PEACE: An inimitable Asset - Vivienne Eyase
‘Peace’ as a noun has been described as ‘freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility’. This definition contemplates the ‘peace of mind’ which literally denotes mental calmness or serenity. Peace also connotes the meaning of ‘freedom from or the cessation of war or violence’ or simply ‘freedom from civil disorder’. This article chiefly adopts the second definition with borrowed elements from the first definition. The opposite of ‘peace’ in this regard, is ‘conflict…agitation, distress’ or basically anarchy.
The law categorizes conflicts into; civil unrest, armed conflicts (internal and international armed conflicts), terrorism, crimes against humanity among others. The common denominator amid all these conflicts remains to be the element of disturbance of peace.
Peace is essentially the backbone of every other societal pillar, a vital element to each thread interwoven to hold the parts of a given people. The progress or retrogress of any society is pegged on the level of civil order experienced. Peace, for instance, is a determinant factor of the economic upshot of a setup. Research has shown that civil tranquility remains an attractive component to investors. Investors only look at the eventualities of reaping profits before ingraining investments; peace offers an enabling environment for such prospects. A sprouting economy in return guarantees good schools with proper education, affordable cost of living, well equipped health centers, descent wages for employees, attractive profits for businesses among other deliverables. It can be safely concluded that the state of peace is directly linked to the alleviation of poverty in any state or social set up.
In addition, Peace plays a paramount social role. It helps keep families together. Conflicts have previously been seen to separate families, relatable examples being the 2007 Post Election Violence (PEV) in Kenya, the 1994 Rwandese Genocide among other instances. Such occurrences destroy the most fundamental unit of a society; the family. The consequences of such separations not only lead to emotional turmoil but also lose of identity especially for the younger children.
It is fallacious to envision a society that is absolutely conflict free, for the simple reason that human beings are naturally bound to differ; whether politically, religiously, socially at al. The natural reactions by individuals to such differences vary from one person to the other, with the extremists reacting violently. The main concern is not in the conflict but in the reaction to/resolution of the conflict. As Ronald Wilson Reagan aptly put, “Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” The police are further evidence that indeed conflicts ought to be contemplated wherever beings exist. They are charged with the responsibility of preventing breach of peace.
It is nevertheless true that peace is not an obligation to be left for a peculiar subset of persons but rather a collective responsibility. Peace begins from within and one cannot offer that which s/he does not possess; simply put, it is a contagious, abstract state of being. Non-violent means of conflict resolution has been lauded for being the most powerful tool. In his infinite wisdom, Mahatma Gandhi observed that “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” May the world borrow from the astuteness of non-violence