What task does civil society have in times of crisis and war?
Dear Friends of ELIANT,
How do we fight for peace?
A state of war such as we have been living with since February 24th 2022 and which we are told could last for many years, is not only unbearable as an idea but is even more unbearable as a daily reality. See video by conflict researcher Prof. F Glasl. It becomes painfully clear from the war strategy and the way it is being promoted by the media that those responsible for the decisions do not have the skills that have become almost second nature for people who actively seek to create a healthy social climate and promote peace within the small framework of civil society. When the warring parties merely make demands on each other and ramp up enemy rhetoric, the chances for peace and de-escalation diminish. How much time, money and effort is spent discussing sanctions and weaponry and how little is invested in mediation and possible de-escalation strategies!
Although beyond a certain level of escalation, it may appear that justice, freedom and dignity can only be secured with weapons and that pacifism has its limits, it is nonetheless vital to ensure that efforts are continually made to de-escalate the situation and find diplomatic solutions – neutral countries like Austria and Switzerland which are not members of NATO, have frequently been able to offer their services as mediators.
That peace doesn’t come about by itself, but is the result of hard work is something that basically we all know: When is a partnership successful? How does a friendship hold despite differences? And what threatens harmonious family life, a common celebration, a good working relationship, all forms of teamwork? Bringing about peace means showing interest in the other particularly when he or she is different to oneself. By genuinely wanting to get to know one another, showing mutual respect for idiosyncrasies, interests and habits and not shying away from the learning of social skills, constructive developments can take place. Attending courses in non-violent communication, meditation and in certain situations engaging professional counselling, can be helpful.
It is out of these considerations and the danger of further escalation leading to incalculable economic and collateral social damage including violence, hunger and destitution in many countries and regions that we are also sending this newsletter to the responsible members of the European Parliament with the request that alongside sanctions and the supply of weapons, they do everything in their power to create the conditions for a peaceful resolution. After all even if the war goes on for many years it will one day be necessary to sign a peace treaty. Why not decide to work on this now at all levels? The rhetoric of war pedalled by the mainstream media needs to be countered with equally determined diplomatic efforts to secure peace using mediation and de-escalation techniques.
Why wait until the suffering has grown so great that we can do nothing else in the ruins but negotiate a peaceful future?
We are delighted that the internationally acclaimed conflict mediator from Austria Prof. Friedrich Glasl, has been able to advise us in our efforts to promote peace. He also co-signs this newsletter.
Warm greetings from
Michaela Glöckler and Friedrich Glasl
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