Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation

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Department of Health and Human Services on its website: In addition, this website offers Bullying Prevention Training Modules, with tools and resources to organize effective prevention efforts in your community. Public and private schools of all types are also adopting systems of restorative justice. Punishing and excluding students who violate school rules or harm others may be counterproductive, in that these actions can lead to further alienation and lack of opportunities; they may also hinder education, ultimately leading such children to higher rates of future incarceration.

Jerry Lawler hosts “A Family Reconciliation” with Nikki & Brie Bella: Raw, Aug. 25, 2014

In contrast, restorative justice has been very effective at improving school safety and safeguarding the futures of young people. It keeps students who conduct offenses in school, ensuring their accountability through restitution, and deals with underlying issues while supporting victims. Many schools use talking circles to bring together students, parents, faculty, and administrators to discuss and address incidents, with written commitments to resolve the harm. A justice that is not a battle ground but a healing ground. A justice that seeks to transform broken lives, relationships, and communities rather than damage them further.

In the aftermath of the well-publicized shootings in Columbine, the state of Colorado tried instituting a zero-tolerance school policy for youth who committed offenses, with mandatory expulsions. But they found this policy did not work, and only exacerbated problems among students. Watch this video to learn why some schools have turned instead to restorative justice for more effective solutions.

How educational approaches are designed can be as important as implementation. Students themselves do not just present risks; they are valuable leaders and allies in promoting peace. As a first step to engage youth in peace-building, rather than simply holding an event and hoping that youth will join what you have planned, go to them first and see how you can build upon their interests and ideas. You may be surprised by the resources they offer.

Forming a Bookmakers and Dreamers Club , these young people, many from families in military service, decided they wanted to learn how to promote peace. They then launched a project to create the world's largest book, with peace as its topic. Working over many years to accomplish that goal, they were supported by a committed teacher, Betsy Sawyer, who helped them enlist others across the community.

Parents, businesses, and area universities contributed expertise and resources. The students gathered advice from hundreds of peace leaders, including Nobel Peace Laureates, to include in their book. Using new technology to print and turn the pages of such a large volume, the completed book has been showcased at the United Nations and other venues.

In a related and widely-publicized effort, the Groton students also accepted the invitation of young persons in the Afghan Peace Volunteers to engage in peace discussions held via Skype conference calls. That initiative changed the lives of students, several of whom have now graduated and are pursuing careers advancing peace. It also sparked important dialogue across the community on the importance of peace-building as a response to conflict.

Several additional models and resources for promoting peace are available on the Peaceful Tomorrows and the Charter for Compassion websites. Schools can sign the Charter for Compassion and join others in shared commitment and resource-sharing. Also, the Teaching Tolerance Project offers free lessons, videos, toolkits, and other resources to promote tolerance and inclusivity in the classroom. Peace-building also involves awareness of the needs and assets of those in your group or organization, along with those in the community where you live or provide services.

Devote time to how you may address those needs and build upon existing assets. As one case in point, important models and guidance for businesses to address domestic violence, many of which can be applied to other forms of violence, are profiled in the workbook Interrupting the Cycle of Violence: Addressing Domestic Violence through the Workplace. By exploring these questions, you are likely to find ways to strengthen both your organization and your community impact.

Many businesses, large and small, are realizing that a commitment to social responsibility not only contributes to strengthening communities, but also raises employee satisfaction and even increases the bottom line. There are several ways that businesses have advanced peace in local and even in international contexts. One is to provide job opportunities for local youth during summer months — this is a proven strategy to reduce local crime and provide community advancement.

They have also partnered with the organization Peace One Day, to support the development of nonviolence and conflict-resolution curriculum materials used in U. Business leaders have also acted to maintain and strengthen community unity, for instance by refusing to ostracize and discriminate in ways that can divide a community. In Indiana and Arizona, many businesses have joined together to take a stand against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Healthcare Without Harm provides an example of proactive organizational commitments to live peaceably with their neighbors by safeguarding environmental health. This initiative promotes best practices to protect the quality of local air, water, and land, encouraging healthcare facilities to consider their impacts not only on the health of staff and patients, but on host communities as well.

A strong community is one that has integrated a commitment to advancing peace throughout its systems, policies, and initiatives. A strong partnership across sectors — including community agencies, local organizations, and businesses — underlies many peace-building efforts. Any such efforts should be shaped and driven by the contributions of community residents, which require early engagement and capacity-building to maximize their participation and leadership. Below are some examples of community initiatives that exemplify peace-building in innovative ways:. An important focal area of policy to stem violence is policing and the criminal justice system.

