Tuesday, September 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

The real problem isn’t conflict, it’s violent conflict management

By Erin Niemela

In 2014, the growing list of suffering by violent conflict management includes (but is not limited to): more than 10,000 murders and kidnappings in Nigeria, civil war in Syria, escalated terrorism in Iraq, an asymmetrical bombardment in Gaza, and now somebody, some faction, some government shot down a Malaysia Airlines jet and killed 295 human beings.

The cause of the deaths will guide several weeks of media coverage. We’ll bicker and brood about who shot down the plane, how and why, until the next tragedy and the next and the next. All the while, we’ll ignore the underlying assumption: that violence is natural, inevitable and an acceptable method for problem-solving — as long as it’s done by our guys with our weapons on their guys and their ground.

I don’t care who did it. I care that the victims and their families find justice — at least knowing the absolute truth and receiving reparations and support. But, I don’t care who’s to blame, what weapons they used, which countries/leaders are allies/enemies, who hates Malaysians, Americans, Russians, Ukrainians or any of the typical issues fueling analyses from political science talking heads on mainstream media.

There’s only one most important problem anyone should care to address: All violence — from state to non-state to domestic varieties; all weapons, from small arms to nuclear bombs; and all industries profiting from human violence, from manufacturers at every level to dealers of every “legal” degree — have only ever caused more violence, war, destruction and suffering all over the world.

Also grabbing the headlines are Palestinian deaths in Gaza and the more than 12,000 gun deaths in the United States since the tragic school shootings in Newtown, Conn. This global pro-violence worldview will shoot us all down from the sky unless we — as international citizens of rational mind — reject the outdated, illogical idea that violence is an acceptable, or possible, means for achieving peace.

Let’s finally start listening to and joining with the voices of positive peace — defined by my mentor and dear friend Tom Hastings, author and professor of conflict resolution, as “peace and justice by peaceable means.”

World Beyond War, a nonviolent international movement to abolish war and build a truly sustainable global peace, has a plan in which we can all participate.

Physicians for Social Responsibility have been working for more than 50 years on campaigns to ban nuclear weapons, reverse or mitigate climate change (a current cause of violent conflict in some areas — especially when violence is the preferred method of conflict management choice) and eliminate toxic waste that violently threatens our very existence on Earth.

Transcend International, an online university, media service, research institute and peace development network founded by professor Johan Galtung, father of peace and conflict studies, aims to educate the global public on current peace and conflict research and peace-building practices, including peace journalism, that will create a positive-peace world.

There is also the United States Institute for Peace (can you believe it?!), established by Congress to “increase the nation’s capacity” to use nonviolent conflict management methods. USIP had its funding completely eliminated and reinstated between February and April 2011 — a flagrant message to our peace-builders that pro-violence politicians can and will cut you, if we let them.

These are just four examples of organizations and people who have been tirelessly working for peace and nonviolence against the raging current of a pro-violence worldview. Let’s give these four, and the many, many others out there, some jet skis already before the fan simply breaks and we’re all just covered in the waste of this big white elephant we’ve raised.

We’ll always have conflict — it’s absolutely natural and inevitable. It’s our beliefs about how we should properly manage, resolve and transform that conflict that determine whether hundreds of innocent people are murdered at 32,000 feet, are kidnapped from their homes and schools, or hear a “knock on the roof.”

I’ll let Oxfam America sum it up: “… it is not conflict but conflict management that should be of utmost concern; that is, the ways in which environmental and political stressors interact in the presence of ameliorative or exacerbating institutions are the keys to overcoming violence.”

We’ve got the knowledge, we’ve got the tools, we’ve got the capacity, we’ve got the motivation and we’ve got each other — so let’s get to it.

— Erin Niemela is a master’s degree candidate in the conflict resolution program at Portland State University, editor of PeaceVoice and a channel manager at PeaceVoiceTV. Reach her at erin.peacevoice@gmail.com.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    UC joins U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

     
    Nature’s beauty is in our own back yard

    By Charlotte Orr | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Jury finds Dixon man guilty of mortgage fraud

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

     
     
    U.S., Arab allies hit Islamists in Syria, Iraq

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Bob Dunning: These are the tanks we get

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Wind threatens firefighting effort

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Harmony Award nominations sought

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Street Food Rodeo rolls into West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Wolk kicks off ‘Morning with the Mayor’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    So you want to be an entomologist?

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A4

    Sheriff’s Office honored for safe-driving initiative

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Baha’is celebrate 50th anniversary in Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Downtown gift cards get a new perk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Unscheduled landing

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Free community yard sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Forum will answer questions about new license law

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Applications open for Biberstein grants

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Forum

    Daughter has her own opinions

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Brother’s drinking out of control

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Donors support school matinees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    A big Explorit thanks!

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Teacher tenure becomes key campaign issue

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    We must not stand for perpetual war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Don’t cut all the trees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    A great Day in the Country

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Davis field hockey team rights ship at Lassen

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Devil golfers soar past Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Blue Devils bounce back against Pleasant Grove

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Running game powered Devils in first football win

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggie women reach finals of East/West golf tourney

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

     
    U11s get a win in an eventful weekend of youth football

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    A’s support Samardzija in a win over Angels

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7