Essay about Making Impossible Peace : Confronting The Moral Dilemmas Of Peacemaking

Essay about Making Impossible Peace : Confronting The Moral Dilemmas Of Peacemaking

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Making Impossible Peace: Confronting the Moral Dilemmas of Peacemaking in a Conflicted World
Bonny Ibhawoh
Perspectives on Peace Lecture, McMaster University, Sept 28, 2015
I would like to begin in my talk today by thanking President Deane for the Perspectives on Peace initiative and this lecture series. The opportunity for open dialogue about peace and peacebuilding that this forum offers is one that I think will serve our University and larger community well. I am also pleased to see a diverse audience here today. We live in a world where violence and conflict, intolerance and extremism seem to dominate the news. An opportunity to pause and reflect on the prospects for peace offers a constructive and welcome diversion. I would also like to thank Teddy Saul who has worked with others to organize this event for inviting me to give this second talk in the Lecture series. Talks relating to peace often attract the usual suspects – scholars and activist with interest in peace studies and social justice issues. Sometimes, one gets the feeling of preaching to the Choir. Looking at this audience today, I get the feeling of preaching to a full and diverse congregation, not just the choir.
When Teddy and I first discussed the idea of the Perspectives of Peace Lecture series, I indicated that I hoped that the lectures would go beyond platitudes about the destructiveness of war and the desirability of peace, to ask harder and more complicated questions about the difficulties and challenges of forging peace in our community, or nation and our world. This is what I propose to do in this talk. I propose to go beyond asserting the inherent value of peace, to question why in a conflicted world, the virtues of peace and ideals of harm...

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...ess palpable. There are fewer global peace movements today than during the Cold War years. Where are the protest marches against the wars in Syria and Ukraine? Where are the protest songs against torture, indiscriminate drone strikes and ISIS beheadings? Where are the Bob Dylan’s and the John Lennons of our era? The voices of tolerance and moderation, it seems, have been completely drowned out by the voices of extremism, bigotry and intolerance. Where are today 's peace and anti-war songs? In 1963 Bob Dylan gave us “Blowing in the Wind.” In 1971 John Lennon released “Imagine” which became the anthem for the anti-Vietnam war movement. Where are the peace songs, in keeping with the time, peace apps to inspire today social media savvy generation? Grassroots apathy and indifference have effectively made ours a more dangerous world than a bi-polar Cold War world, I argue.

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