I am a citizen of a fairly peaceful nation. Although we have tense moments with our neighbours and some terrifying incidents within, all in all we live quite peacefully. Most of us are fed well, dressed decently, housed comfortably, and educated adequately. And perhaps owing to our ethnic homogeneity, we generally empathize with one another and hardly ever have an all-out war with each other. We are basically peaceful people because we do not have much to dispute over.
So it may come as no surprise that many of my people do not fare well in situations of conflict, especially in international settings. Simply being peaceful does not imply being good peace-makers. Will we ever be able to take on a more active role in international peace and security and prosperity?
Maybe we can start by making peace with ourselves.
We need to accept the fact that we are very inexperienced in disputes and thus, require training in identifying the issues at hand, understanding the arguments of the counterparts, constructing own arguments in response, and arriving at the optimal solution. We need to acknowledge the lack of education on being creative and bold in letting our wishes for peace take concrete shape. We need to become aware that we as individuals have remained rather indifferent about the many conflicts that exist around us and have not willed strong enough to resolve them.
And when we have gained enough pragmatic insight and practical skills in resolving differences and settling disagreements, only then maybe we can really begin to make peace with our neighbours and other more remote parties.
We have a long way to go in becoming true peace-makers. But I believe we have the potential to be one of the best at it – after all, we have a pretty good idea of what peace is. Maybe all we need is to make a good sales pitch… a good peace offering.
A last note: Re-read the words by Egyptian diplomat B.B.-G. on the path to a better world… almost a quarter of a century since written but we are still midway, getting stuck on the same problems. We will miss your guidance.