CNNs journalistic peace versus informed peace!

CNN headline, August 1, 2014

CNN headline, August 1, 2014

With this headline CNN conveys the idea that peace = when direct violence stops (for a while).

This is the classical journalist perspective, not even a minimum definition and makes peace a rest category in between wars and other violence. Deeply unhelpful!

A peace professional would call that peace illiteracy.

Here is how I and many other professional peace researchers see it:

PEACE can be seen as the outcome of a change in the underlying conflict, a decision about the future that all parties have contributed to define and will, therefore, be committed to help implement.

PEACE is a voluntary accept of living differently and when a PEACE agreement is so competent that the same conflict never comes back. 

PEACE is about changing the incompatibility – or solving the problem/issue – between the parties.

PEACE is to change the attitudes the parties have to each other and the issue.

PEACE is to change everybody’s behaviour in the direction of non-violence, trust and reconciliation.

PEACE is to attack structural violence – violence that is built into systems. PEACE is to change the values underlying cultural and gender violence. 

NEGATIVE PEACE is to reduce or abolish direct (physical, psychological etc) violence + structural violence – and when that is done we have negative peace because it defines only what peace is not. 

POSITIVE PEACE is to realise human and social and cultural potentials for the whole human being and all human beings.

PEACE must be different from one setting to another; therefore the only world peace possible is one consisting of many smaller PEACES in deep respect for cultural and other differences – i.e. a PEACE CULTURE.

Now, if you see the difference between this and CNN’s “peace” you are on the way to become a competent peace worker with a consolidated vision – albeit not an easy piece of cake – rather than an conflict and peace illiterate person.

We – the world – needs PEACE EDUCATION in our schools, PEACE RESEARCH at our universities and PEACE ACADEMIES for the practice of it in governments, international organisations, civil society organisations.

We need peace-educated media people who, instead of focusing everything on violence, offer us CONFLICT journalism and GOOD journalism that also reports on those who work for peace, mediate, reconciliate and think about peaceful futures.

Why? Because peace, creativity and hope is one.

There will be new conflicts, of course. Conflicts happen! The opposite of peace is not that there are no conflicts. The opposite of peace is violence.

Humanity’s task is therefore, simply put: Learn to handle your conflicts with as little violence – direct, structural, cultural, gender etc – as possible. 

PEACE does not aim at conflictlessness or uniformty but at diversity. Love therefore your conflicts – but hate all violence no matter who does it. 

And read your Gandhi or other philosophers of nonviolence. But read! Educate yourself in the profession of peace!

And then dialogue with everybody you meet! 

PEACE is interesting, very very interesting!! And perfectly possible too.

But don’t believe for a second that people without the slightest training in peace can do anything for peace – because: Would you like to have surgery performed on you by someone who had no education in medicine?

 

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