On 24th May the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) – www.dec.org.uk launched a new campaign for Darfur, Chad and the Central African Republic – With 4.5 million people affected by the ongoing conflict, the looming rains are bringing the risk of deadly conditions like diarrhea and malaria, especially for children, pregnant mothers and the elderly.
With malnutrition levels already rising in some areas, aid agencies are appealing for vital help to respond to the rapidly growing crisis.
Aid agencies also need to bolster life-saving food and medicine stocks before the downpours hit any time within the next 4 weeks.
In the same week we see that the USA congress is seeking to commit $100 Billion Dollars to Iraq.
Both are troubled areas and both have been the result of people against people.
Earlier in the week the situation with the Congo was also aired. Since 1996 over 4Million people have died in the conflict.
I recently heard of a course called, Peace and conflict studies. I also learnt that there are also different types of peace: Negative peace refers to the absence of direct violence, for example 1984 by George Orwell.
Peace Studies tend to cover
* peace building (e.g. tackling disparities in the distribution of world wealth) and
* peacemaking (e.g. education).
I wonder how much of these skills are used in diplomacy at large organizations such as the United Nations. I’m sure that these organizations try their best to broker settlements but often intra-country dictators become obsessed with power and turn against the same people that put them into the positions that they hold.
There must be clearly areas where we can innovate to generate peace. For example:
* Ensuring that all G8 conferences do not take place in luxury resorts.
* Establishing a leadership competency programme at the UN
* Freeing-up dictator off-shore funds to review where aid or a country’s assets turn up
* Discouraging the arms market from ‘pitching’ to nations at war
* Curtailing the development of weapons
* Start from the beginning – Teach Peace Studies at School & then keep it going!
With regard to the latter, where are these bombs and guns being manufactured?
Becoming peace orientated means that those that live in peace have a responsibility that this peace is communicated.
Maybe the root of the problem is that there is too much in-balance in the world in terms of shared riches. Ironically, in some countries where there is access to great resources, there is the mess of war – take for example, Angolia.
Therefore, another area for us to get our governments to focus on, is the basic struggle for survival by some countries. Teaching people about peace is one thing but putting in place programmes that sustain nutrition or self sufficiency is another. Too much money is being wasted in fighting and not enough on, ‘giving peace a chance’
Interestingly, on June 12, 2007, a John Lennon covers album, Instant Karma (includes his famous, ‘Give peace a chance’ single): The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, will be released, with proceeds going to Amnesty International. The aim of the CD is to raise awareness of the Darfur situation.