Humans are hardwired for war, one might think. While building genuine peace is a multi-faceted challenge, it is not impossible. Responses require the mobilisation and commitment of various people and institutions, at various times. Talking to different agents from civil society, Journal investigated an extended notion of peace.
"One of the key tasks for present-day peace activism – whether in the Ukrainian context or in any other conflict zone – is to now design a security and peace architecture for then", stresses Raymond Becker, co-initiator of the NGO Friddens- a Solidaritéitsplattform Lëtzebuerg. Indeed, peacebuilding and peacekeeping have never been more important. As a matter of fact, the absolute number of war deaths has been declining globally since 1946. However, according to the United Nations, violent conflicts have hit a new high since the end of World War II. And while the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine may be getting the most attention at the moment, a plethora of conflicts around the world as well as endemic violence in societies ostensibly at peace deserve just as much support and compassion.
Addressing the root causes as well as the drivers of conflict and building peace are long-term and complex endeavours. In times of global alert and ongoing shock due to the horrors of war raging again through the European continent, the task appears to be even more challenging. "After seven and half months of war in the Ukraine and with a public debate that is still dominated by fear, desperation, and rage, it is very difficult to envision the complexity of actions that are required to make peace possible again, and sustainable", says Raymond Becker. "And yet, while conceiving solutions for tomorrow might be too early, thinking about the day after tomorrow is crucial."
The eternal question: peace through weapons?
Though the 69-years-old Luxembourger advocates for long-sighted responses that are detached from war hysteria-like discussions, Russia’s attack on Ukraine earlier this year had left him nothing but shocked himself. "The period following the events at the end of February presented the greatest challenge for me as a long-time peace activist so far", admits the Echternacher-by-choice. Raymond Becker has been involved in local politics and civil society for his entire life. Since the late 1970s, his commitment has been directed against war, rearmament, and nuclear weapons.
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