We must begin to realize that imprisonment is not where the solution lies. Many alternative models work to bring communities together to reduce violence. One effective model program for communities is the Advancement Project. Activists working in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, once infamous for gang violence, have worked with residents and all sectors of the community to drastically improve community safety; they have had tremendous success. A few key elements of their approach include:. Restorative justice programs, mentioned above in the contexts of school delinquency, can also be applied to criminal justice as an alternative to incarceration.

In a community context, restorative justice works proactively to promote safety across the community. It emphasizes aiding and protecting those who have been harmed, and requires restitution by responsible parties, effectively engaging them to become constructive members of society. To be most successful, restorative justice strengthens civic participation. This can include promoting truthful crime reporting and testimony, participation in jury duty, identification of factors that facilitate or impede crimes, and other forms of public engagement.

As proven crime reduction practices are adopted, safety improves. Domestic incidents of mass violence in community settings are defined as those in which three or more persons are killed. Such incidents occur almost daily in the United States; according to the American Public Health Association, over incidents were reported in alone.

Some factors associated with such incidents include terrorism, mental illness, and gang violence. Each is discussed below. Terrorism has been a factor in relatively few, if high impact, cases of mass violence. The Department of Homeland Security is engaged in a number of initiatives to advance community safety. Domestic terrorism has been perpetuated by extremist individuals and groups of different backgrounds. It is vital to distinguish violent extremists from the religions they claim to represent. The Oklahoma City bombing was conducted by an individual claiming to be protecting Christian principles.

Those responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing in claimed to be protecting Islamic societies. Yet the vast majority of Christians and Muslims do not condone violence, and their adherents and leaders are great allies in combatting domestic terrorism. Hate crimes against Muslims as well as those mistaken for Muslim, such as Sikhs , have risen dramatically following terrorist incidents. In the year of the September 11 attacks, the FBI reported anti-Muslim hate crimes; similar spikes have continued to occur. Communities can anticipate and help forestall these responses by educating their residents and holding interfaith activities to help prevent hate crimes and heal communities in the wake of incidents that may arise.

Ours is a country based upon tolerance and we welcome people of all faiths in America. Bush, Washington, DC, November 13, It is often assumed that perpetrators of mass violence suffer from mental health disorders. However, the American Psychological Association APA has noted that the vast majority of those suffering from a mental illness are not dangerous; rather it is a history of violence that poses the greatest risk factor for further such acts see text on domestic violence, above.

The American Public Health Association APHA considers gun violence to be an epidemic that can be solved, as with Ebola or other public health threats, given adequate research and resources. While firearms policies are hotly debated, the evidence is clear that gun ownership does not ensure family safety. Just as in disease outbreaks, hotspot areas are identified.

One intervention has been to enlist former gang members, or others with credibility and access, to quell potential outbreaks of violence before they erupt, and to support members in transitioning out of gang activity. Information on these and other well-researched models also focusing beyond the problem of gang violence, such as removing firearms from domestic violence offenders is available at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. Increased availability of data and funding to reduce gun violence through all available interventions, including those from the legal, public health, public safety, community, and health systems.

At this writing, a Congressional ban limits federally-sponsored research into gun violence, forcing researchers to seek private or academic funding. Finding ways to support research on gun violence impact and on promising solutions is another area where one can actively promote peace. Gang violence is a specific problem emerging in rural as well as urban areas. According to the Office of Justice Programs at the U.

Department of Justice OJJDP , gang violence peaked towards the end of the s but has been rising again in recent years. This type of assessment is important to identify youth gangs and youth who are at greatest risk of joining. Keep in mind that counter to stereotypes, youth engaged in gangs are of diverse race, ethnicity, and gender, with studies cited by OJJDP estimating that almost half of gang members are girls.

Learn if your community has a Peace Commission or similar institution specifically dedicated to peace promotion, and, if so, see how you can get involved. If not, assist in forming one. Their aims are to involve local citizens in reducing or preventing conflict by protecting and promoting human rights, ensuring ethnic and interfaith harmony, and encouraging understanding through education on cultural differences. One model of a particularly active peace commission is in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Cambridge Peace Commission works in three main areas:.

Toward these ends, the Commission coordinates responses to traumatic events and violence affecting Cambridge. It emphasizes building trust and relationships among diverse community residents through events such as community conversations and vigils. Over the years it has also sponsored many programs and events to foster peace and has worked with other communities worldwide.


