PeaceBuilding for a Culture of Peace
5.0 Challenges in Applying the Culture of Peace Doctrine and Peace-building
- "Peace can be temporarily negotiated at the top, but ultimately, it is the people who make peace last." (Sonia K.Han)
- efforts to stigmatize armed conflict have not been successful, and it is the void in the processes to do so which are at fault.
- The objective of solidifying in the global culture, a right to peace based on non-violent interactions, is an abstract concept which can not be tested at present in any concrete manner.
- The assertion that culture can be changed through the conscious efforts of individuals will be acknowledged as a possible challenge to peace-building for a Culture of Peace...such a transformation is not only possible but ripe...Taking the cultural characteristics of peace and non-violence from the abstract realm to the pragmatic is at the same time the aim of
peace-building for a Culture of Peace, and its ultimate hazard.
- These tasks involve structural adjustments to principles of democratic representation to reduce the risk of abuse or concentration of power by the ruling parties.
- "Let there be no doubt: there are some very basic standards of human behaviour, violations of which are simply unacceptable. Fundamental human
rights are a product of human nature." Annan
- Tolerance and understanding are dependent upon the dissemination of information which deconstructs myths of the 'other' as well as promoting recognition of commonality between communities. The education highlighting similarities between communities is hoped to reveal shared solidarity.
Activities for Culture of Peace programs may include:
1. International projects for school children promoting intercultural understanding.
2. Fostering multilingualism and cultural expression by minorities and indigenous people in multicultural societies.
3. Promoting values which consolidate intercultural dialogue for peace and which secure the participation of women and young people.
4. Intercultural projects for dialogue and exchange between cultural areas.
- The challenge lies in co-existing non-violently while respecting differences and not fearing annihilation of one community by another because of the difference. However, in instances when differences seem so entirely irreconcilable and the pursuits of competing communities are discrepant, the prospects for active non-violence to achieve in the long run what violence
may attain in the short run is difficult to justify. Restructuring the mentalities of war with the mode of thought tasks while satisfactorily addressing doubts about why agreement has been reached in the first place is a vulnerable choice. The vulnerability lies, as in all stages of transformation of structures and mentalities, in launching violent responses.
- Combating propaganda and the distribution of discriminatory inferences in media which is controlled by subjective actors are the transformative tasks.
- "We at the United Nations are convinced that information has a great liberating power waiting to be harnessed to our global struggle for peace, development and human rights...it is ignorance that makes enemies of men."
- Proposing an international network of information and thus awareness,combats the "secretive regimes harnessed to construct weapons of war...utilized for profit regardless of the social consequences." Adams
- communities must be prepared to deal with the presentation of contentious suppositions - as they will undoubtedly emerge. If communities can react non-violently to disagreements which emerge out of the expression of opinions or ideas to which they disagree, then peace can be concluded to be an active part of their respective cultural fabrics. The elimination of
differing opinions, ideologies, and strategies is by no means the objective of Culture of Peace, however, the response by communities to such occurrences is the target of transformation.
- However, as peace-building for a Culture of Peace can not be imposed from above nor can foreign aims be transposed onto the local communities, if the local communities exists in a structure of gender divisions there is little to be done besides the education of alternatives.
- The challenge here is the implementation of universal ethics and morals regarding the status of all individuals within any given society.
- Confronting inferiority and inequality of women emphasizes improved access to education which would provide practical empowerment as well as stimulating exchange of ideas regarding improving equality for women.
- Empowering women in their private situations and in the attainment of rights is the first step to proliferating awareness of their enhanced role within societies.
- There are seven basic principles to reconciliation:
1. Acknowledgement of the harm or injury each party has inflicted on the other.
2. Sincere regret and remorse for the injury.
3. Readiness to apologize for one's role in inflicting the injury.
4. Readiness of the conflicting parties to let go of the bitterness and anger caused by the conflict and the injury.
5. Commitment by both parties not to repeat the injury.
6. Sincere effort to redress past grievances and compensate to the extent possible the damage caused.
7. Entering into a new, mutually enriching relationship.
- The common thread in the seven principles is the admission of responsibility and the willingness to transform.
- Acknowledging the stimuli which compelled the parties to the conflict to take up force as a viable solution can be laden with complexities as the effects of the violence itself can manipulate memory and morality. The underlying causes of conflict may include:
1. Poverty and economic inequalities.
2. Ethnic and religious conflict and nationalist movements.
3. Environmental degradation and the scarcity/misallocation of natural resources.
4. The marginalization of indigenous populations.
5. The role of the media in perpetuating violence.
6. Irresponsible and unstable political leadership/political institutions with unrestricted war-making powers/weak civil institutions.
