Today we almost reached the finish. We have the last session about peace and reconciliation method. It attracted me as I have made conclusions how the space for peace can be helpful for traumatized people, the case referred to Sierra Leon war. Due to this brutal war a lot people was injured and traumatized. Nothing could be done for this people but heal their traumas and pains that was able to perform throug truth telling and confession. I found the film very sad and even emotionally heavy. People, who were affected by the atrocity of war were brought to bonfire, both sides victims and perpetrator of violence, and organized a true telling process that was a way forgiveness and confession respectfully. I found it very difficult to forgive such a brutality and continue living with the same person, as well the confession-Not easy to declare in front of your community that you have committed this unprecedented crime. In my opinion both require boldness and wisdom. This method of healing was probated largely in Sierra Leon and adjusted to cultural context. I found out that peace building is very personal and it begun on local level.
At the end of the day we analyzed our main insights that we have gathered during these three weeks, it was extremely interesting and valuable to make conclusions and share reflections regarding the peace. What have learnt during this three week? It would be difficult to count and define. Peace is complicated, it overlaps almost every sphere of human activity. Moreover, it has very sensitive and personal levels. I will never forget that father Cedric’s words if you want to build a peace you need to have peace first inside you-Self purification
Even though I always lack the time and was concerned about the task that I have to fulfill on time, I learnt to deal with extreme situations and be more organized. I once more was assured that when one leaves his comfort zone, there begins the growth and real changes. It was really beneficial for me as I have obtained new skills and it helped me to develop my stamina.
I am really glad that I had an opportunity to be a peace building program participant and get the knowledge, that I will use in practice. I highly appreciate that I had an opportunity to acquire new friends and establish new contacts.
I had an honer to listen and absorb very valuable information regarding gender issues in relation to peace. Mr. Sonjata Moorti has represented gender issues in regard to peace. I loved her outfit and manner of her gender expressing.
Today the gender, women right are very buzzwords and understood in different angels. The session determined the difference between gender and sex. Since the gender is social phenomena, and is possible to be altered through the time. However, sex is more than male and female. I loved to discover that women can be very valuable for peace and not because I am female and have this advantageous but it clearly made me to see my role as woman in peace building. Through the session we have learnt that women is more prone to bring peace and harmony in the society. She can establish different values and assets for peace. This derived me to the past when I made my first presentation in University about women leadership issues, where I highlight the role of women in social life and society.
Since international society decided that women is someone who’s participation and involvement in peace building is significant, still this is not equally and comprehensibly developed in other countries, where the violence and brutality is common toward women. We have worked in groups on real cases that affected me and made me to think about a perpetrator of violence, that might be a humans or culture as a structural violence, however it could be both. Here I have to mention about negative and positive peace, the latter relies on justice and rational appeal. It is difficult to achieve as requires a braveness and risk, not all are capable to deal with society’s stereotypical restrictions. I admire the women who has broken these boundaries and went beyond them far.
The last two weeks was hard process of searching, thinking and analyzing. All information and concepts regarding the peace was extremely interesting and intrigues. I was somehow confused and concerned about issues that could not find answers. However, this week I found that I can sort and organize my thoughts.
The theory about violence contagious was the challenging issue. If we want to know where the cruelty, violence come from, at first we look at past, family, social environment and society. Moreover, the most of crime perpetrators is connected to gang community. I have learnt out that as other disease has stages of revelation and life cycles, a violence has the same phases. So, it begins from very psychological level. I should conclude that human brains are affected with viruses, that might revile in different forms and in behavior. So, this theory gave me a hope that if a disease is curved than the violence is possible to be treated.
Another significant issue we tackle during the last week was the concept of space and reconciliation. It is important for a peace builder to know and understand the preference of correct space . The space is an area, which can have borders, can be as a free zone or perceived as a place the latter has its references to particular facilities, buildings and physical space. The space can be a remedy for conflict resolving. Here I make a parallel to memory and history -museums, memorials and historical monuments that are rep recursion of apologize, justice or retribution.
Furthermore, the differences of colonization was an interesting topic, as they could be various type, depending on an usurper. and here rise a question of identity . History remembers a lot of incidents when nations were abolished and annihilated totally. Here comes a space as tool for reconciliation for an indigenous people traumatized by the invade and terror.
We had another opportunity to go through our acknowledgement about peace and its relation to other part of life. This time we met with a police chief of police Adele Frese. I found her very strong and experienced woman, striving to protect human’s life. It was interesting to learnt about her passion to become a policeman. Her early period of childhood was accompanied by the incident that shaped her thought and determined her future as a policeman. She talked about the prevention programs that keeps more or less of happening a crime. However, she strives to do much in that field and introduce new approaches.
Another extremely significant issues we discussed during the session was history and memory. We were introduced with various examples of historical conflicts, where the memory plays a huge role. This made me think about it and could not get answer. Despite having a strong peace building tool or any developed project for reconciliation and conflict management, It seems complicated to deal with painful memory, as it is impossible to erase the past experience and information. So, here I got into impasse. How it is possible to construct a bridge between hostile parties when there is painful memory.
At the end of the session we watched a film about the victims torched and suffered from the violence. Even though, justice that implied court litigation regarding each cases, that was not relief so much. The memory is undefeated. However, I look at this problem with hope that some time, generations will deal with that and it is a question time.