Establishing relationships with other communities can also be a powerful path to peace. There are currently communities engaged in a Sister City program. These are just a few among many local community actions to promote peace. See the resource listings at the end of this section to explore more possibilities. Preventing War and Terror: Merging Realism with Hope. It is important to be realistic about the severe challenges to peace in this world and to be prepared for the serious commitment required to face them. Nevertheless, there are proven and effective means of advancing peace to help us take on these challenges.

Even one simple action can make a tremendous difference. By merging realism with hope we can move forward to a more peaceful tomorrow. Researchers have noted that despite the common perceptions that the world is a more violent place, much evidence points rather to a decline in both individual and social violence over time. The book The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker documents these trends, laying out many elements that have advanced peaceful coexistence. In general, he notes that our civilizations and societies have evolved toward a greater respect for human rights, acceptance of human diversity, and the development of systems of civil society that help resolve conflict.

Pinker acknowledges that although this progress can regress, and has regressed in many regions, strong forces remain at work to re-establish better-functioning societies, even in the most extreme instances of collapse. Among these is the force of the majority who want peace, no matter what the context. Just as individuals must choose their own productive path forward, rather than succumbing to fear and hatred, so do we face this choice as a larger society.

Warfare over time has become increasingly destructive, including not only direct loss of life, but also long-term, even irrevocable, damage to the environment upon which we all depend. As we build ever more powerful weapons with leaps in technological sophistication, we must develop even more powerful means of avoiding their use. So let us consider some of the forces that lead to global instability, along with those that build the foundation for peace, and suggest how you can play a part in shoring up the latter:.

Conflict Resolution is a central alternative to warfare. War and terrorism can now extend beyond the bounds of the battlefield and into every corner of our communities. The casualties are predominantly civilians, not soldiers, and very frequently are women and children. An effective counter to terrorism and other forms of conflict is to strengthen civil societies. The rule of law is a civilizing force that unites members of society to advance productively together.

War and terror stress societies, setting in motion a downward spiral. Every societal effort needs to be made to strengthen communities and social structures in accordance with local values and the protection of essential human rights. Three good examples follow:. Much of what we learn in the media about Iraq is about violence.

We need to promote awareness of organizations such as La'Onf, to remind ourselves that the seeds of peace can find fertile ground in all corners of the world. To the Hibakusha, there is no greater mission than to raise worldwide awareness that there are no winners in a nuclear confrontation. The Hibakusha are those few who survived the nuclear bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in which hundreds of thousands of civilians died in a matter of hours.

Their advocacy has played an important role in the major nuclear powers steadily reducing their arsenals. They continue to warn that we must never lessen our vigilance over the threat of nuclear weaponry. As more nations claim their perceived rights and needs to develop such weapons, the Hibakusha have redoubled their efforts to diminish this ultimate threat. Formed in , the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki called on mayors around the world "to transcend national borders" and "work together to press for nuclear abolition.

Below are three additional pillars to support the development and maintenance of international peace:. Nonviolence is central to stemming conflict while effectively advancing positive social and political change. We can easily draw upon many role models who have been committed to nonviolent principles and who have made a tremendous impact on the world stage. For example, Mahatma Gandhi stands in history as among the most famous proponents of nonviolence, managing to overcome centuries of British occupation in India through nonviolent means. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! Beyond Gandhi and King, among current practitioners are members of the Nonviolent Peaceforce , comprised of unarmed civilians who enter regions where violence may or has erupted, to foster dialogue among parties in conflict and to provide a protective presence for threatened civilians.

It is tempting to assume that a military response to violent conflict is needed. Yet a member panel appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, which spent 7 months circling the globe reviewing present operations and seeking new strategies, emphasized nonviolent approaches. Hundreds of other organizations around the world are committed to nonviolent means of stabilizing regions in conflict.

We need peace education, from early education through graduate programs in universities. The Charter for Compassion is working toward this end, with a growing number of school partners from across the world committed to the principles of compassion.

Special report: Truth, justice and reconciliation | World news | The Guardian

We must also invest in peace. Such institutions can strengthen international laws and systems of justice that can assure enforcement of human rights. International assistance also must be directed toward laying the economic foundations for peace. The United States spends only 1. Spending within the domestic budget is even more heavily weighted toward the military; for fiscal year , the U. This has a tremendous impact on all our communities in terms of quality of life and community security.

We must prioritize peace as we strive to co-exist on this small and ever more vulnerable planet. As concluded by the U. Department of Defense , climate change will put us to the test as never before, as mass migrations from densely populated coastal areas are likely to occur due to sea level rise, and regions will be faced with food, drinking water, and resource depletion.

Barricading our borders and employing military solutions to the conflicts projected to arise are destined to fail us. Instead, we need to proactively seek solutions across borders to address environmental and social challenges, strengthen civil society, and foster international collaboration.

