Today, 21 September, is the UN International Day of Peace. It’s a day to think about how peace is achieved, safeguarded and built. It is, of course, not the work of a day. Think of Syria, and how much rebuilding of all kinds will be needed when the opportunity of peace arrives. Or think of Rwanda, 19 years on from the genocide, and how it is still recovering and building a peaceful society. Here’s a brief video of (some of) my thoughts about it.
Democratic Republic of Congo: In Kinshasa , the summit meeting of La Francophonie replete with heads of state, resounding speeches and ringing declarations; in the east, 2 million displaced people and rising tension as the M-23 rebels sit just 15 kilometres from Goma, capital of North Kivu province, held back only by an uncertain ceasefire; on TV, repeated statements that this is the 187/8/9th day of aggression by Rwanda.
On Tuesday 9th, International Alert in Rwanda launched our report, Healing Fractured Lives, and the accompanying film (see my previous post) based on the photography of Carol Allen Storey. Discssuing the vivid personal accounts in the report and the film brought out some insights about how peacebuilding can work in even the most extreme circumstances. Continue reading
I am making an all too quick visit to Rwanda, primarily for International Alert‘s launch of the report and film, Fractured Lives. This project combines trauma counselling, dialogue and microfinancing in Rwandan villages as the country continues, often painfully, to grow out of the shadow of the mass killing and horrors of 1994 continues. The work has been brilliantly captured for Alert by award-winning photographer, Carol Allen Storey. The results are on show both in this slide show
and in the exhibition featuring the same work and more – on for the next week and a bit at the SW 1 Gallery
in Victoria, London.
Apart from the intrinsic interest of the subjects and the quality of the photographs, one of the most striking things about the film and exhibition is the way the photographs have cracked the problem of getting visual images for the process of building peace. War has always been photogenic – now we see how peacebuilding can be too.
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: