One day I wake up in the morning and say, “It is such a nice day, why shouldn’t all days be so. Why not?! From today I like peace, so I want peace”. Have I then achieved peace? I think you are still quite far. Neither personal nor communal or international peace has defining/declaring moment. Both internal and external peace are a process of continuous dynamism where different problems, factors, situations, confrontations are explored with a proactive approach to peaceful solution.
Many assume that peace is an ‘absence’ – if this is not there we have peace – and they always connect it with direct violence. Peace however is not an absence, for an absence implies stagnation, but a dynamic process in which conflicts would occur but violence will cease.
If you go to a warlord, or to a government that has just declared war or a rebellious group and ask them: “why are you fighting?” Most of them will have the same answer “to have/be-in peace”. But violence has never brought positive and lasting peace but only an illusion of security.
Here I brief out a short three-factor process of enabling peace.
Peace-Making: are interventions designed to bring about an agreement to end direct violence. These can be diplomatic, military but also ‘words given’ by tribal leaders, etc. Peace-making enables the process of peace.
Peace-Keeping: are acts which aim at maintaining, monitoring and enforcing peace. This can also include third party verifications on the agreements made. Institutions like the police force, the military, the court of law, etc are believed to be institutions which keep the peace. Peace-keeping gives the possibility of establishing platforms and spaces for peace.
Peace-Building: are processes which try an go to the core of societies and its people to enable long lasting effects aimed at creating or reestablishing relationships and positive and dynamic peace. These processes are always long-term and aim at changing attitudes and behaviors that give rise to violence. A process of Peace-building, as Gandhi would say, always start from within; “Be the change you want to see”. It is a never-ending process, for peace is always dynamic.