Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
Almost everybody around the world wants peace. So, why is so difficult to live in peace?
Let’s think together about this.
I said “almost” because some people are interested in power no matter the cost others have to pay. Some obtain very good benefits, for example, in wars and selling arms.
However there are many institutions, associations and persons that are really concern about peace.
Based in the theory of Johan Galtung we can say there is negative peace that means the absence of war, positive peace that is related with social justice and structures, and cultural peace as all the aspects in the symbolic sphere of our existence are used to not justify violence.
In this sense for this author, all that obstructs the development of the potential that a person has is violence.
Thus, there are lots of programs supported with an incredible amount of money in different places with a motto of bringing peace to people in conflict or post conflict situations.
Sometimes they have good intentions, great ideas, and qualified people, but they still don’t work.
There needs to be a big conjunction of capacity, knowledge, skills and humility.
Why humility? Because dealing with people is not math. Dealing with people means taking into account not only their context, culture, history, values, experiences, institutions, systems, but also hearing what they want, what they need. These details apparently so simple and insignificant can cause a perfect plan to crumble.
Only enhancing the capacities of people in their own places to participate in the activities or projects according with their desires and needs will achieve a sustainable development oriented to build peace.
If we don´t respect this step, out well intended action will become a hurdle for their development, and that is also violence.
Peace is a process. Peace is a path without a map. Peace needs people without “the perfect solution”, peace needs our patient and open mind to see each person as a wonderful mystery to be discovered.
Carolina Bastard, Argentina
Rotary Peace Fellow
January 2013 Session