The Canadian Peace Museum, or The Canadian Museum for Peace and the Future

"What do you think?" was the question I was recently asked about the following article.
 
Towards an Expanded Mandate for the Canadian War Museum?

A new Canadian War Museum is being constructed in Ottawa at an initial cost of $136 million, covering a space larger than a city block. It is designed "to show how war has shaped Canada, and to present the personal, national and international dimensions of our military history. Its mission will be to Remember, Preserve and Educate".
 
A growing number of Canadians are questioning whether this new Museum will remember, preserve and educate about, not only Canada's military history, but also the major role Canadians have played and continue to play, in war prevention, disarmament, and the peaceful resolution of violent conflicts.
 
Would you favour the expansion of the mandate of the new Canadian War Museum in this way, or not?
 
(   ) YES.     (   ) NO
 
Name & Address (incl. email):
 
 
We would welcome any comments you wish to make about this question. Thank you.
 
 
COMMITTEE FOR AN EXPANDED MANDATE FOR THE CANADIAN WAR
MUSEUM.

Write to: mothom@cyberus.ca c/o Ste 208, 145 Spruce, Ottawa, ON. K1R 6P1. 

 
 
My thoughts:
 
- any peace education is good (we must be optimistic)
- at the moment, maybe "beggars can't be choosers"; unfortunately the government mind set is on war and not peace - in fact, the government (those in power) are threatened by peacebuilders and peace education, and so maybe we have to find opportunity in a relative "desert" of the peace world (for those who say the Canadian government promotes peace, I challenge them to show me the money and the leadership); I am optimistic to believe that this will change when peace loving people gain a voice (become empowered - and it is coming quickly), and when peace people get better at selling peace education and building a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World
- we peace people have to be smarter than the war people; our motto should be "We do not need more doves or hawks, we need more owls"
- peacekeepers (eg. police and the military) are an important slice of the peace pie (in bringing and maintaining law and order; but they are only one slice or issue among many that impinge upon peace; also see my article on macropeace); the problem is when militarism becomes a disease (eg. the U.S. military-industrial-congressional complex); much of the population is not aware of the realities, differences and important roles (and the implications) [just quickly, I do not think I would be characterized as a pacifist although I live and work for the pacifist ideal; I am pragmatic to recognize that it will be quite some time until we achieve that utopia - but we need to work for utopia]
- my personal rule of thumb is spend no more than 20% of my time looking backwards and 80% of my time looking forward; so my suggested "negotiating position" would be that the new museum spend no more than 20% of its resources "to Remember, Preserve and Educate" and 80% of its resources on "to build a better, more peaceful Canada and World".  My advice to anyone is educate for the future, not the past.
- by working together, we have the opportunity to "co-opt" each other (i.e. 'war' and peace people - I know, we should not look at this as "we vs. them", but that is another story); this is a reward and risk challenge, but I am optimistic to think peace people can succeed; we peace people must remember that most Canadians who went to war (and especially those who gave their lives) were well-intentioned and deserve our respect; "war" people must remember that the best respect (honour) that we can pay to those who gave their lives for freedom is to do our utmost to ensure "Never Again", which means taking proactive, forward looking action (eg. if one wanted to avoid the Iraq war one should have been working 20 years beforehand)
- we should develop a cooperative approach (peacebuilders, peacemakers and peacekeepers - each is a different role, with different objectives, trying to accomplish the same ultimate vision: the end of war) [eg. reference Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace vision at http://www.peace.ca/CCTPvision.htm ]
- we will get more cooperation from government and key stakeholders if we take action for -- not against; be positive, vibrant, meaningful (it is easy to criticize and tear down; it is easy to build monuments and buildings; the challenge is to build movements and people - this is where our help is particularly needed, skills that we have that the others do not).   By example and persuasion, we will achieve more from a positive perspective, than a negative one.  That is not to say that there is no place for protests, and other "actions against war - but we need to work a lot smarter.  We will also attract more "outsiders" to the peace movement with a positive approach (for example, business people have been turned off in the past when peace people appear to only be protesters and "anarchists" rather than builders). [just quickly, I do not think I would be characterized as an anarchist although I live and work for transformation of all our institutions from a Culture of War and Violence to a Culture of Peace and Non-violence; just as one could say, for example, that Jesus and/or Gandhi was an anarchist - a nonviolent anarchist] 
- you can only accomplish so much from the outside; ultimately, it will be people inside the institutions that will change them (albeit with motivation and support from the outside)
- I strongly believe that we need to help keep our peacemakers and peacekeepers "ethical and honest"; for example, peacemakers and peacekeepers that adopt "psyops" can not be trusted (psyops is lying, manipulating, etc.; it is a slippery slope that destroys our peacekeepers, peacemakers, and political leaders' credibility); working together will help us be an "honest broker" (for example, I strongly believe that anyone considering joining the military or police should be fully aware that it is not the glamour of "all you can be" or "aboriginal pride", slogans I personally detest - it very likely will be hazardous to your mental and physical health, however necessary).
 
So my conclusion would be:
1. to support the peacemakers and peacekeepers, and to urge them to incorporate the most important peacebuilding component
2. start designing a Canadian Museum for Peace and the Future, to provide a venue for the things that we would like to see represented (we can put out a Request for Proposals immediately; I have a section in my web site dedicated to Peace Museums at http://www.peace.ca/museum.htm )
3. if the Canadian War Museum does not incorporate peacebuilding, then we will (one of the goals of the Canadian Peace Education Foundation is to promote the creation of a Canadian Peace Museum).
 
What do you think?  I invite everyone to send in your proposals to stewartr [at] peace.ca , including your vision, objectives and content for a Canadian Museum for Peace and the Future.
 
Regards,
Bob Stewart
http://www.peace.ca
WHAT FUTURE WILL YOU CREATE?
 
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