  1. Special report: Truth, justice and reconciliation.
  2. From Darkness to Light.
  3. South Africa.
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  5. Promoting Peace.
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Located in Costa Rica, this university was established under UN mandate to promote best practices in conflict prevention and mitigation. The Community Tool Box also plans to develop materials with guidance on climate change. Challenges and Questions for Reflection. Let us first consider some of the challenges to peace-building in our communities. Below are some that can easily take root. Think about what you have encountered personally and in your communities. What have you found that worked to address those challenges? Looking at others as primarily a source of harm.

Being insular, without risking or reaching out to others. Confusing adherence to one's own beliefs and faith with a call to be intolerant of others who have different beliefs and practices. Is the letter or the spirit of the faith teachings most important? Confusing retribution with justice. Not looking for connections among peoples. Eisenhower, is a real and growing threat to peace. Military expenditures continue to top those for all other sectors in the United States and many other nations.

As he left office in , President Eisenhower, also a general who witnessed the war machine from the deepest inner circles, warned:. We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together Look around and see who is at the table — whether it is your table at home, or the tables you belong to at work, school, faith-based organizations, governmental, or other settings.

Promoting Peace

While many peace-building strategies have been discussed, on an individual level much of the work of promoting peace comes down to focusing on the following:. In our media and entertainment, as well as in our political spheres, we are surrounded by those who emphasize sensationalism and violence. It can lead us to throw up our hands and say that nothing can be done in such a world. Yet, returning to the beginning of this section, listen instead to the voices of peace, from the youth in Afghanistan to those in each of our own communities.

They can help us find hope through the simple solution of extending a hand in friendship. Promoting peace is not a solitary activity. We are joined in the effort by the vast majority of people in the world who yearn for peace, and work to live together peaceably. For those times when you may find yourself overwhelmed, there is a saying beautifully voiced by the musical group Sweet Honey in the Rock: From finding peace within one's life to demonstrating the greatest compassion and commitment to social justice, extending the principles and the practice of peace to others can guide us to a richer, more secure coexistence.

We at the Community Tool Box, in cooperation with the Charter for Compassion and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, welcome and encourage each of you to further this vision, and to find ways to implement it in your lives, in your communities, and in our world. Greene, died aboard United Flight Making Sense of Religious Conflict. How to reduce school bullying, Victims and Offenders , 4, A Muslim, A Christian, a Jew — three women search for understanding.

Simon and Schuster, Bullying and victimization among children. Advances in Pediatrics , 60 1 , 33— The epic struggle for wealth, power, and civilization. The TRC heard confessions from more than 7, perpetrators and took about 20, statements from victims. It found the ANC's armed struggle was legitimate, but that some acts carried out during that struggle were not. This angered some in the ANC but Sachs, a former constitutional court judge and an architect of South Africa's post-apartheid constitution, said: We'd done bad things.

We had to come clean on that. As one political scientist put it, what the truth commission did was convert knowledge into acknowledgment. Nelson Mandela thanked the TRC for doing a "magnificent job", but acknowledged its imperfections. Some victims felt bitter as they watched self-confessed murderers walk free and did not receive promised compensation. Some believe Mandela and the TRC were too forgiving and that white people continue to reap the rewards of apartheid.

How we deal with the truth after its telling defines the success of the process. And this is where we have fallen tragically short. By choosing not to follow through on the commission's recommendations, government not only compromised the commission's contribution to the process, but the very process itself. When Andoni Arrizabalaga's family visited him in the police barracks after his arrest in , he had been so brutally beaten that they could barely recognise him. They were not interested, however, in the details of whether he had been a torturer. As far as they were concerned, however, the alleged beating took place 45 years ago and so any offence would have lapsed.

Spanish judges' hands are doubly tied when it comes to investigating the thugs who served General Francisco Franco's rightwing dictatorship. Abuses not covered by the statute of limitation are protected by an amnesty law passed two years after Franco's death. Politicians anxious not to place Spain's fragile new democracy under stress, tacitly agreed to sweep the past under the carpet in what became known as the "pact of forgetting".

The pact began to fall apart a decade ago as campaigners started to search for and dig up mass graves, but the amnesty law means no official has ever been tried for what the lawyer Carlos Slepoy calls brutal and systematic repression. That would allow cases to be treated as crimes against humanity which, under international human rights law, could not lapse or be covered by an amnesty. About victims, including leftwing activists and former armed Basque separatists such as Arrizabalaga, have joined forces to try to prove the torture was systematic. Resistance to investigating the crimes of the Franco era is deeply embedded in Spain's judiciary.

