IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

My kind of site :-) !

I just came across the Cartoon Movement site.  This is good stuff!  Have a look…serious but funny at the same time.  Another proof that a picture is worth at least 1,000 words.

Here are a few cartoons to whet your appetite for more:

There are lots more!  Have fun!

April 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

A really new WDR

This indicates some (some) evolution in thinking at the World Bank.  Good!  Notice in particular the evolution in thinking about “violence” as opposed to “conflict”.

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(reposted)

World Development Report (WDR) 2011 – a breakthrough or not?

While the World Bank often produces benchmark writing, I have come to expect their contributions to mostly reflect their specific “business needs” as much as the reality out there. This report appears to be different – in a very positive way. Actually I am tempted to believe that this report is a breakthrough for the discourse among the big and established players in global security. Here is my take. I will be grateful for your views …

The WDR 2011 points out that 9 out of 10 of the last decade’s civil wars were relapses in a cycle of violence (measured over a 30 year time span; and particularly true for Africa). It appears to be true that “violence breeds more violence”. Therefore, the most important single objective of post-conflict work is to ensure that the country in question is spared a relapse of violence. This puts a renewed focus  on “post-conflict conflict prevention” as an overriding goal of reconstruction.

The WDR expresses the challenges of and ensuing requirements for post-conflict reconstruction by way of a “virtuous” spiral that combines (political) “confidence building” and the building of “legitimate institutions” (see the overview chapter). These are  two interdependent strategic objectives for any country that wants to escape the “cycle of violence”. Potential measures to support confidence building are grouped into (political) “signals”, “commitment mechanisms” and “supporting action”. The transformation of institutions shall focus on those that are important for the delivery of citizen security, justice and employment, for which potential support measure are also listed.  A third factor – and area of outside assistance – is to buffer external stresses on this process, which may reach from the youth bulge through hikes in food prices to terrorism.

This relatively simple and straighforward model captures the essentials of helping or rebuilding violence-torn countries and societies. Importantly, and quite radically, the model puts the political process centre stage.This  practically amounts to a change of paradigm for multilateral institutions such as the World Bank that up to now have championed a much more technocratic approach which is based on on rebuilding infrastructure as well as administrative and economic capacity.

Looking at “post-conflict prevention” as an essentially political process has huge implications for intervening organisations. Firstly, key targets and results indicators need to be conceptualised by means of soft (i.e. complex) notions such as “expectations”, “perceived justice”, “inclusive-enough coalitions”. “transition moments”, and “legitimacy”. For programmers it is quite difficult to quantify, measure and plan this type of work. And decision-makers need to deal with the fact that the inherent risks of interventions become much more visible. Secondly, approaches need to address multiple levels of the social (conflict) system – from local  to global – at the same time. “Projects” that by definition have narrow limits in space, scope and time can only be minor contributions. The important gains to be made will lie with structural, large-scale interventions. Thirdly, the report stresses that rebuilding a society / country from a periode of intensive conflict – so that it escapes the cycle of violence – usually takes a generation. But at the programme level  there are hardly any mechanisms or tools to design interventions with such a long time frame. This issue also begs the question whether decision makers are eager to really commit themselves to providing support for the “long, ardous journey” that the WDR promises rebuilding to be.

The WDR makes two other important conceptual contributions to the practice of managing peace and security.

Firstly, “conflict” is no longer seen as the key problem to be addressed, but “violence” – or, more precisely, the effects of violence that undermine the capacity of institutions to absorb (i.e. non-violently settle) conflict. This is strongly supported by data. Critically, the report consistently speaks of “legitimate” institutions, placing them right in the middle of political debate and social conflict. This argument acknowledges social injustice and exclusion as a major contributor to conflict and violence, in the form of “stresses” on the social-political system. It provides conceptual space for both, developmental / emancipatory interventions as well as those interventions that focus on conflict management capacity.

Secondly, the report – and again with a strong empirical basis – challenges the current typologies of wars and violence. It boldly states that nowadays “organised violence” is the major problem at hand. This term encompasses inter alia civil wars, communal violence, gang-based violence and organised crime. It acknowledges that “violence breeds violence” not only in time (cycles of violence), but also due to the cumulative effect of different types of violence on undermining legitimate institutions (e.g. drug-related corruption undermining the capacity of state institutions to mediate communal conflict). The distinction between political and criminal violence is only assigned secondary importance. But this distinction is fundamental for most of our thinking on conflict, violence and security, and also for the set-up of state, regional and global institutions destined to deal with them. Short of a fundamental restructuring of these institutions, they must at least devise radically new and radically more effective ways of collaborating.

http://wdr2011.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/Complete%202011%20…

April 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

a “blast” from the past

In the last Peace Prayers meeting I showed this video of the Doors, “Unknown Soldier”.

