A Global Movement for Peace | Not alone, but together

By Kai Brand Jabobsen

In two days there were bombings and death in two places close to my heart – Mosul and Brussels. In Mosul the university – used by ISIS as a headquarters but surrounded by residential areas – cafes and other areas were struck in what was described as a ‘massive daylight barrage’ of bombs dropped by the US-led coalition. At least 25 civilians were killed. In Brussels, bombers carried out a suicide attack on the airport and bombing of the Maalbeek Metro station. At least 30 people have been confirmed killed so far in Brussels and hundreds wounded in both attacks.

terrorismIn the face of the attacks in Brussels and Mosul, the wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, the attacks before in Paris, and what seems to be a constant barrage of incidents of violence, terror and war in so many parts of the world, many of us often feel powerless – left wondering what we can do and whether it will ever end or change. Many millions of us want and know that it must change – and that the current response, whether by governments or non-state actors like ISIS, isn’t the solution, but part of the problem we need to overcome.

PATRIR – the Romanian Peace Institute – is committed to practical action and work on the ground with our allies and partners in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen working to end the wars and violence in those countries, and practical action and work to engage governments and people in Europe, North America and elsewhere to change our own policies and actions which are both fuelling and part of the terror and war taking place in these countries and elsewhere.

We know this can’t be done alone and that there are countless amazing individuals, citizens, students, parents, journalists, artists, politicians, activists and others around the world who know that terror, war and violence as a response to terror, war and violence are not the solution.

That is why we are working to build a global movement to overcome the policies, drivers, causes and dynamics fuelling war and violence in all its forms. Like marshaling our resources to respond to the outbreak of Ebola, we need to marshal our resources to respond to, overcome and transcend the war making, war intensifying, war fuelling policies that promote more violence.

We have as a species overcome incredible injustice, violence, tyranny and oppression in the past. Wherever there has been ‘wrong’ there have been those who with creativity, courage, love and passion have struggled to help overcome it and work for better. We can do this – with respect, with sound, intelligent, real solutions that actually address and solve problems rather than making them worse.

Below are 10 actions we can begin with – short and long-term – to overcome the terror and war we are seeing – in Brussels, in Paris, in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere. There are 10. There are many, many more.

We would invite you to add comments, suggestions, and additional ideas for action and practical steps. More than that: we would ask and invite you to join us and millions more, and work together to bring an end to cycles of war and violence intensifying rather than solving the very problems we need to address.

 Actions: (see more details here)

  1. Campaign for a Ban on Weapons Trade and Sales to all countries in the Middle East and North Africa
  2. Develop an active, robust international solidarity platform with the people of Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen working to end the wars in their countries
  3. Work at all scales – social, cultural and political – to cultivate a richer narrative that celebrates and respects diversity, encourages the practice of dialogue, and positively affirms the values and principles humanity shares.
  4. Hold forums in every major city and in schools and universities internationally to address exactlythe conditions and causes of intolerance, enemy images, and all extreme violence, terrorism and war by state and non-state actors – across Europe, North America, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and more broadly.
  5. Create a single web-site / web-platform to bring together the best articles, analysis, speeches, videos, tutorials, and other good information and sources to help people ‘make sense’ of what’s happening and why, and also show what we can do – in our communities, internationally, together.
  6. Support the ‘Global Youth Rising’ gathering (see below)
  7. Help organise a global week of action in which we foster and promote events, discussion, sharing, workshops and training on how to deal with the wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.
  8. Call for an international forum before the end of 2016 to bring together organisations, activists, movements, peace workers and others.
  9. Develop peace education resources to be introduced as part of core curriculum into all of our schools and education systems world-wide
  10. Actively challenge hate speech and extremism everywhere, especially in the mainstream media, ‘pundits’, politicians and government officials who advocate increased securitization, monitoring, and other restrictions on civil liberties and freedoms, as well as increased support for war and armed attacks in the region.

gyrAlso, this summer there will be a Global Youth Rising international forum, gathering for 10 days, to deepen our peacebuilding work globally and build solidarity with the people of Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen who are working for peace in their countries; and for all of us, everywhere, to engage in real, meaningful change in our countries.

You can find out more at:  Global Youth Rising | Facebook Group | Facebook Page 

We are not powerless. We are not alone. We do not have to sit back and feel that nothing can be done. We are each of us. We are all of us. We are many, different, beautiful and wonderful – in Syria, in Belgium, in Iraq, in France, in Libya, in the United States, in Yemen, in Italy, in….every home, school, office, community and country around the world.

The candles we light now – for New York, for Baghdad, for Paris, for Raqqa, for Misrata and Bengazi, for Ankara, for Sanaa, Mosul and Brussels – must become lights that spread from heart to heart and mind to mind, calling us to rise, calling us to stand, to have a dream and to know that a world beyond war, hatred and violence is possible.

We don’t need to just accept what is happening. We can change it. You can help – by joining and helping to develop and build the global movement, and by helping to share and inform people about the global gathering this summer.

 

Kai Brand-JacobsenKai Brand Jabobsen is Director of the Department of Peace Operations (DPO) – PATRIR and Project Director of the UN-backed Nineveh Paths to Peace in Nineveh, Iraq.

Visit: https://kaibrandjacobsen.wordpress.com, www.patrir.ro/training https://www.facebook.com/groups/GlobalYouthRising/ http://globalyouthrising.org/the-vision/