The family of Arrizabalaga and those of hundreds morevictims hope that will be the case. If so, they say, those responsible for Francoist repression may also soon find themselves on trial. It was heralded as the most important trial since the Nazis were confronted at Nuremberg, an opportunity to ask the men who orchestrated the deaths of nearly 2 million Cambodians a simple question: It has produced just one verdict in eight years, convicting Kaing Guek Eav, aka Comrade Duch, of crimes against humanity, and sentencing him to life imprisonment.

Kaing oversaw the Tuol Sleng prison where an estimated 15, Cambodians were tortured and executed. During the Khmer Rouge's murderous reign from to , men, women and children were marched out of their schools and homes all over Cambodia and sent to rural work camps under re-education programmes.

Many died of disease and starvation. Others were detained in overcrowded centres, tortured and executed as part of a programme to create a communist agrarian utopia. By the time Vietnam liberated the nation, a quarter of the population had been killed. For many Cambodians, reconciling the past is impossible while former Khmer Rouge cadres still act as government ministers and head the armed forces. The prime minister, Hun Sen, is a former Khmer Rouge commander. Many survivors have tried to forget their childhood by refusing to talk about it, while those who actively search out answers can find themselves harassed, detained and threatened by the state.

It took nearly 10 years from the UN's offer of help in to establish a hybrid court, manned by Cambodian and international judges and prosecutors. It was hoped that senior Khmer Rouge members would be tried for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Many of the former cadres closest to Hun, however, including the senate president, Chea Sim, and the national assembly chairman, Heng Samrin, have been prevented from testifying, apparently to avoid embarrassing the government.

Such obstructions do not necessarily render the entire process a sham, as some critics have said. Nobody wants to live with the past. The whole point of the tribunal is to move on. The court's plodding proceedings mean time is running out to deliver sentences and find answers. Of the four senior figures on trial under the current case, , one has already died and another has been declared mentally unfit to stand trial. Both are weak and unwell. The ECCC expects case to take another year, and hearings for cases and have been delayed.

For some victims, the trial has thrown up perhaps the most pressing question of all: What the Khmer Rouge tribunal is producing now is beyond the pale of anything resembling justice. To the contrary, the farce, the deceit, is damaging and is laying the dangerous groundwork for future instability and impunity. During the 17 years that Augusto Pinochet ruled Chile , at least 3, people were killed or disappeared and 35, were tortured, but a semblance of legality survived and kindled a national movement for reconciliation and truth.

Today, dozens of former secret police officers are imprisoned, human rights investigations remain open and the nation is governed by Michelle Bachelet, herself a torture victim. The most recent nomination to the Chilean supreme court is Carlos Cerda, a judge who made his name fighting for victims of human rights abuses. Pinochet's successor, Patricio Aylwin, created a human rights commission to investigate and quantify the abuse soon after he was elected in Their mission was to shine a light into the darkest corners of state-sponsored murder.

Thousands of cases were validated and formed the basis of a national discussion on how to prevent tit-for-tat vengeance. The secret squad was led by Marcelo Schilling, a socialist leader and former bodyguard to Salvador Allende. It was a controversial operation that Schilling today defines as a success. Democracy is not in check," he said. Clandestine guerrilla groups ridicule Schilling's version, and say he oversaw a brief but illegal dirty war in which rebel leaders were bribed or executed.

Few Chileans, however, seemed to have acquired a taste for vengeance. Political violence was minimal in the years after Pinochet. Instead, there was a quest for justice. The collective amnesty Pinochet had granted was overturned on the basis that if the regime had kidnapped or disappeared citizens but never handed over the bodies, then the cases could be defined as ongoing and so exempt from immunity.

This allowed investigators to force testimony from retired officials with knowledge of human rights crimes. Nearly were convicted. However, attempts to bring Pinochet to justice failed. His title of senator for life shielded him from Chilean justice. The British government released him on medical grounds in and he returned to Chile, where a constitutional amendment gave him further protection.

Pinochet spent his last years surrounded by lawyers, but died a free man at 91 without having been convicted of any crimes. The scale of the Rwandan genocide, in which , people were murdered in days , demanded a unique response if there was to be any hope of reconciliation. It came in the form of village courts known as gacaca after the grass on which they were held, a grand experiment in popular justice that ran for a decade with locally elected judges hearing an estimated 1.

Trials were held in public, giving survivors the chance to confront alleged perpetrators in full view of their families and neighbours.

Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation
Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation
Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation
Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation
Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation
Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation
Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation Defining Moments: A True Story of War, Family Conflict & Reconciliation

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