I thought Jim Morrison did a good job on stage with the vocal and the acting.  In case you can’t understand him (I didn’t understand all of the words for years), here are the lyrics:

“Wait until the war is over
And we’re both a little older
The unknown soldier

Breakfast where the news is read
Television children fed
Unborn living, living, dead
Bullet strikes the helmet’s head

And it’s all over
For the unknown soldier
It’s all over
For the unknown soldier

Hut
Hut
Hut ho hee up
Hut
Hut
Hut ho hee up
Hut
Hut
Hut ho hee up
Comp’nee
Halt
Preeee-zent!
Arms!

Make a grave for the unknown soldier
Nestled in your hollow shoulder
The unknown soldier

Breakfast where the news is read
Television children fed
Bullet strikes the helmet’s head

And, it’s all over
The war is over
It’s all over
The war is over
Well, all over, baby
All over, baby
Oh, over, yeah
All over, baby
Wooooo, hah-hah
All over
All over, baby
Oh, woa-yeah
All over
All over
Heeeeyyyy”

This song was written in the context of the war in Vietnam, though I think the message is, if anything, more relevant today.  There are many meanings here, but I was always struck by the idea that for many foot soldiers the only way “out” of the hell of war is death.  It merits being watched a few times.

IGbarb says:  “Peace!”

April 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

…and now for some reggae!

Here are the lyrics from Alpha Blondy’s “Who are you?”

Lyrics to Who Are You :

Walk under the light
Ceiling of the sky
Mister IMF won’t see
Hundred thousand children
beggin’in the street
And this yeah wicked system
is getting to me now 

I say who, who are you ?
Who ? You’ve got to tell me who
Who are you !
What you say now…

Smoking smoking
I was just getting high
Under Jah full moon light
When I saw this illegal alien
Dressed up in a uniform
Wanna see my I.D.

I say who, who are you ?
Who ? You’ve got to tell me who
Who are you ?
What you say now…

Yeah ! The United Nations better do his work…
United Nations go and dig out the land mines
Killing Jah Jah children all over the land
In Angola, Erithrea, Cambodia and Vietnam

United Nations dig out the land mines
It’s about time to spread some love
You know it’s tight we’ve got to stay alive
And remember what we’re made of
He wove us, yes he did… with his love

I say who, who are you ?
Who ? You’ve got to tell me who
Who are you ?
What you say now…”

and you can listen to it on Youtube:

IGbarb says:  “Yup…the United Nations had better do its work!”

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Article on Peacebuilding from CSMonitor!

Go here to find an article from the Christian Science Monitor about peace building.

Here are a few paragraphs to, hopefully, get you interested:

“Peacebuilding is a new approach to ending war, and it’s becoming a global buzzword. It’s different from peacemaking, which brings politicians around a table to hammer out a peace deal. And it’s different from peacekeeping, which sends foreign soldiers to monitor peace agreements, separate warring parties, and protect civilians in conflict zones.

“Everybody understands peacemaking,” says Judy Cheng-Hopkins, the UN assistant secretary-general for peacebuilding. “And in a way we also understanding peacekeeping…. Peacebuilding goes beyond either [of these].”

Peacebuilding is about what comes next – the slow and thankless slog of building a country back up. For generations, that job has been piecemeal: a little emergency aid here, some development projects there. But those professionals are trained differently, rarely coordinate, and are sometimes outright antagonistic. Their projects, meanwhile, are not overtly about peace. Aid is about relief; development is about economic growth. But post-conflict states also have a host of other needs.”

Paulino Rodrigues Santim is a blacksmith who plans to buy a generator for his business with a UN Peacebuilding Fund grant.

April 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Now this I like!

The University for Peace in Costa Rica has had its ups and downs since its creation.  However, they are, despite their challenges doing some interesting things.  I think the online course below is definitely a worthwhile project.
IGbarb says:  “Check it out”

(reposted)

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“Online Course: Peace Education; Theory and Practice

Dear Friends,

Please disseminate this great academic opportunity to all interested applicants, before it’s too late!  The online course begins on April 18 – June 10, 2011.  Applications are being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Introductory Video: Online Course – Peace Education; Theory and Practice

Contact Info:

Distance Education Programme

University for Peace

Tel: (506) 2205-9077

Fax: (506) 2249-1324

E-mail: admissions@elearning.upeace.org

www.upeace.org/online

April 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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