be trusted nor can the “outside leaders”. Both the leaders within Syria and the leaders outside of Syria have only managed to ensure the collapse of society. No one has a clear idea of what they are doing. Furthermore, none of them are even listening or seeking ways to resolve the situation. Well in reality the one method to solve the situation that is being used is to kill as many as quickly as possible.
Even more frustrating is the constant attacks heaped upon the United Nations, as every nation in the world has worked to ensure its failure. At the moment there is no clear vision other than the ceasefire agreement. No one has even bothered to support that plan with any real effort. Honestly, what are a handful of Monitors going to do? The leaders of the world have no courage to resolve anything yet feel completely justified in blaming the United Nations for a failure that is clearly the fault of those that have their hands in this event. All we are getting is constant finger pointing as to who is responsible for the worsening situation when the answer only takes a mirror to solve.
What needs to be done? We need a strong leader that can work the back channels to end the rhetoric, save the face of all the leaders involved and finally get the ceasefire agreement in place. The level of frustration is so great that I truly understand the insanity of why Nobel felt the best path to peace was to build the largest weapon. I understand the insanity of how nuclear weapons can bring peace. The philosophy of fear is understandable. However, that method has rarely worked, if ever.
I am tired of dealing with such inept leadership. We are okay with prolonging the slow death of society as we bicker about who to blame. Yet we are not okay with strongly enforcing sovereignty laws, securing borders, almost completely banning weapons for conflict zones and upholding the most basic foundations of a free society.
I have written the plan for peace many times and at this point all we can do is wait until enough people are killed before that plan will be implemented. The sad part is no one knows how many deaths are enough. We are without leadership here when leadership is most needed. The society is lost, the individual has no idea of a future nor any rational cause to even believe in a future outside of a month or so.  
With the Syria situation, we know where we have been, we know where we are yet no one wants to do what is needed to get to where we have to go.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Getting through chaotic moments

Everyone experiences the confusion, frustration and chaos which conflict can bring. Everyone can learn how to move through those moments of chaos with calm resolve as well. There are a number of components to chaos that you need to be aware of in order to move through such situations. As you read these you will most likely know them. The difficult part is applying your knowledge. You must apply it as often as you in order to excel at getting through those chaotic moments.
Emotions and communication are the two factors that are often the most poorly managed. Case in point is the situation in Syria. At first the people protested against the government. During these protest emotions of panic set in, non-violent communication was lost and bullets were fired. This same situation continues to this day. That is a very simple breakdown but in reality that is exactly what transpired.
To get through the chaos you need to be able to keep things as simple as possible. The complications will work themselves out. Breaking the situation in small goals is the best plan. For example in Syria the small goal was a ceasefire agreement. Neither side adhered to that which brings the entire situation back to chaos and even further distrust. However the ceasefire agreement is crucial and must be implemented. What we are faced with is how a ceasefire agreement is to be implemented.
The average person in Syria most likely wants an end to the violence. As usual the ones that seek to destabilize a society are in the minority. The question now becomes, how do you reach a peaceful resolution when both sides are locked on destroying each other? This question is a very difficult situation.
The common element in poor conflict resolution rest with the people involved. With the case of Syria there has to be a different set of voices now. The current voices are distrusted and have too much history attached. In order for a peaceful environment to take root there needs to be new leadership. The issue will always be the same but the people need to change.
Whether or not the people can transcend the history is the main obstacle. For example we can look at the Palestine/Israel wars. These people have carried the history, violence, revenge, hatred and distrust for generations. The face of the war has become ambiguous, inhumane and demonized. There have been small breakthroughs with the Israel/Palestine war, 1994 was one. Since then there has been stalemates and regression. The people are in dire need of new visions, leadership and voice.
To transcend conflict, an open mind is crucial. New perspectives and a willingness to focus on the future is vital as well. All too often relationships get mired in what I call “stacking bodies”. This is when people bring up past wrongs as they race to stack up the most injustices incurred. This tactic is very common yet rarely works to resolve a conflict, (I have never experienced this tactic working).
Getting past stacking bodies is a challenge that must be overcome. If history is not let go of, the conflict will only spiral into further frustration.  The emotional attachment to those past injustices will gain more moments to fuel the anger. To get past this tactic takes a certain amount of resolve and hard work. Focusing on the immediate situation will help. The moment you start to talk about the context or situations that began the chaos you have started stacking bodies.  This is where the hard work is most needed.
Emotions and attachments need to be managed so that a peaceful solution can be found. Doing so is made more difficult when the other side will not or is not able to do the same. However someone has to have the intelligence and the willingness to let go of old tactics.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Confusion sparks chaos in our minds

