Perspectives on Peacebuilding

Charlie and the Football

Posted by on Feb 16, 2012 in Random Thoughts | 1 comment

My coffee mug is wise. It teaches me, “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” Unknown

What happens when the noise in your head drowns out the calm in your heart? What happens when this construction of peace seems impossible to achieve?

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Local Compassion

Posted by on Nov 17, 2011 in Creativity, Ingredients, Micropeacebuilding | 0 comments

When I was a little girl, I had a keen sense of loneliness. I would notice if there happened to be one person who didn’t appear to be having a good time and quickly run to my room, find an item or toy I particularly cherished, wrap it with anything I had in my vicinity, and timidly present it to the intended person. It didn’t really matter to me if the recipient actually wanted my plastic dinosaur or cheap Chinese purse. The small action just felt right and I knew it would rouse happiness. This instinct was usually correct.

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Devils and Dust

Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 in Creativity, Ingredients, Random Thoughts | 0 comments

Other people’s mixed CDs, for those of us who don’t collect tunes exclusively online, are always interesting and revealing pieces of data. They provide a potential host of new music to add to our own collections as well as offer insight into people’s musical taste and even into the essence of their personalities. As the songs pleasantly moved along on a particular mixed CD, #4 was unfamiliar, but it intrigued me and I was compelled to hit repeat.

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I’m sorry, so sorry

Posted by on Aug 25, 2011 in Ingredients, Micropeacebuilding | 0 comments

“I’m sorry, two words I always think after you’re gone and I realize I was acting all wrong.”

We have all been forced to apologize as little kids, whether it was to our siblings, friends, random children on the playground, or even our enemies. Both of us always ran to an adult, pointed at another child accusingly, and tattled about some extremely serious transgression. Sometimes these petty arguments would even escalate to the point where balling up our sweaty fists and slamming one of them into our opponent’s closest body part seemed entirely reasonable and justifiable. This behavior always warranted a forced “I’m sorry,” while we stood there red faced and sniveling, snot across our cheeks and a mean glare in our eyes. I never walked away from those interactions feeling even the slightest bit sorry for what I had done. I only feigned remorse because there was an interrupted game just waiting for my arrival.

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We, the stories

Posted by on Aug 1, 2011 in Creativity, Ingredients, Random Thoughts | 9 comments

Not too long ago, I was fortunate enough to have a previous post, “The Femininity of Peacebuilding” published on the website Peace X Peace. As I was perusing through other contributors, I came across a woman whose point of view was particularly compelling, Roxanne Krystalli. Roxanne has the unique ability to demonstrate her expertise about peace and conflict without actually saying a word. As we all know, words often don’t do a sufficient job of expressing our true feelings, and those times they come up short are when we need to find a different medium of communication, to find inspiration without using language. Roxanne’s blog, Stories of Conflict and Love, with a simple photograph of a tree’s reflection captured in a cup of coffee, or a short story about rediscovering her love for oranges, breathes life into the true essence of building peace, the desire for connection with humanity.

There is a famous quote lifted from a poem by John Donne, “No man is an island, entire of itself.” Donne’s quote carries special weight here because peace can and will only emerge from a collaborative process. Consequently, I want Critical Peace to be a medium for global collaboration amongst those who want to contribute to the pertinent and challenging discussion about peace. In an effort to support this initiative, and sustain the conversation, Roxanne generously wrote the following post for Critical Peace, in which she allows us to see the product of her inner musings about objectivity and personal storytelling. Thank you Roxanne.

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Understanding Peace

Posted by on Jul 19, 2011 in Ingredients | 0 comments

“The difficulties of attaining a durable peace in contexts of protracted violence suggest we know more about how to end something painful and damaging to everyone but less about about how to build something desired.”

This is a quote taken from the book The Moral Imagination by John Paul Lederach. He is discussing the process of composing and implementing peace accords, supposedly designed to end deeply-rooted cycles of violence and war. However, is ‘peace’ the actual outcome of ‘peace’ accords? When considering the subsequent collapse of numerous carefully crafted ‘peace’ accords and the return to violence, perhaps ‘peace’ is not the correct usage of terminology for this phrase. It is difficult to blame anyone for using ‘peace’ in this context, although it may not be entirely appropriate, because there is no unequivocal definition of ‘peace.’

A prominent peace researcher, Johan Galtung, presents the argument in his paper Violence, Peace, and Peace Research “Few words are so often used and abused – perhaps, it seems, because ‘peace’ serves as a means of obtaining verbal consensus – it is hard to be all-out against peace.”

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Bridge Over Troubled Water

Posted by on Jul 6, 2011 in Creativity, Ingredients, Micropeacebuilding | 0 comments

In my second post, The Cellist of Sarajevo, I described how one Bosnian man became a symbol of peace and hope in a country devastated by war. He defied the violence, tragedy, and hopelessness surrounding him and transcended his reality with the use of a single instrument, his cello. He also has emphasized a profound, grander concept. Music is powerful.

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Building Peace in 4 Steps

Posted by on Jul 1, 2011 in Ingredients, Micropeacebuilding | 1 comment

We like to think of ourselves as open-minded, accepting people. I can’t imagine a single person I know who would revel in being described as narrow-minded and reclusive. However, despite this self-description, we all have our own cliques. Take a minute and think about those with whom you identify, who your friends are, who you admire, and who you allow to be in your inner circle. This is your “in-group.” Now do the opposite. Think about from whom you choose to disassociate, those people you just don’t want to be around, and those who elicit apathy. These people constitute your “out-group.” They are your out-group for a variety of reasons, justified or not.

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Global Empathy

Posted by on Jun 24, 2011 in Ingredients, Micropeacebuilding | 0 comments

As I stood in line at the airport, waiting to check my bags, I couldn’t squelch my nerves. I had chosen to travel to a country I never thought I would visit and knew little about, but there was no turning back now. I was on my way to Ethiopia. My anxiety didn’t diminish as I sat in the back of a dusty van, being chauffeured through the streets of Addis Ababa, and was instructed to remain indifferent to the droves of mothers, children, and severely handicapped people who repeatedly approached me, pleading for anything I could give them. I didn’t speak the language, understand the cultural nuances, and hadn’t ever witnessed such extreme poverty. I was uncomfortable and immediately started to miss my life in Denver, CO.

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25 Lessons from the History of Nonviolence

Posted by on Jun 16, 2011 in Random Thoughts | 8 comments

My last post, Mental Peacebuilding, referenced Mark Kurlansky’s book Nonviolence the Twenty Five Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea. At the end of the book he enumerates these 25 lessons in an easy to read manner. These are lessons about violence and nonviolence he has pulled from the pages of history as patterns reemerging continuously throughout centuries of narratives.

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