Culture of peace: why the light is never reached?



After recent attacks in Paris, the big question to pose is: which are the steps and efforts that are being taken to contribute to a culture of peace? A safety framework that guarantees that these devastating acts of violence will not be repeated is extremely needed. Instead, it seems that most of the efforts made from political leaders around the world are focused on a culture of war. War is the rule and acts of peace are the exception; governments and society are strongly prepared for war reactions and not to build roots for “system peace”. The strategically focus is “to declare war” and to “ response military” instead of ”declaring peace” and “response accordingly” on a real and sustainable peace process. Israel- Palestine is just one of many examples that illustrates this situation.

This culture of war shaped by international leaders and officially accepted is what is contributing badly to move forward towards negotiation and conciliation, building safety societies based in a culture of peace.

Since 2001 this culture has been aggravated by a terrible impact over civilians. Their disempowerment of civilians in countries participants of this war is absolute, cancelling their ability of discern if they want to participate or not in this war. Indeed, the commitment to this war has the political involvement of governments but do not necessarily mean support from the citizenship. This dangerous position makes them being literally in first line of fire. There are not been implementing/promoting democratic mechanisms in which the citizenship could decide if they accept or not this “state of war” and its consequences.

 As President Holland has said immediately after the attacks: “ France is at war” and with this kind of military and political attitude response is expected more violent responses. Now, if there is a declared war means that we are not in a pure “terrorism threat” in which there is targeting civilians from both parts. (please note that airstrikes from alliance countries in Syria and Irak are also killing civilians) Once is officially accepted that both parts in the conflict are under a status of ”war” it supposes a change of the concept of terrorism in its nature and its not a legitimate defence, but reciprocal aggressions in which wins the stronger or more skilful. Is in that sense that both parts are committing war crimes know it as “collective punishment” and contemplated in the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The theoretical debate about a war status is important because it changes the political position of the country-victim of that attack and do not apply principles of national defence in emergency situations but of traditional responses on war rules basis. Attack civil targets in a foreign territory are not new, but what is new is the context: a declared war since 2001. Is clear that the goal has not been achieved, the war has been lost and continues growing in strength and intensity, putting in risk much more countries & individuals without even consider the possibility of a change on the approach. Alliance countries have soundly failed on its goal of gaining this war, leading to more indiscriminate attacks from both parts in the conflict. Accept that we are in war means also the fulfilment of war rules and accept the responsibility over war crimes.

Is good to reflect that negotiation is a strong tool of war when the goal is to return to peace as soon as possible. A smart way to get out of conflict that surprisingly is not been considered and is seeing a troublesome path to be implemented from a very weak political will to make it happen.

Immediately after the attacks, leaders and institutions all over the world turn to an unanimous total condemn however, just to condemn this attacks and repeat the same codes of behaviour on the response is not enough and what is worst is totally ineffective. In any of those declarations there were a serious analysis in which we could rely that negotiations, thoughts, proposals or alternatives could bring light on a dark future and attack once and for all the roots of the conflict.

There seems no intention from decision makers to change politically, creating terrible consequences not only on national security, but also by maximizing the impact of far wing speeches on racism, fear and hate.

In a tragic-comic sense Paris attacks will be remembered by the name of the concert hall in which it took place: Bataclan. A tragedy that not only has affected 129 victims but their families, their Nation and the whole international community that is seeing on those attacks the reminder of the unsafely and weakness of current defence systems.

48 hrs. after the attacks France launch their biggest raid on Syria. Is this the correct approach? Is this the one that French society needed it? Is this the approach that will return the lost peace and balance? Unfortunately is predictable that they will be more signs of extremism not only from the Islamic State but from political parties inside France that will erase in one single gesture all efforts made through ages to get to a multicultural, multi-ethnic French society.

In the positive side is good to highlight that there are certain awareness from leaders and analysts of the need to change and abandon codes of behaviour that have proved not to be effective:

“What won’t work is sending thousands more U.S. troops in the fight” What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of ‘American leadership’ or ‘America winning”’ that has “no relationship to what is actually going to work,” Barack Obama said.[1]

“Spain is not currently thinking of carrying out airstrikes in Syria”, said Spain’s Home Secretary, Jorge Fernández Díaz said.

”The West must recognize that, as Afghanistan and Iraq have shown, conflict in the Arab world cannot be resolved through foreign military intervention” Javier Solana said.[2]

 If it is the presence of foreign military forces in Middle East that is creating so devastating impact that results in more attacks, means that the strategy need to be changed, by negotiation or withdrawal, simply by “changing the means to get to their goals”. None of this is being done and more military presence and more violence is the key factor to “defend” the West.

French government is in war a well as other countries in the world, but is this French population´s will? Particularly after last Friday are French people willing to keep a war?

Struggle against extremism with extremism is not a smart strategy and it places humanity in a very weak position far away from a pacific and successful way out.

To achieve a culture of peace is imperative to get the contribution of all actors in the society. To declare war and hold a strong military strategy in Middle East, with an outstanding presence and then expect that attacks will be reduced is a utopia. After 14 years of sustained war it has proved its devastated impact and their in-depth failure.

A change of vision and strategy is urgently needed to stop this wave of reciprocal attacks to civilians and achieve the only acceptable goal: prevent from unnecessary deaths of innocent people that have no chances to decide if they want to be part of this conflict or not.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”[3]

On the rugged road for embracing a global culture of peace.





[3] Sun Tzu The Art of War


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