We had an opportunity to attend a CASP meeting in Salinas city hall. We have heard about the programs and projects that aim at to transform a cognition and behavior of inmates and youth involved in crime and violence. Thanks to these programs they return to an adequate and normal life style, they return back to their families and get rid of crime. It was worth to mention that, developing this program is not so far standardized but rely on personal approach and it was very hopeful to know that.
I would like to emphasize the role of probation center called “Rancho de Cielo” It provides various programs and maintain correctional practice for juveniles. I was very pleased to hear that they are challenged to get some necessary skills and knowledge to use it later in life. The probation center supports them to be engaged in different NGO even they are paid with low salaries, their involvement is highly appreciated and recognized. the probation center has its kitchen where young people acquire cooking skills. Moreover, the center is going to arrange a restaurant in the area where youth will be employed.
In the line with that, I want to mention about Wille Stokes’s story. I was touched by his recounted and confession about his life. He is one these examples, who vanquish over him self and leaving behind the past and crime converted in an absolutely different person. He has written his own book and he is dedicated to assist to others assuring them that life without crime and violence is nothing but wasted time.
Mount Madonna amazed me with its beauty, placidity and peacefulness. I would say it was more than I could expect. The sessions at Mt. Madonna were extremely interesting and very comprehensive as I have learnt a lot, found out that my thought and attitudes got different shape and it lead me to change my conciseness mind. I began saw things in different angles.
I never was related with justice system and crime, I had heard about thrilling stories in movie or read articles. This session provide me to look to this world without lens of visitor but as an participator. Julie. impressed me with knowledge and experience she had obtained during her life time. We touched very sensitive issues and made deliberation of peacekeeping role in the world of crime. I was concerned with the issues of inmates. We visited the prison, I was acquainted with life of inmates, “gangsters” that means very dangerous people. they had their splited territories controlled by the chief of the gangster. It was amazing to learn that in that world exists some rules and law. Most of them spend their life in the prison and never get out from the prison. Even sough, there is a supportive educational program for them to restore their destroyed mentality and soul, these programs are not so much helpful for them. I was very sad as I could not get to decision what is the solution for them. Violence is so rooted in their minds that it is difficult to eradicate it and convert them in another person. However, the correctional center demonstrated another picture: here the inmates had not committed such a grave crime and violence. We attended to the session dedicated for the prisoners for redressing their thoughts. A counselor strives to made them to dig into deep the problems and understand the roots of deviation. We had an opportunity to talk to counselors and ask them questions about the trauma healing programs. The most significant problem they face during sessions was a resistance that they encounter in relation to inmates. However, as one of the counselor has mentioned it is a question of time and step by step the resistance is getting soften. I was excited to learn about the pets in the prison. Dogs are trained for a one purpose to love humans and grant them a bunch of positive emotions. It worth to touch to one of them that it was felt this positive energy, the dogs were very sweet. I have realized that emotions and feeling are very important in peace building activity: to the questions how do you train these dogs” the answer was “we teach them to love” So, I have understand that except knowledge and skills peacekeeping thinks from a heart as well.
Through the SPP program I discovered the art of interpretation and translation, the lecture was amazing and funny, diving into peculiarities and difficulties of this job, I found out that interpreting is art and extremely stressful as well. It requires special skills and quickness of mind. I have to mention that I discovered a lot during this week, found out that a peace is not something you can see on the surface but need to dive deep to learn and study it. Moreover, found out that peace is inside of all us just you need more deliberation.
We watched the film about the water issues, how people kill each other and battle for gaining water. It was painful to learn that sometime people treat each other brutally for obtaining power and resources. When I think about conflicts I try to recall my own cases and find real roots of it, why it is happening, who needs it and whom does it serve? still I do not have full answers for them but strive to understand and learn more. in the line to it, I have understood that conflicts are induced by abusing religion, now I can differ that religion is not a cause of conflict but a tool in dangerous people’s hand.
Confusion can sometimes be a good thing, research shows.
I would like to emphasize the role of managing, evaluation and assessment through the peace building process. We were taught during a session about how we need to monitor and report our peace building efforts. I have understood that all these remain beyond your tangible appreciation. Through the work I maintained as an assistant of a project, I used to refer with this issue and got a solid understanding of it. However, I found peace more difficult to evaluate and I find myself confused as I have felt more responsible. It really is worth it to mention that peace and justice are related, and how they are independent and replenish each other. I was struck by the story about the Africa American girl, wishing to go to school and get educated in early 60s, and was treated brutally from classmates because of race and society. They pretended to establish peace by kicking her out of the school. So, since it is not a solving problem but running from it, I realized that achieving a peace is not just make quit and just defusing a tension.
When I begin thinking about peace I find myself very thoughtful about it. What can peace encompass and what can it bring for the world? In my country this discipline is less established as academics and I do not have more related to it more than just reading books about prominent people supporting peace.
Through the peace building program, I have found out that I, as each of us, can be a channel for peace. Working with different participants of Peace programs and lectures I found I out that peace is more deep than it could be seen on the surface. I have been thinking on Father Cedric’s words that peace is something that is not superficial but we have to dive into the context of every situation. I found out more about the peace, the differences between international and local peace builders, and that each of them has its role and can make its contribution to peace. And I have to underline the art and peace correlation as the most important attribute to it. When I used to work as an volunteer in a NGO aiming to cover women’s abuse issues, violence and heal their trauma, once again was ascertained that art has tremendous effects on people and can curve them.