Thinking of the peace builders

On 21 September – the UN International Peace Day – International Alert launched a video for showing in cinema and around the internet, for tweeting and generally going viral, to spark interest in peacebuilding. Take a look:

The film is a kind of mini-metaphor about ending the fighting. But building a genuine and lasting alternative to violence is not just about that, or about helping refugees get back home, or building schools and roads.  At its heart, peacebuilding is about people and developing the ability – and the institutions – to manage conflicts peacefully.

The film is about the first steps that allow people to tackle the problems that took the country into conflict.

Peace is not built by people who come from outside the location of the conflict. What we can do is help – but the people who build peace are the ones who most need it, the oens who live there.

This is a good time to think about the people who build peace, among them:

  • men and women operating community radio stations  in Liberia, who provide opportunities for local dialogue and thus help prevent a resurgence of violence;
  • women’s organisations in Rwanda who bring victims and perpetrators of the 1994 genocide together to find a peaceful way forward;
  • businessmen and women in Mindanao, Southern Philippines, who are figuring out their part in finding a solution to their country’s protracted conflicts;
  • villagers in Nepal who sit down to discuss what kind of security they want – and who can and should provide it;
  • leaders in Kyrgyzstan who meet together to talk open-mindedly about how their country can move forward – and away from the spectre of last year’s communal violence;
  • and the men and women in LOndon who got together quite spontaneously the day after the riots in August to help clean up their streets.

For peace!

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