Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Tools and Toys of Peace - How to Build Peace

So far I've mainly been bitching in this blog, but real things are happening in this world to give us hope. So I'm going to ramble on about people and processes building peace. Perhaps it will generate further efforts.

UN resolution 1325 was a real start. Several sites related to this resolution that calls for women's inclusion in conflict resolution around the world is probably the most significant step on a global scale. Without the inclusion of over half of the humans living on the planet, no agreement or treaty can relly be viewed as a valid agreement. Sort of like those peace treaties with the First Americans.

I can't speak to whether these organizations have ties to existing political entities that may or may not be working against the very things that the organization supports.
But language has power and the mention of the need for the inclusion of women will have impact in and of itself, even if some of the women initially included have ties to less than egalitarian, democratic, or representative administrations.

Inclusive Security: Women Waging Peace

Peace Women: A Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Project The site is an inspiring collection of information about international efforts of NGOs, the UN, and others to build peace in wartorn areas of the world. I find the calendar here to be informative about various gatherings and conferences. This lets me know what is happening as such meetings often have resultant publications with information that is very difficult to find elsewhere.

This information is great, but I should get down to discussing the tools and toys of peace. I equate tools and toys as my study with the anthropologist Myrdene Anderson taught me that difference is subjective. I choose to see most tools as toys--as creative assistants in the exploration of (play with) the world and life, not as means to an end. This is why I focus on peace rather than war. I'm not naive... I know the horrors and savagery of the details of war. I chose not to focus on them -- I can't. I would do nothing if I saw only sadness and pain. I do not even own a pair of rose colored glasses. But I do notice roses, and I think glasses are marvelous inventions. I am in awe of people who give their lives to peace.

Look at Marla Ruzicka's life and work. In her all too short of a life, she made a difference. Only a week before her death she began to get the U.S. Military in Iraq to admit they kept tallies of civilian deaths. A very young woman who built CIVIC the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict. As she said to a San Francisco Chronicle Reporter, "To have a job where you can make things better for people. That is a blessing. Why would I want to do anything else?" She went to the horror, walked in it, lived it and breathed it -- and died in it. That is a perspective of true joy... a perspective of hope. Marla was only 28 when she died. She acted.

Act, play, build, dream, talk about peace, build it.

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