Of late, I have been doing a great deal of work on the importance of civil society in peacebuilding. One reality that came across my mind is that civil society has a tremendous role in the destruction of peace so it should have an equal role in the building of peace. As the world works, an example of just such a situation comes to the front of attention in the form of the school shooting in the RUSA, Florida.
The school shootings can be an anology of what is taking place in Syria. Although the scale of destruction is different, the sparks that ignite violence can be seen as similar in each circumstance. We can see the personal path of groups like Daesh as similar to that of the person who opens fire on a school. We see the isolation of the other, the internal conversation that festers within the closed group or mind, the need to lash out, the need to get revenge, the need to feel some control and the “insanity of their words and actions”.
Then we have the outside group or civil society. These are the people who see the destructive behaviour taking place. Often the destruction takes place slowly and society can brush it off, even though it is the destruction of society we are witness to. Such situations are not comfortable for many of us. This is true for every single person in society. Since there are a great many factors swirling around in this situation, the scope of the equation can be overwhelming.
What is meant by the scope of the equation is this:
A personal problem manifests itself and that person gives warning signs. When or if those signs are noticed something must be done. What needs to be done, do you have the capacity to do anything and of course there is the decision - are you willing to get involved? Each and everyone of us faces these situations everyday. We see people struggle with life everyday and we make snap decisions.
As we deal with these situations we must take into consideration the reality that we may never really know the impact we make when acting in a peaceful manner. It is easy to look back as ask why something was not done. The only reasonable answers is that no one really thought their actions would make much difference and that nothing bad was going to happen by ignoring the warning signs. Those thoughts are the most basic issue of why peace efforts are such a difficult reality for many to grasp onto.
We know the impact of a bullet, a bomb or a missle. It is difficult to truly know the impact of giving your time to help another. It is even more difficult to help those that are already understood as worthless, troublesome, weird or out of touch with reality. However these are the links in the chain of peace that will break if left alone.
Peace is a continous task filled with moments of struggles to help eachother. Also, we must keep in mind that we have to take care of our own internal peace. Each of us must seek out healthy methods to vent frustrations as well. As we go about such tasks we find that it takes greater courage to be a peaceful person that it does to be a violent, destructive and harmful person.
As we go about our day, each of us carries a responsibility to ensure civil society either builds peace or wages war.