Sunday, July 15, 2012

Peace is a decision

Understanding where society and the individual (yourself) are both wanting to be/go and are going, is a crucial piece of information. For the most part, the world has held democracy and rights based structures as the holy grail of peace. In reality those two structures are by products of a peaceful society not spearheads.
For peace to take hold in society both the individual and the immediate community must trust and have respect for others. A rights based structure seeks to build a common law that is to be the focus of trust and respect. In most rights based societies the structure of respect and trust is carried out by the government and held within the legal system, (courts, police, prisons, etc…). The democracy portion is meant to enshrine the ideology that the individual is the power behind the government. This power is often stated as the one person one vote system.
As we have seen in Libya, Egypt, Paraguay, Burma and the list goes on, there is truth that the people do hold power. In each of the countries mentioned there was/is a divergence in vision between the people and the governments. One of the most interesting political situations that is not widely discussed takes place in Belgium.
“Following the last election in 2007, Belgium went without a government for six months because of the divisions and squabbling between Dutch-speaking Flanders to the north and French-speaking Wallonia in the south. Three years later, the same conflict has brought down the government again. This is not a conflict where people will get killed," says the former deputy prime minister. "But it has the same structure as most big international conflicts – the clash of the rights of the traditional population with the rights of incomers."

No government for half a year in 2007 and again in 2010, “For a record 535-plus days since an election in June 2010, the country has had a caretaker government.”

The major difference in Belgium is respect and trust within the individual and for the community at large. There is a strong understanding that violence is unnecessary and highly unwanted. There is a deep understanding that thought is an exercise in seeing options. It is also understood that such discussion is very volatile yet must take place.

In the grand reality, war is a brainstorming session gone wrong. The discussion and decision process moves from talking to killing when respect and trust are lost. The Belgium experience is an example of peaceful conflict and is a beacon of hope for all societies. As we look at fragile states we need to focus on the areas where trust and respect are lost, injured and destroyed. Peace is not about democracy or rights based structures, it is about how individuals and communities live together.

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