With each step we take in our lives there comes the task of choosing how we understand it all. This perception is vital to both the health of the individual and society. In addition to our perception we often forget about reality. We understand our perception as the only reality. We confuse our perception as reality. This confusion sparks chaos in our minds, which can and does lead to violence. In reality very few people enjoy being personally involved in the chaos and insanity of violent war. Of course that understanding relies on the premise that people are ultimately peaceful.
Most wars taking place right now are being fought because both sides are seeking different paths to peace. Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Columbia, Guatemala, and the RUSA engages in violent conflict to bring peace. Such a reality leaves us with a situation where we live in the oxymoron of;
“Beatings will continue until peace is obtained”
Throughout the world we are seeing the youth stand up to ask the leaders of their countries to be more inclusive. Youth all over the world have been saying that the way politicians and leaders have been operating is broken. This perception of broken leadership seems to support Thomas Hobbes with his description towards the state of nature, “life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short".  This was certainly the case for Mohamed Bouazizi.
Hobbes state of nature may also held as reality within the Occupy Movement where one percent of the world controls the other ninety nine, we are all slaves to the one percent. Greece has been thrown into chaos. Many other European countries are teetering on the edge.
How each of us understands the world is the root of the current state of being. We can implement any system we want. What will never cease is the absolute need for each of us to communicate our perceptions in a peaceful manner. If that peaceful understanding existed in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt none would have gone down the path they did and continue to go down. Yet here we are.
The recent history of people asking for inclusion has made an impact. Going back to the protests of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, protests during the late 90’s early 2000 in Australia, France, Canada and RUSA, there have been major battles to have a more inclusive communication strategy.
The funny part of all these battles, when times are good we are guilty of dereliction of duty. Governing peacefully is a constant and encompassing responsibility. There is no more important item in society than ensuring the peaceful discourse of societal inclusion and communication. The squeaky wheel may always get the grease but it is the silent rusting frame that suddenly explodes which causes the greatest damage.
It was the seething rust that brought the economic crisis. It was the silent exclusion of the poor that sent Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and the Occupy Movement into protests. Each of these situations points to the need for leaders to find ways to have these silent voices made more noticeable. On the reverse side, it is the responsibility of the people to be actively engaged in the decision process of society as well. Tantamount to those two needs is the mutual respect to continue with open communications that build positive relations. Otherwise we will get more violent chaos as both sides seek a peaceful society.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Change within the UN system

Almost every time a country falls into crisis, the United Nations is called upon.  The unsettling part is that many times the largest members of the United Nations work against the peace efforts of the United Nations. This scenario has been going on since peacekeeping was invented.
Case in point is the proxy war between the Soviet Union and RUSA in Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo) during the 1950’s. The impact of that idiocy is still raging today as the DRC remains destabilized due to the unending war. The list of mismanaged peace operations by the supposed world leaders is long and continues to grow.
The need for change within the United Nations structure is as clear as the sun at noon in the Sahara desert. The most needed changes are to end the veto power and the status of the Permanent Five. Any country that preaches freedom and democracy yet supports the current structure of the United Nations Security Council is a hypocrite.
Now the argument for the current system is held by the fact that stability is maintained and the largest donors to the United Nations should have special treatment. On the first point, the largest perpetrators of war have been the Permanent Five members. These are the ones that have ensured war continues. They are the ones that produce the most weapons, fund rebel groups and water down any resolution the United Nations seeks to implement. The other point, which speaks to those who pay the bills, just cements the fact that the entire system is for sale. Basically, we are being lead by corrupt sell-outs.
The world is insane. There is little rational thought that can be used to reason the current state of affairs the world is in, at face value that can be quite a bleak reality. However, perfection is far away and the truth is, we have only just begun.
The United Nations is a very young organization that has been asked to run before it could walk. As a result there will be many more stumbles and corrections. At the moment there is some desire to change the United Nations structure. Some have talked about expanding the number of permanent members. Two countries that are seeking to be permanent members are Brazil and India.
As any organizational development goes, time and patience are needed. At the moment there is too much resistance and misguided ideology for such change. As the discussion continues there will be more support in years ahead. For example the League of Nations brought us a great avenue of peace yet died. Today we have the United Nations.
 As imperfect as the world is, we have made great steps towards peace.