Thursday, January 3, 2013

The dream of peace

Who is accountable for peace? In short that question is often “they” that “we” have fingers pointed towards. The main thrust of accountability is levelled against the largest of organisations. Yet the reality of peace rests within the individual. Each peacebuilding program that is put into place relies on the individual. Every community that receives aid support must deliver support one person at a time.
Each of us makes a decision as to how they will act. During times of violent conflict or even during political rallies, elections, protests or demonstrations each person is accountable. The reality which is often lost in many circumstances is that there is no “they” without the individual. This is why personal peace is such a major issue in global peace. Such knowledge has been with us for as long as two people stood in each others presence. Further to this knowledge, the circle of accountability spreads from the individual person to a single community, single province, region and includes each individual country.
As we dream for the end of violent conflict in Syria, we must seek to rebuild first in our minds. We must understand how the people/individuals will live in peace. We must understand how government is to be respected again. What will it take for individuals to live without fear, to trust and have faith in one another again?
The rebuilding of countries is no easy task and is often carried out by large organisations. Throughout the years, those that have worked to rebuild war torn countries have understood the importance of the individual peace. The phrase “if you save one person, you have succeeded” is the base support of all those that work to rebuild communities and countries.
From there, we seek to assist those that have been impacted by violent conflict. As the many organisations congregate to rebuild communities, there is a growing level of understanding that the people who are being assisted hold the greatest power for peace.  However, interventions do have impacts as we all know.
In the case of Syria, we may never know the true involvement of outsiders or what role outsiders played to bring chaos. We do know that certain individuals had the opportunity to end violence in Syria. At present there is no longer one singular individual in which peace can focus upon. Since peace was not possible for those individuals, the world is met with the task of rebuilding societal/structural peace.  Slowly, peace will return to Syria when a great number of individuals experience structural peace.
With the task of rebuilding a peaceful society the accountability still rests with individual. For example, will a government officer seek bribes? Will those that benefited from the chaos seek peace? What of those that benefitted under the old order? These are the individuals that will always be a concern. Such people will always be part of society. Within that cycle lies the battle for peace.
The never ending struggle to ensure people are aware of their impact on global peace is vital. For example, we can look at what is taking place in India.
“There is no doubting that the woman’s suffering has revolted Indians. There is no doubting the anguish of the demonstrators who have come out to tell the political class that they want a new kind of government, one that that is responsive and efficient. Nor is there any doubt that the heartfelt desire for change is real. But the experience of the past few years shows that middle class anger can collapse just as quickly as it erupts”[1].

Each of us moves on while a peaceful society will always remain a dream for all of us.


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