Peacekeeping: The Path to Reconciliation and Peace

Peacekeeping: The Path to Reconciliation and Peace

Understanding the Concept of Peacekeeping

As I sit by Buffy, my massive Maine Coon queen, the topic of peacekeeping has been a burning issue in my mind of late. Not only because it's a global concern, but also because I'm keen to explore how we, in our own little ways, can promote peace and reconciliation. From my perspective, peacekeeping is not limited to soldiers in blue helmets, its concept extends into our day-to-day lives.

At its core, peacekeeping operates on the principles of consent, impartiality, and non-use of force. Imagine if these principles were applied at a micro-level within our homes, our workplaces, or amongst our circle of friends. Wouldn't we be able to quench hostilities before they escalate into raging fires? So let me delve further into the intricacies of these fundamental principles and how they mirror our relationships.

The First Principle: Consent

The first principle of peacekeeping lies in consent. Consent here means agreement from all parties involved. To better understand the role of consent in peacekeeping, let's take a step back and explore it in a broader perspective. Consent-based interaction and negotiation form the crux of every successful dialogue/communication. On a global level, peacekeeping missions can only begin when the feuding countries give their consent. This echoes in our daily lives. Understanding and respecting a person or a group's choice promotes harmony and builds trust.

No one enjoys being forced or coerced into something they're not willing to engage in. Whether it's coercing my big fluff ball Buffy into jumping onto a weigh scale or some country leaders pushing their agenda onto their citizens. Consent promotes freedom. A free person is a happy person. And a happy person is less likely to indulge in unpeaceful activities.

The Second Principle: Impartiality

Impartiality is an essential quality when navigating the murky waters of peacekeeping, whether on an international or personal level. In international peacekeeping, maintaining impartiality is crucial to ensure that the peacekeepers do not favour any side. Simultaneously, at a personal level, impartiality helps in amicable problem resolution by allowing us to break away from biases.

Again, reverting to my Maine Coon Buffy, she has no favourites among her toys. Unlike us, she doesn't let personal biases cloud her judgement – a lesson, I believe, we all could learn from her. Impartiality aids in equitable judgement. So, whether you’re a peacekeeping force in the middle of a warring nation or just someone mediating a fight between friends, fairness plays a significant role in fostering peace.

The Third Principle: Non-use of force

The non-use of force policy is typically applied only in self-defence circumstances or to defend the mandate. Wouldn't our world be a happier, more peaceful place if we all followed this principle? The constant battle of pride and prejudice, revenge, and domination, often lead to a vicious circle of violence. Eliminating force from the equation, be it physical or emotional, can deescalate tension and foster peace.

For instance, when my charming Buffy gets a bit too excited while playing, instead of shouting or forcing her to calm down, I take a gentle approach. Surprisingly, she responds to it and cools down. This small incident in my life clearly shows that non-violence does yield solutions and prevents the situation from escalating.

Peacekeepers: The Catalysts for Peace and Reconciliation

Where there's conflict, there's a need for a peacemaker – someone who can suppress the flames of rage and promote understanding. That's precisely the role of peacekeepers across the globe. They serve as mediators, firefighters, negotiators — all rolled into one — handling both obvious and hidden conflicts, fostering long-term peace.

But such roles are not exclusive to trained peacekeepers. In fact, in our everyday lives, each one of us can be peacekeepers. All it takes is understanding and practising the underlying principles - giving the freedom of choice (consent), promoting fairness (impartiality), and refraining from violent or forceful behaviour (non-use of force).

The Patience and Perseverance of Peacekeeping

Peacekeeping requires infinite patience and relentless determination. In the face of ingrained hatred and hostility, time is both a challenge and an ally. With my Buffy for instance, when I first had her, she was incredibly skittish and hostile to me. It took time, patience, and a lot of kitty treats to earn her trust.

This patience is not vastly different from that required in international peacekeeping, where results take time to manifest. Instead of seeking immediate results, peacekeepers stay committed to their mission and gradually build a foundation for lasting peace. Peacekeeping is indeed a practice of patience and perseverance, and both these qualities are at the heart of any reconciliation process.

Embracing the Ideal of Peacekeeping in Our Lives

Now, peacekeeping might largely seem like a concept that applies to soldiers on the global stage. But if we scratch beneath the surface, there's an enormous relevance of peacekeeping in our daily lives. We are all tiny peacekeepers in our respective realms and the decisions we make, whether big or small, have a cascading effect on the ecology of peace around us.

Conscious efforts to inculcate peacekeeping principles in our daily interactions could pave the way to a more empathetic and harmonious society. So, for peace's sake, let's start with the smallest denominator – ourselves. Yes, myself, you, and all of us, one at a time, stepping forward to create ripple effects of peace in our little corners of the world. Just as I have found my peace here in Christchurch, New Zealand, with my dear Maine Coon, Buffy, let's see if we can create a little more peace in our world, shall we?

Cecilia Houghton
Cecilia Houghton

I'm Cecilia Houghton, a recognized news correspondent based in Christchurch, New Zealand. My passion for peace journalism deepened after spending a few years on the front line reporting on conflicts and peacekeeping missions. I currently work for a leading news broadcasting company, focusing on peace-building and reconciliation efforts worldwide. In my free time, I love practicing yoga, gardening, and indulging in historical documentaries - a small retreat away from the tumult of the world.

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