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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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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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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Mental Peacebuilding

Posted by on Jun 10, 2011 in Creativity, Ingredients | 0 comments

“I find it so difficult not to hate; and when I do not hate I feel we few are so lonely in the world (Bertrand Russell, letter to Colette, 1918).”

Growing up, we learned popularity was the key to survival. We needed to figure out ways to fit in and be liked, if this meant submitting to the crowd mentality against our better judgement, so be it. Hopefully, we have all grown out of the worst of this stage, however we can never really shed the influence of peer pressure. The desire to placate people and not ruffle any feathers is never absent entirely from our daily operations. To put it simply, no one wants to be “that guy,” the one to upset a group’s balance or natural rhythm, whether or not going with the flow is actually beneficial.

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The Femininity of Peacebuilding

Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Creativity, Gender, Peacebuilding Organizations | 0 comments

In my Strategic Peacebuilding class, we got in a heated discussion about a book entitled Women Building Peace: What They Do, Why it Matters, written by Sanam Naraghi Anderlini. In retrospect, it seems strange that a book about peace would spark debate, but nevertheless even those members of the class who rarely spoke, raised their hands to speak their opinions that day. The debate began because some females in the class thought this particular book supported the common stereotype of women as “caregivers” and pigeonholed us into solely a nurturing role. They were offended by this perception and some chose to view the book as a type of propaganda working against women’s equality.

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War is Only an Invention

Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Creativity, Ingredients | 2 comments

Some argue there can not be peace without war because one defines the other; how can we experience peace without measuring it against its extreme opposite? So at this point, it makes sense to devote some time to discussing war, if only to highlight its engagement and interplay with peace.

American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead considered war’s place in this world and raised the question: Is war a biological necessity, a sociological inevitability, or just a bad invention?

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The Cellist of Sarajevo

Posted by on Apr 26, 2011 in Creativity, Ingredients | 0 comments

The Cellist of Sarajevo

I have some friends who are creative in the most literal sense of the word. They can think of a scene, abstract or real, and then depict it amazingly just using a plain old #2 pencil everyone has used at some point to take a multiple choice test. I am continually amazed at this talent because it never fails to bring something unique and beautiful into the world. While this is the most obvious form of creativity, I’m sure we can all list numerous other ways people all over the world express their creativity. What often gets lost in this jumble of ideas are actions, particularly actions people take every day to build peace, equally as unique, beautiful, and creative as any work of art. Typically, peacebuilding is boiled down to a few limited actions: negotiated peace agreements, diplomacy, mediation, ceasefires, United Nations peacekeeping forces, etc., but what about those who aren’t involved in these actions? What about those who don’t get to participate because their voice is not equally valued at the proverbial “table” where influential decisions about how to build peace are made? Are they left out of the peacebuilding process? Not necessarily…they just need to be more creative.

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