A beat for peace - 'Salam Bada'
Peace as a state of being transfuses all levels of life from the social and the political, to the ethical and the spiritual. The interconnectedness of all these realms is essential to identify and grasp, as acting on one level influences and shapes all others. And where does peace start? It starts from the heart, as Lost Boy, a musician supported by Xchange Perspectives sings.
Watch the music video 'Salam Bada'.
How to make peace and what is it anyway. Interesting enough, every human being longs for peace. Everybody wants to live in stable and safe conditions; everybody wants to have inner peace, the total soul-rest. This desired state of being seems to be a communality among all humans; the question then to ask is why do we long for peace. Peace is the mental construct that encompasses all the conditions, which, if fulfilled, would allow humanity to foster a fertile ground for development and growth. The best of evidences proving that humanity longs for peace might as well be the constant struggle to fulfil the above-mentioned conditions, namely safety, continuity, and love. These conditions being fulfilled breed the ground for growth in its mature sense, in all terms, and infuse then a spirit of creativity that guides the process of mature growth. Ultimately, the reason behind our search for peace is to provide for an inner and outer context consequently leading us to an intimate process of discovery of the purpose of life. This process then acknowledged takes humanity beyond peace being both the way and the aim to be achieved, it sets a context where we envision a reality of constant thrilling quests, towards higher and ever more noble inventions and discoveries in all realms of life, taking human civilisation much higher than any present conceptual framework of thought can grasp.
Why haven’t we achieved it yet? We have to learn to be more patient. Trees are cut quickly, forests grow for generations. To make peace is a long and complicated process and we tend to forget this, as peace is still considered as an agreement between two or more parties, decided upon and signed by the elites and implemented by the people. But since the Second World War, this has changed tremendously. The wars, which are fought between states are almost not existent anymore, the invasion of Iraq is one of the recent exceptions. Nowadays conflicts arise mostly within states and the root causes, economically-, ethnically-, politically- or culturally-motivated, of those conflicts are difficult to analyse. It is a common state of denial to consider that the issues present in a conflict area are the problems of that area alone, while these problems, on the contrary, are mirrored, extended, originating and intensified by external players. These latter are sometimes affected by these crises and are mostly drawing the lines of the situation to fit their own interests and agendas.
How to make war we all know. Slowly spontaneous violence and fighting entered a new stage, with sophisticated weapons and armies, send to achieve a particular goal by winning over the other party. As much of a paradox as it might sound: "War is a cultural achievement of humanity." Now we only have to figure out how to create a culture of peace and how to sustain it. This seems to be much more complicated. However, it is not impossible, otherwise humanity would have eradicated itself long time ago. Many societies have knowledge on how to solve conflicts in a non-violent way, how to reconcile with each other and how to condemn an escalation of conflict. There is no civilisation and culture on this planet, which has not developed some forms of diplomacy, palaver and rituals to calm down or compensate opposing parties. Further than that, diverse cultures and beings have developed through an intimate understanding of peace as an integral part of life. Examples of that are meditation techniques seeking the establishment and the development of a peaceful inner self, and diverse societies built on concepts of cooperation and social interdependence as rules for a prosperous and dignified life.
To this end everybody should be able to follow, but people who want to know more about how to make peace, discover an interesting phenomena: a dark black spot. Why is it like this? Well, two main institutions that could play a great role expanding the knowledge on peace, know little about this subject: The media and science. Journalists want to know little, if at all, about peace. Their great passion is conflict and violence, the spectacle of death and displacement, the drama of the winner and the looser, as well as the countless sad stories of starving and despaired people, which sell well. Bad news is good news, and war delivers the best-worst stories. So far so bad, and even this is no surprise, as media are not guided by courageous journalist, but rather by profit oriented business people.
Looking at science it gets a bit more difficult. There are numerous institutions, congresses, publications and think tanks, which have peace or security in their name, but once one has a closer look about what topics and issues the research is about, it becomes quite a surprise. The majority of peace researchers are actually war researchers, knowing a lot about how many people were injured and killed, what the costs were and so on. Volker Matthies, a political scientist from Hamburg states, "peace is considered as something obvious, and therefore it doesn’t need to be elaborated or reported." We at Xchange Perspectives believe that it is not obvious and therefore we support talented young people like Lost Boy to share their perspectives on peace and encourage us all to grow towards a culture of peace.
Text by: Dominik Lehnert 2010 (This is an excerpt of 'Media for Peace - a holistic framework for action'. For more information please contact us.)