3rd May 2016
Is it not time we changed this pattern?
I have started my next module for my Masters; Conflict and Development. I thought would be about war and related conflict and the repercussions of that and while yes this is covered at some point the main theme of this module questions the subtleties of conflict, ultimately as one of the key authors, Johan Gultang, asks “What prevents people from having the quality of life that they should be able to enjoy?“
One main argument put forward that people are prevented from having the quality of life they should be able to enjoy is due to violence; but not just physical violence.
Violence, as described by Fisher is “actions, words, attitudes, structures or systems that cause physical, psychological, social, environmental damage and/or prevent people from reaching their full potential.“
Gultang agrees with this by saying “violence is defined as the cause of the difference between the potential and the actual, between what could have been and what is.”
This got me thinking about the violence in the world around me, from the explicit to the implicit, the external to the internal.
My neighbour has a small girl, around 3 or 4 years old and most evenings she spends screaming at her daughter, I mean really screaming at her. The mother has on occasion put her out in the hallway and left her there for 10 minutes or so, the girl in tears knocking on the door to be let back in. The impact the mother’s behaviour is having on the girl, who knows and it begs the question will the girl repeat the same behaviour if she is a mother? When did this cycle of anger start? And more importantly when will it end?
Not so much the act of smoking itself, but the disregard for who you are smoking around. Where I live are lots of places to play mahjong and people come here to play throughout the day and night, many many people and for the most part they are all heavy smokers. Around lunchtime and after 4pm many of their kids will be with them and play inside or outside the mahjong rooms and many a time I have seen the adults picking the kids up or playing with the kids with a cigarette in their mouths smoke being blown into the kid’s face. I have not to this day seen anyone finish their cigarette or put their cigarette down before hand. Where does the lack of awareness come from, a lack of education?
Cars, scooters, motorbikes, buses, trucks, lorries, bikes all transporting someone to get somewhere. Many in a rush. Many distracted by thoughts, worries or technology. Many focused on their needs not the needs of others. One thing that really irks me is the lack of respect for the white line for traffic to wait behind at traffic lights and the zebra crossing for those wanting to cross the road, especially with scooters and motorbikes. Unless the police are present at crossroads, an every man for himself attitude seems to take over. Some people inch forward over the white line slowly slowly, others just stop wherever they want on the zebra crossing and others wait behind the line although are usually forced to move forward by an aggressive driver behind them with their hand on the horn until they get to where they want to be, as close to the front as possible. This in turn means the zebra crossing is now covered with scooters, motorbikes and bikes and those wanting to cross the road no longer can. I have seen so many people unable to get through the bikes and have to then walk on the road next to the traffic to cross the road. It makes me wonder if putting others at risk gets you to where you need to be quicker?
Lack of love
How many times have you put yourself down? How many times have you doubted your ability? How many times have you thought you are not good enough? How many times have you thought you are not enough? Violence comes in many forms and one form that can have the biggest impact is the lack of love for yourself. Putting ourselves down has become acceptable, why? If you did something well, you did something well. If you worked hard and achieved your goal, you worked hard and achieved your goal. Why does there have to be a ‘but’? Why do we focus on what went wrong instead of what went right?
So much violence is learnt from another, from the media, from society, from a lack of education, from ourselves.
Is it not time we changed this pattern?
Is it not time we called ourselves out on our negatives patterns?
Fambul Tok can be translated as Family Talk and is an initiative used in Sierra Leone to hep support local communities recovering from years or war and violence. It creates a space where local communities problem solve together by encouraging local ownership of problems and solutions, collective storytelling and by focusing on education.
Their attitude towards violence is that it cannot exist if there is peace.
“Peace cannot be imposed from the outside.
Peace cannot be imposed from the top down.
Nor does it need to be.
Peace comes from within.”
To end violence there needs to be no need for it to exist, explicitly, implicitly, externally or internally and this change has to start with you.
Pictures from Instagram