Time Out - 4. How to Sell Peace Building? Part 3
I think it is a good time for Rotary and other Urban Peace Programs. With the events of the school shooting in Littleton (it happened here in Canada 3 days ago in a small town called Taber, Alberta about a half hour away from Okotoks when a 14 year old shot 2 students, killing one), and the Yugoslav war, I hope people are recognizing our Culture of Violence and the need to turn the situation around into a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for our long term survival with reasonable
quality of life. It will have to happen community by community, and school by school.
Best wishes in your particular peace programs. Please do not get frustrated if you find it slow going (it is too important to give up on). You may encounter any of the following (I have): some people will think violence is not a problem here (lack of awareness), some will think it is up to the government to deal with it (disenfranchised), some will agree there is a
problem but have no idea what they can do about it (lack of awareness or education of what can be done practically), some will hope it will go away on its own (ostrich syndrome), some people's eyes cloud over when you mention the word 'peace' (images of stoned 60's hippies come to mind and/or they do not believe peace is attainable, or even what it means).
I believe the best way to sell it is to 'hit them where they live' - making our community safer for our children and grandchildren (my community includes the world community as well - but I also believe that 'Peace starts at home'). Also, I believe that the best Peace Projects are not just about a monument or a one time event or declaration - I believe it is a pledge to continue to _act_ over the long term to promote a Culture of Peace. I copy the UNESCO pledge below for example.
Finally, there is more than one way to achieve your ends. When my Rotary Club of Okotoks was slow to act, I got involved with our fairly recently formed Healthy Okotoks Coalition which is beginning to work with our School Boards (who had considerable concerns with student problems, suspensions, etc.) and initiated a Safe and Caring Community Program. It is just getting going, but I am hoping that our Rotary Club will join in this initiative and will help them see the practical merits of Rotary Urban Peace Programs, and what can be done, and the bottom line effects.
UNESCO's PLEDGE FOR PEACE
(a code of ethics for a Culture of Peace Program)
I pledge in my daily life, in my family, my work, my community, my country &
my region, to:
1. "Respect all life" Respect the life and dignity of each human being
without discrimination or prejudice.
2. "Reject violence." Practice active non-violence, rejecting violence in
all its forms: physical, sexual, psychological, economical and social, in
particular towards the most deprived and vulnerable such as children and
3. "Share with others." Share my time and material resources in a spirit of
generosity to put an end to exclusion, injustice and political and economic
4. "Listen to understand." Defend freedom of expression and cultural
diversity, giving preference always to dialogue and listening without
engaging in fanaticism, defamation and the rejection of others.
5. "Preserve the planet." Promote consumer behavior that is responsible and
development practices that respect all forms of life and preserve the
balance of nature on the planet.
6. "Rediscover solidarity." Contribute to the development of my community,
with the full participation of women and respect for democratic principles,
in order to create together new forms of solidarity.
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