As our Global Youth Rising group sat this week, coming together after the events in Nice and the coup in Turkey, we pondered what the response could be from a group of people doing the work to create new realities around violence. An ongoing thread during our time together has been the fact that none of this is about violence happening “out there” – we are all connected to the people involved and to the causes and outcomes of our interactions together. As we all know, simply not being involved in an active war doesn’t mean we’re ‘at peace,’ and so we tend to ignore the possible growing systems and structures that are instigating violence.
For a group coming together from so many different corners of the world, what has been striking is the widespread presence of hate in our various cultures. It has been painful to watch a language of hate mainstream itself into our common rhetoric – stemming from a persistent feeling of distrust and fear that seems to be intensifying and spreading widely around the globe. Many of us came to GYR in Romania hoping to discover together new ways in which we could address this undercurrent of hate, identify the root causes, and create lasting solutions – working in community with other peacebuilders from around the world instead of in our own countries since this culture of hate seems to be spreading globally.
July 17, 2016
As a Global Youth Rising participant from Scotland noted during a time of sharing our stories within small groups, “conflict is so pervasive, and yet we neglect it”. This theme seems to run through our time together here in Romania.
There are many things we know we will encounter in life as we navigate the twists and turns of education, starting and raising a family, establishing a career. So we develop the inner and outer tools for navigating safely – training, education, skill-building, and tricks of the trade. We want to be able to move around, and so we have cars and we take driving lessons at a certain age and practice driving – stopping, parking, high and low speeds, etc. We know people get sick, and so we teach people how to care for themselves – nutrition, washing our hands, first-aid skills – and as our research shows us new ways of caring for ourselves, we teach folks new skills.
In all this, there is from time to time conflict. Conflict happens every day – with friends on the playground, in families, between partners, in businesses, in governments. All too often, though, training and education for navigating conflict is not part of the preparation-for-life package. And so, we don’t look upon and manage conflict as a normal and natural part of life and relationships, one that presents opportunities for creativity, growth, and win-win resolutions. Instead, we view conflict as abnormal, something to be avoided and suppressed, and win-lose propositions.
The young peacebuilders at Global Youth Rising have been exploring this phenomenon. What causes this to happen, and what can we do in each of our own contexts to transform the “neglect” of conflict?
July 17, 2016