Facilitator: Elischia

Today’s discussion will wrap up examples of art used to spread messages of peace that align with the principles of the peace keys. 

If you’re joining us for the first time, the POP series for 2012 is exploring the theme of peace through the lens of art and sustainability. You can catch up with the topics of peace and how it is defined, analyzing recent events according to its impact along the peace keys and things you can do to cultivate peace in your life. 

You can also gather more information about our previous sessions this month pertaining to art, starting from an overview and its significance in spreading peace to examining art that align with the first four peace keys. 

We’ve so far examined paintings, music and an example of dance that interprets peace.

Let’s stop for a moment and think about peace authors. 

     - What makes someone an author for peace? Is it just he/she using peace rhetoric/words? 

     - Consider that a peace author must walk the talk- so how far in his/her walk of living peaceably does one have to be in order to start influencing peace for others? 

                   - The key to cultivate peace is having a mix of inner and outer peace. You have to have peace on the inside. If not, eventually, it will show up. Little by little in the way you perceive things and treat others. 

What do you think? 

Peace Keys 5-8 examined through peace authors/writings

5. Foster democratic participation - Participation by everyone in making decisions

          - Howard Zinn - USA, peace activist well know for his stance against war and the support for the Civil Rights Movement of the late 50’s into the 60’s in America. 

          - The Zinn Reader: Writings on Disobedience and Democracy 

Think about the implications of civil disobedience in order to create a better working or freshly establish a democracy. 

           - requires special training to know how to handle violence

           - presents a strong contrast between the opposing parties. Usually, the side that wants to keep things as they are use tactics to keep the other side in line. Those tactics include violence along a spectrum, from violent language that become a part of the culture, violent laws that are reinforced by the violent culture language and physical violence that is reinforced by the other tactics. Over time each level of violence becomes normalized, so that the next generations will be born into it and accept it as a way of life. Well, how do you combat violence? With more violence? You could, but any gains, if at all, would be temporary. Civil disobedience forces the oppressor to confront what they believe as norms by reacting strategically in defiance to their customs.
              - Ex outside of America is India and the movement for independence from the British. Civil disobedience was strategic because one of the stereotypes of Indians was their inability to control themselves. It takes a lot of energy to deal with hatred and the violence that can come from it, systematically while staging counter-culture protest. 

6. Advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity - Appreciating that people are different and that everyone has something to contribute to the community

        - International Museum of Peace and Solidarityin Samarkand, Republic of Uzbekistan 
        - 1986
        - Mission and Objectives
"The Samarkand-based International Museum of Peace and Solidarity is a non-profit, non-governmental institution committed to the universal human values, dedicated to the promotion of peace through citizen diplomacy, culture and arts; to the development of public awareness, concern and a sense of personal responsibility for the global challenges man faces here and now; to the empowerment of people to get practically involved into the process of creation of the better future for humanity." 
- Houses an estimated 20,000 exhibit pieces from over 100 countries. Items include fragments of the Berlin Wall, Soviet and US nuclear missiles from the Cold War, a part of an A-bombed roof tile from Nagasaki (nuclear attack from USA on Japan), soil from Auschwitz (well known concentration camp for Jews during Nazi Germany).
- The museum emphasizes universal human values, and the costs of war, atomic bombardment, the mission of the UN and the Red Cross and Crescent societies, racism, poverty, human rights.
- Interesting about the museum is that there is no suggestion of peace without tackling oppressive systems like poverty and racism, which can impede the advance of human rights and certainly make obtaining peace more complicated. 

-What do you think about the idea that peace cannot be detached from human rights and things like racism and poverty? 

7. Support participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge

         - In this category, art in the broad sense of the definition was found, art as in what we use to indicate perfecting a skill. People are just getting into understanding the role that technology can play in advocating for and actually being effective in creating peace. 

A short read is an article by Brian Martin, published in 2010. It has a pretty good simplified overview of how technology can be used for peace. Check that out if you’d like, it will also give you additional readings and tools you can look up to learn more how to do that in the bibliography.

8. Promote international peace and security – rejecting violence, obtaining justice by convincing and understanding

           - Japanese peace newspaper called Peace Seeds that is produced by teenagers from Hiroshima, one of the two places the USA used the horrible Atomic bomb during WWII. The atomic bomb or a-bomb still has horrible effects years later on the health of people and the planet, as does other weaponry, but especially nuclear ones. 

- Has stories from teens and letters from other teens around the world that write in all to discuss peace. Items include feature stories on a world where all peoples with disabilities are provided with an opportunity to work, messages on how to be a global citizen as well as thoughts on eradicating poverty and more. Check them out, they are also on facebook. Support for things like this is a small but crucial step in advancing the peace we want to see one step at a time. 

Now that we have all of this information about peace and art, what can we do with it? 

Tips  to challenge you: 

Tip: Make sure to do your homework. There is nothing sexy about an uninformed peace builder.Start seeing yourself as a person with opportunities to create peace in every day circumstances. We talked alot about art and its different forms that can be used for peace. What is your talent? Start with that, learn about what others are doing and then put your spin on it for your community. 

Tip: To learn what others are doing, you have to network. How to network varies from region to region. Trust yourself to know the things that will keep you safe but still challenge you enough to take the opportunity to create and/or enhance change.  

Tip: Surround yourself with the things you want to learn more about. This is deeper than doing your homework to learn, this is more about justabsorbing without analyzing, seeking to just be still and intake the message coming from what you are learning. 

Tip: Commit to taking a stand against oppressive institutions: racism, sexism, classism, ableism, etc. The idea here is to challenge how you treat and respond to people.Peace cannot be detached from practicing human rights! 
           - use art to portray your message of peace. Either find existing art and share with your comments or create your own. Each one of us has influence in our worlds and we choose to use that influence in a positive or negative way. Become more conscious of how you use yours.

These tips may sound a bit pie in the sky for some, but the reality is if we do not compliment the work we do externally, as in, what we present to others, along with the work that needs to happen within ourselves, the peace we seek in the world will continue to pass us by. 

In March, our partner Nora at the Earth Charter Initiative will be hosting discussions to help us all think about how peace and sustainability are linked and what we can do to live more sustainable.