Friday, December 27, 2013

Live in Peace

The process of rebuilding society or peace has many pitfalls. As issues are being dealt with there will be points where past wrongs are brought to the surface. At such a point fresh wounds or even old wounds can reopen. Depending on how strong the people are, these wounds can provoke fresh violence. For those that study peacebuilding, understanding this risk is a must, yet the process must take place. For the critic of peacebuilding such a point will bolster their argument that peacebuilding is an impossible task and war must be played out. Allowing war to take place is a failure of our courage and intelligence to be peaceful. This was the final message of Nelson Mandela as it was of all the great peacemakers. Yet we often put aside those words of wisdom and stake our hopes in violence as a solution. An example is lived everyday within the chaos in the Middle East. There is no place in the world that would benefit more from complete deweaponization than the Middle East. Sadly there is very little hope for such a wise act to take place because fear rules in the Middle East. Too many people will bring up wars that took place months ago, then years, decades, centuries and even millennia. A peace process is one that makes certain (as much as possible) that all wrongs have been addresses. Due to the number of people involved the process is very complex and time consuming. As we have experienced, such a process can take decades or even centuries to complete. This time factor is another reason many say peacebuilding is not worth the effort and wars should be allowed to play out, the last one standing type thought. Such an attitude is how we find ourselves in protracted wars such as the Middle East chaos. How do we get from the point of chaos to a place of peace? As mentioned at the start of this article, we must acknowledge the reality of risk. The dangers of falling back into chaos will only delay the inevitable process of peace. The tough part is to have the majority of the people believe that the peace process is worth the effort. Also it must be continuously communicated how fragile peace is. For example World War One began with a single event and we are still living the impact of that moment. The war that ripped apart Yugoslavia had elements which reached as back as that moment and even further. Most of the violence could have been displaced had we allowed for the courage of peace to take root. Going further into the realm of fear we must take into account the recent issues of spying. Such acts are rooted in fear not peace. Although many will argue that the information gathered is essential for peace, the argument is a spiral of reason circled around fear. For peace to take root, fear must put aside. Of course the usual answer is that such people do not live in the real world. Well what about the Nelson Mandela that we all pay tribute to and wish to be? What about Vaclav Havel, Ghandi, or the icons of religion? Each live in this world that has endured violence, corruption, hatred and the spiral of fear. Each put their fears behind them and pushed on to live in peace. Each went through the process of peace and understood the daily attacks that must be seen in a different way than fear can allow. The pitfalls of peace are real but to give into the chaos of fear will only delay violence. The element that we need in the world is a stronger belief in peace. We have lived for thousands of years in fear, built armies to protect us, bombs to eradicate enemies and organizations to spy on everyone. Although we have made some steps towards peace, the most success has come from non-violent methods.

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