In the last session, we spoke about perspectives of peace and how they relate to a culture of peace. We left off with examining the first 4 peace keys within a culture of peace in relation to our themes this year.
In today’s session, you can expect us to cover:
- The remaining 4 peace keys in relation to our themes
- 2 Perspectives of Non-violence
As a recap on our foundation of a culture of peace, a culture of peace is defined as: a set of values, attitudes, modes of behaviour and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations.
The first four peace keys we explored to see how they match up to our theme were:
- Foster a culture of peace through education
- Promote sustainable economic and social development
- Promote respect for all human rights
- Ensure equality between men and women
Based on the previous conversation, our POP Stars were challenged to think through their notions of peace. What are yours?
Let’s pick back up on the remaining 4 peace keys, shall we? To reiterate, I will be giving an example or two as to why the particular peace key relevant to our themes. I welcome your thoughts at any time in the submit question box and you can always feel free to share this discussion to your social networks to broaden the conversation!
- Foster democratic participation -Participation by everyone in making decisions. Indispensable foundations for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security are democratic principles, practices and participation in all sectors of society, a transparent and accountable governance and administration, the combat against terrorism, organized crime, corruption, illicit drugs and money laundering.
This peace key would also be relevant to women as peace builders because if all sectors of society are expected to participate in a democratic process with transparency and accountability, women cannot be left on the sidelines. Women peace builders then have a particular opportunity to represent traditionally marginalized voices in governance spaces and also serve as role models to girls.
- Advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity - Appreciating that people are different and that everyone has something to contribute to the community. To abolish war and violent conflicts we need to transcend and overcome enemy images with understanding, tolerance and solidarity among all peoples and cultures. Learning from our differences, through dialogue and the exchange of information, is an enriching process.
I see non-violence fitting into this peace key as the active framework we would use to challenge our limits of understanding, tolerance and solidarity. Non-violence would require for us to see the humanity in the darkest spaces of our society and respond to that instead of violent acts.
This peace key can be pretty tough since we are so indoctrinated with violence. Last year in the program we explored the culture of peace through the lens of art and sustainability, and in one session, we discovered that peace needs to gain better language in our society because the way we even phrase things underscores a culture of war, which is the opposite of a culture of peace. It’s fascinating how we are reinforcing what we do not want in ways we are not even aware of. This peace key really challenges us to step back and examine our ways of interacting on an every day, moment to moment level.
Do you agree? Have you noticed any ways that we reinforce a culture of war in language, behavior and thoughts?
- Support participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge - Giving everyone a chance to learn and share through the free flow of information. Freedom of information and communication and the sharing of information and knowledge are indispensable for a culture of peace. However, measures need to be taken to address the issue of violence in the media, including new information and communication technologies.
Both of our themes are relevant within this peace key because the measures to counteract violence through communications and media must allow vulnerable populations a space to tell their stories and raise a call to action for society to use. Women are a vulnerable population in terms of what we know of tremendous violence that is committed specifically against them. Women peace builders have an opportunity to bridge gaps between gender relations as well as men in creating a space for both women and men to thrive under a different principle: and that principle would be non-violence.
- Promote international peace and security –rejecting violence, obtaining justice by convincing and understanding. The gains in human security and disarmament in recent years, including nuclear weapons treaties and the treaty banning land mines, should encourage us to increase our efforts in negotiation of peaceful settlements, elimination of production and traffic of arms and weapons, humanitarian solutions in conflict situations, post-conflict initiatives.
This peace key is interesting. It relates to both of our themes because certainly women have a stake in peace and security and non-violence would require for decision makers to imagine the best possible scenarios for all parties in conflict and carve out a peaceful existence among them.
I wonder though, if the ways international peace and security is perceived are effective? Do you think that it is? Does politics get in the way of practicing non-violence?
Let us examine some views on non-violence. We discovered in the last session that non-violence does not have a static definition. Some people may view it as passive, while others view it as deliberate resistance that demands actions done in a peaceful, non-violent manner.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. = Reverend of Christian faith, civil rights leader and was very much influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of non-violence. Let’s listen to a short clip of Dr. King Jr. at his Nobel Prize acceptance in Oslo, Norway in 1964 about what non-violence. Note his reference to Gandhi:
There are key points to take away from King’s definition of non-violence that is borrowed from Gandhi:
1. He mentions Direct Action- This means active resistance taken against injustice in the form of protests.
2. King mentions that unjust laws will not be obeyed. This is a reference to what is coined as civil disobedience, the breaking of laws that are inherently unjust. The aim is to persuade decision makers to reject unjust laws and place proper ones fair for all on the books.
3. King is clear that the first line of defense is the use of words and then if that fails, to resort to non-violent acts. What I will add here is that implicit in what he is saying is that your use of words should also be non-violent in structure.
4. If actions are used to reinforce words, there is always room left for compromise. I see that as never letting the idea of talking to each other be blocked. Communication is always left open at any time.
5. King reinforces the integrity and gravity of the purpose of non-violence used to further a just cause. King highlighs that one is willing to risk his/her life and to suffer for the ideology that he/she believes.
II. Another perspective of non-violence is to use an acronym called CARA to live it. There is a resource online called Pace e Bene, which means, if my memory of Italian serves me correctly, “Peace and Good”.
Let’s take a look at their website and their acronym CARA, which in Spanish means “face”.
CARA = Center, Articulate, Receive, Agree
- Center= the key is to be like a mountain, this idea that comes from Thich Nhat Hanh, a buddist master and thought leader on peace, to get in touch with the center of your true self in order to respond to the world around you. The idea is to lead and respond from your heart, your center, where love and peace resides.
- Articulate & Sharing Piece of Truth= This requires you to assess what is happening around you, clarify your feelings on the situation, identifying needs and then sharing that information as your truth with others.
- Receive truth from others= Involves deeply listening to understand their feelings and what they need.
- Agree= Go over the needs of each party, eliminate what is not essential for both to move forward and plan to implement the agreement.
We’ll stop here and pick up on non-violence by way of examining how movements have used them to overcome injustice in the next session.
Feel free to extend the conversation with us through Twitter @EOTOWorld and our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.