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Peace Studies

(These are excerpts from a letter written in response to an article in The National Post by Barbara Kay criticizing the peace movement)

Peace is popular because the vast majority of people around the world want peace and know the military/industrial/political/media complex is not working for them – and they want change. Quoting President Obama, I respectfully submit “yes we can” bring peace to our communities and world through peace education done well.

Peace is an actual subject, thing, place and related series of events – otherwise why would people throughout history have been trying to cultivate it and include it in their Constitutions? Peace is not just the absence of war; peace (or lack thereof) is evident at the individual, family, community, regional and world levels. Peace is evident in a direct way, such as not being verbally attacked or not denying rights for women, or not discriminating against “Peaceniks” or races and cultures. The science of peace is not well understood, hence the need for Peace Education and a Peace profession.

Peace is not just idealistic — it must also be pragmatic.

Military studies are not “realist.” The invasion of Iraq because Iraq “really” had weapons of mass destruction is one example of how misled militants, warmongers and the military/industrial/political/media complex are. Military realism is as much an arrogant contradiction of terms as military intelligence. History has shown that if we prepare for war we get war. At some time our society must realize that if we want peace we must prepare for peace.

Peace studies have been going on since the 1930s, every major violent incident accelerates the search for peace. Despite its great importance there have been no lavish donations for peace, which is starved of resources compared with the trillion spent annually on militaries and wars. Our government leaders, Stephen Harper included, tout peace but I challenge them to show me the money. There is virtually nothing spent on peace in comparison with what is spent on militarism.

Peace Studies have produced many practical prescriptions for managing or resolving global conflicts including improvements to the United Nations, the start of the International Criminal Court, conflict transformation methodology, building better relationships, nonviolent communications practices, school peace programs, Community Centres for teaching peace, peace cafes, etc.

Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Lester B. Pearson, Mother Teresa and Maria Montessori are some of our gurus, past and present, respected by the world.

If Peace Studies are said to be intellectually incoherent, riddled with bias, unworthy of academic status, of a certain ideological bias, the same could be said of Military Studies. Yet Military Studies in North America receive a tremendous amount of funding from departments of National Defence, and companies making fortunes from war and the military.

For the most part Peace Education is a labour of love by “do-gooders” millions of people who simply care about other people. Militarism is not working for anyone except those who profit from it.

If our world leaders wanted it, war could be banished tomorrow.

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