Peace Day - September 21, 2008 - 64
Quest for a New World nity of peace would look like in the Bay Area. Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love, and there are some people there working to revive that concept and to ask what would make that true. Says Abkin, “These are all just beginning conversations to see how a city of peace might work, to demonstrate at a community level what a culture of peace could be. If we can demonstrate a working idea and what its benefits are, then people will want to adopt it. The idea of sustainability and the idea of a culture of peace are really two sides of the same coin – we aren’t going to have peace unless we are at one with our ecology and we’re not going to be sustainable ecologically unless we have peace.” Anne Creter, liaison to the United Nations from Peace Partnership International, has been leading an effort within the UN NGO community and the Global Alliance to draft and promote a UN General Assembly resolution calling for structures in governments that support the culture of peace. A New Zealand NGO, Operation Peace Through Unity, has provided an actual draft UN resolution calling for departments and ministries of peace, which has received acclaim within their country. As soon as the NGO groups reach consensus on wording of the Resolution, they will begin dialogues with their UN ambassadors for support in the General Assembly. Main CharaCtEriStiCS of thE two CUltUrES moving towards a culture of peace would require the development of a new mindset towards conflict and violence. In the Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (UN Document A/53/370), eight characteristics of a culture of violence are identified and an alternative is proposed for each. The table below compares the characteristics of a culture of war and a culture of peace. CUltUrE of violEnCE Belief in power that is based on force Having an enemy Authoritarian governance Secrecy and propaganda Armament Exploitation of people Exploitation of nature Male domination CUltUrE of PEaCE Belief in dialogue to resolve conflicts Tolerance, solidarity, understanding Democratic participation Free flow of information Disarmament Human rights Sustainable development Equality of women & men Cultural ChanGe Cultural change is fundamental to building a better world, and these groups see the need for conferences and think tanks with politicians, educators, community leaders, businessmen and women and other community figureheads to develop educational programs in the schools, community and society at large. Many of the Global Alliance members are holding conferences with a wide range of stakeholders on a regular basis. Embarking into a future that is just and caring is going to take innovation, and everyone is invited to contribute their ideas. Johan Galtung, of Transcend.org, has developed a theory that the Global Alliance has embraced, called the Triangle of Violence and the Triangle of Peace (see insert). Abkin explains, “The concept is a triangle of violence, like an iceberg. Where what you see, direct violence, is only the tip of the iceberg – the observable physical violence, emotional violence, the way people treat one another, war, shootings. But that’s ~ from The Case for Establishing Ministries of Peace in Africa by Mfuni Mwanza Jan 2006 supported by and the result of what’s underneath. The other two corners of the triangle below the surface are structural violence and cultural violence. Structural violence is violence that’s built into our social, economic, legal and political systems and institutions that produce the economic disparities, political repressions, even being left out of the political system, discrimination, segregation. In many areas these are part of the system, structural violence that creates the poverty that makes people desperate, or it leaves them outside the political system where the only way they can be heard is to have violent rebellions. Violence is a function and result of the way the system is structured. And that structural violence, that corner of the triangle, is also a result of the third corner of the triangle, cultural violence. Cultural violence is our val- 64 Peace Day 2008
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