Thursday, May 1, 2014

Peacebuilding in the face of Amnesia.

Often the phrase, “truth is the first victim of war” is thrown at the general public. That phrase is an exact assessment of war – every war. When we work to rebuild societies, rebuild peace the largest barrier is the general understanding or what the truth is. At the base of every war there has to be someone that wanted the violent chaos more than peaceful order. That decision is an absolute cause of every war. At some point a single person must act with extreme violence (killing another person) which then quickly spirals into the chaos we know as war. This scenario is exactly what took place in World War One, Two, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Rwanda, Egypt, Ukraine, Yemen, etc…. Ukraine is now focused upon the edge of war as Russia places forces at the border. However we have forgotten that the situation would not have even gotten to this point if western countries did not support the illegal coup in the first place. Even though such a truth is forgotten, pointing this out will not bring peace any quicker. In fact, such highlights have proven to deepen the desire for greater violence to silence such realities. We are left with a situation where the past is not to be talked about, the present is to be ignored and the future left unmanaged. This is where we find ourselves in the efforts of peacebuilding – if we leave it up to the world leaders. At some point we have lost respect for each other. There are two sets of rules if not more in the world today. Some countries can act as they please, others are beaten into whatever role they are forced to take, some are ignored and few actually carry the intelligence and/or knowledge that peace is the ultimate goal. As violence continues in society, the youth are being raised in an environment where violence is normal. The peaceful methods which existed in communities before violence erupted, is quickly forgotten within the youth psyche. The longterm memory of peace is difficult to rebuild once a generation is lost. Due to this reality, peacebuilding needs to be a very important goal on a community level as well as international.

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