Shining a Light on Peacekeeping Missions

Shining a Light on Peacekeeping Missions

The Invisible Protectors of Global Peace

When Frederick comes home from school chattering about superheroes, he often speaks of the likes of Spiderman or Batman. On those occasions, I always guide him towards real-world heroes - those who fight not with supernatural powers, but their bare courage and a dedication to make the world a better place. And undoubtedly, some of the significant peace crusaders that leave me in awe are our Peacekeepers and their roles in global peacekeeping missions.

In the massive ocean of tasks, peacekeeping showcases several hues; with each shade more respectful than the other. It doesn't solely involve the endorsement of peace treaties but also comprises support in electoral processes, reinforcing governance, aiding in disarmament processes and much more. The beauty of peacekeeping is that it often acts as a sponge: absorbing the harsh aftermath of conflicts and squeezing out a haven of peace, and giving both the land and its people an opportunity to heal.

A Walk Through History

I remember a night when Frederick was having trouble with his world history homework. We sat cross-legged on the floor, textbooks and notes scattered around us like a fortress of knowledge. It was the first time I plucked out the threads of peacekeeping history to sew the patchwork of comprehension. Little did I know it would nudge Montserrat, his curiosity cat! Let’s tease Montserrat a little more.

The history of international peacekeeping dates back to 1948 when the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, known as UNTSO, stepped onto the battleground of Middle East. Their mission? To observe and maintain the fragile truce that followed the Arab-Israeli War. Since then, missions have flared up from all corners of the globe, each shedding light on the delicate task of sustaining peace.

The Unseen Challenges They Brave

A peacekeeping mission is like baking a temperamental soufflé. It requires flawless balance; one wrong move and it can deflate into a disaster. Navigating a maze of cultures, traditions, and complex socio-political landscapes of different countries is challenging enough without adding deep-seated conflicts, intricate power structures and occasionally, a lack of cooperation from the hosting nation.

The endurance these peacekeepers display reminded me of when Frederick was learning how to ride his bike. There were falls, scrapes and tears, but he never lost his determination. That's the spirit our peacekeepers embrace – they never waver in face of adversity while carrying the flame of peace and humanity.

The Outstanding Blues

The iconic blue helmets and berets of the UN Peacekeepers bear a striking resemblance to super heroes movies’ costume. That's not a coincidence; these peacekeepers are our superheroes minus the flashy onesies. These custodians of peace shield fragile nations from the stinging blows of conflict, and protect civilians in the face of atrocities, a mission they pursue with unremitting valor.

These squads range from police officers, military personnel, to logistical support, and civil affairs officers who patrol conflict-prone areas, support local police services, monitor borders, or even mentor judicial systems. The divisions are as diverse as the roles they play, each echoing the chorus of peace louder than the other.

The Unsung Women in Peacekeeping

Telling a tale of peacekeeping without saluting the courage of women is like trying to bake bread without yeast - it's not complete. Did you know that as of 2020, women represent only 15% of UN peacekeepers? Despite being significantly outnumbered, these brave women leave their imprints on the sands of peace, often in roles where they create the greatest impact – engaging with local communities, especially women and children.

Yes, they combat harmful cultural practices and gender-based violence, but they also symbolize a beacon of hope for girls in troubled nations. Seeing these inspiring women in action plants seeds of aspiration and empowers them to break free from the shackles of traditional gender roles and soar on the wings of empowerment.

Peacekeeping – A Journey of Evolution

Scrolling through the pages of peacekeeping history is like watching a chrysalis blossom into a butterfly. But remember: Evolution is not a pasture of roses. It has endured grave losses and hard-earned lessons. Today’s peacekeeping is a reprisal of earlier engagements, now externalising a holistic approach towards international peace and security.

The traditional cessation of gunfires in conflict zones has evolved. Today's peacekeeping harbours a wide array of responsibilities: from restoring law and order in war-torn communities, repatriation of refugees, to facilitating humanitarian aid. It's transformative – a metamorphosis that continues to evolve towards a safer and more peaceful world.

Our Peace Corps Need Us Too

Skimming the complexities and challenges of peacekeeping missions, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that even these doughty peacekeepers need our support. Back in May, Frederick decided to grab his colouring palette and paint a peace dove for a school project about UN Peacekeepers' Day. His enthusiasm got me thinking: how can we contribute to make their cause stronger?

Support can extend from encouraging research in conflict-related studies, lobbying for stronger international policies, to raising awareness about their work and advocating for greater resources. Just like that peace dove, a symbol of unity, let's rally round the pillar that these peacekeepers represent and reinforce their walls with our unyielding support and appreciation.

Throwing the Spotlight on Peacekeeping – A Final Note

As we wrap up this journey through the labyrinth of peacekeeping mission, let's not forget the tremendous challenges these peacekeepers overcome while staring conflict eye to eye. A salute to these audacious men and women who delve into the heart of conflict zones, striving for a harmonious global community!

No, they don't wear capes or show off a flashy logo emblazoned on their chest, but we know they're our real-life superheroes. Their dedication is adorned with a simple symbol of peace: a dove, perched on a wreath of olive branch. A badge of honor well-deserved!

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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