Hello all! Hope all is well!
I just wanted to say a big thank you to all the readers here at A Peace of Conflict. It’s been two years since I first came online to blog and during that time, much has changed. I am now living on a new continent– enjoying the warm tropical weather– and have started some new projects on the blog that I hope you are enjoying.
Over the last few months, I have started writing This Week in Conflict… that summarizes issues of peace and conflict from around the world that have been reported each week. It is usually posted on Friday or Saturday and reflects the week from Saturday to Friday. Just a reminder, that if you have any stories or reports to add to the summaries, please email it to me (preferably Thursday or Friday if you’d like to make it in the post for the week) or write it in the comments below the post. I am also willing to accept personal stories of witnessed violence in conflict zones to add to the reports and will respect everyone’s wishes for anonymity in this situation. All personal reports will be marked as such to distinguish them from publicly reported news, and just a warning that any clear attempts at false propaganda or incitements to further violence will not be posted.
A collaborative peace and conflict dictionary was also started during the past year, which was set up to assist those working in the conflict, human rights or international sphere. It’s been a slow start, but I have been trying to add new terms regularly. Please be sure to send any suggestions for terms or modifications to previously defined terms.
When I first started, I was very nervous writing and having my opinions out there for all to see. I wanted to try and stay as objective as possible in my writing, something that can very difficult when discussing conflict and human rights abuses, so as not receive any harsh criticism. Sometimes it’s easy to demonize those who have committed terrible acts, and sanctify those who are the victims of those acts. But most of the times, it’s not as clear cut as that. Every conflict has its root, every evil has its weakness and every innocent has its flaws. I found it has become easier with time to express my opinions (sometimes looking back with a groan over what I have written previously), and have come to learn that criticism is often times incredibly useful. Being challenged allows us to delve deeper into an issue and look at it in new light. I encourage all readers to speak out if you feel I have misrepresented an issue, though to please due so in respectful language in the spirit of healthy debate, as any comments inciting violence or attacking any other users will be removed.
Here are some highlights from last year’s posts:
- The Parliament of Canada was prorogued, and it became clear that Harper was not going to be an accountable or transparent leader. Many important government bills were lost in the process, and many believed the proroguing only happened because of the Afghan detainee scandal. Propaganda ensued.
- I discussed the theatre of the oppressed, that looks to address cultural violence by allowing an open dialogue on root problems of a conflict within the safety of a theatrical event.
- Using earthships or more weather-resistant/sustainable buildings when rebuilding in disaster areas was discussed, with a specific focus on Haiti.
- I looked at some of the issues in the DR Congo, including MONUC and President Joseph Kabila.
- I discussed how HP computers was making an effort (or at least more than other companies) towards cleaning their supply chain, but was still not fully on board and at the ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative..
- How my local MP responded to my inquiries about the Afghan detainee scandal and the proroguing of Canadian parliament.
- A summary of the Human Rights Watch World Report for 2010.
- A beautiful submission about the Gaza Freedom March in Israel/Palestine was written.
- I looked into the work of Nelson Mandela’s Elders program, that uses peacemaking ex-world leaders to work for an end to crises around the world.
- I returned to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, where I would spend most of the rest of the year researching human rights issues.
- The Israeli flotilla incident was all over the news and I weighed in on it.
- I had a change of heart about what to do about conflict minerals in the DR Congo, after many years of researching and pushing for change and discussed the problems with current legislative initiatives.
- I expressed my frustrations about the justice system (or lack thereof) in Cote d’Ivoire.
- The story of the SHONA cooperative in the DR Congo touched my heart. Disabled persons not only finding ways to be self-sustaining in a conflict economy, but getting to the point where they are able to support their extended families as well.
- A discussion of the colonial aspects of international aid and humanitarianism; a topic I love ranting about to all my friends.
- A critique of western democracy; how government is not really representative, and how technology can help to change that.
- A look at the coming elections in Cote d’Ivoire.
- A two-part discussion of how conflict can be affected by climate change.
- A submission about child rights protection and the discipline dilemma.
- Then I got malaria and took a bit of a break.
- The disputed Ivorian elections frustrated me to no end, and I wrote about the problems with the international community’s response to the crisis and some of the electoral problems as I saw them.
I hope to soon be able to post some more detailed posts about my research into the exploitation of resources and their connection to violence, but am leery to print anything until the research is more conclusive. In the meantime, I would love to hear your personal stories, your academic papers, your rants and your writings (or other art) on violence, conflict, or peace.
Thanks again to all the readers here. I hope you have enjoyed reading the posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them!
Peace to you all!