7. The failure to protect all human rights, including civil, political, environmental and socio-economic rights.
- The challenge lies in the perception of the leadership of peace promoters to gauge
readiness for elevation to the next steps in the reconciliation processes. Sufficient
attention will need to be paid to the atmosphere of readiness and this can be conducted by
active involvement with the individuals within the communities being targeted for
- The debate surround the potential of peace to provide a profitable substitute, one which those currently benefiting from the readiness for war and violence would be willing to tap into.
- the challenge ... involves convincing those who appear to lose the most financially in such a transformation.
- The willingness of external sources to contribute to the creation of programs which are to be wholly indigenous and beyond their manipulation and control is a problem. Not being able to stipulate the conditions in which funds are granted is counter to the current structures of loans and aid particularly by the IMF and World Bank. (Castillo) These organizations seek
to implement foreign structures and conditions onto local communities undergoing reconstruction, the exact processes which a Culture of Peace seeks to eliminate.
- financial independence
- However, because of the increasingly high demand for official aid flows and the serious fiscal constraints faced by many donor countries, they are more likely than ever to cut their financial support and shift their attention elsewhere as soon as the conflict winds down. (Castillo)
- It is the conviction of this study that additional attention must be paid to the education of the international community of the maximum benefit peace may provide if it is to be pursued in any serious extent.
- a revolution in the attitudes of those responsible for granting funds would be necessary. There is no concrete evidence that such a phenomenon is taking place, nor that one is about to be initiated either.
- In order to convert the military sectors, "it is necessary to provide alternatives to the arms producers, to the employees of defence plants and to the military itself". (Mayor)
- of the top twelve arms producing corporations, three quarters are American owned (SIPRI)
- In order to persuade those currently reaping the benefits from the production of military machinery to transform, the financial benefits would have to be considerable.
- While a culture of peace is being learned, the weapons must be removed in instances where temptation to use violence to achieve an aim is tempting.
- The Middle East continues to be the largest recipient of arms in the world, making up slightly under 43% of the world market (Gallik). The remaining three regions are Europe, East Asia and North America. These combine to account for 36% of the total market. The remaining 21% is diffused throughout the other regions and countries of the world.
- It is with relative ease that the tools of violence can be acquired, and the education of alternative resolution methods is the manner to advocate selecting non-violence.
- One estimate for the peace dividend in the year 2000 is of 200 to 300 billion dollars in the North (Mayor)
- the prosperity and security of a particular country will no longer depend solely on its own development and on its friendly relations with neighbouring countries, but on the reduction, on a global scale, of the inequalities and injustice that endanger the whole of humanity. (Mayor)
- Current sentiment is that aid for peace has not been adequate to prevent cycles of violence. (Lumsden)
- The advisory and regulatory role which the United Nations would adopt as the co-ordinator of program objectives is necessary to achieve a common trend in the activities for a Culture of Peace. Without a single guiding actor which is capable of both acquiring the necessary resources, both financial and human, and deploying these to the communities most in need of
transformation the developments for peace would risk losing sight of the objectives and processes.
- The ability then of the United Nations to accomplish any given task is relational to the will and effort of the members themselves.
- In order to assume a more prominent role in the processes of peace-building for a Culture of Peace, the United Nations has the opportunity to initiate a consultative status with both UNESCO as developer of the practice and with NGO's whom conduct work in this field.
- The comprehensive nature of mandates for peace-building for a Culture of Peace would face difficulty if place solely within a single organizational framework. A Culture of Peace involves a rethinking of the international arena and in response to this, "the international system of relations, will slowly give up the stage to the non-governmental, private and voluntary communities" (Mayor). Governments will carry out the watchtower functions of ensuring that certain basic rules are followed. This notion extends to the United Nations activities as co-ordinator for peace-building for a Culture of Peace.
- The practices of transparency, open political processes and availability to the information regarding the communities political, social and economic are some of the structures which are claimed to facilitate non-violence. (Starr)
- Fear that regimes other than democratic ones do not uphold the basic principles of tolerance, human rights protections, and equality are the driving force behind the push for democratic integration. Democracy, like a Culture of Peace, is believed to be impossible in situations where it has not emerged from indigenous creation. (Mayor)
- The consolidated effort of the top-down method which presents itself in the conflict resolution strategies of peace-making and keeping, and the bottom-up approach of peace-building for a Culture of Peace provide the adequate solution to meet in the middle ground of non-violent resolution.
- What is lacking in the analysis and research has been an indication that a spark will occur which will ignite a Culture of Peace. Additional difficulty presents itself in the observation that, "cultural change, the transformation of our own values and attitudes, has been even slower than economic processes, lagging far behind political events." (Mayor)
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