‘MAGICAL REALISM’ IN COLOMBIA Page 15 BOOTS AND LIPSTICK IN THE ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCE Page 22 PEACE STUDIES FUND: ENCOURAGING MANY PEACES Page 49
MANY PEACES VOLUME 5 2017 - 01
GENDER & PEACEBUILDING
Many Peaces Magazine - Volume 5 - 2017 - 01 Published by Modul7 Rettenberg 106, 8441 Fresing, Austria Editorial: Paul Lauer, Mayme Lefurgey, Manon Roeleveld
EDITORIAL Dear readers, The 5th Volume of the Many Peaces Magazine comes at an interesting point in our collective history when considering matters of conflict and peace. During the planning, writing and editing phases of the magazine, between the months June and November of 2016, we witnessed the complex peace process in Colombia unfold. The initial referendum for the country’s peace agreement between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian Government receive a ‘No’ vote from the citizens of Colombia. As we wrap up this volume, nearly two months after the initial peace deal was rejected, the revised 310 page agreement has been signed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and leader of the FARC, Rodrigo Londono by a pen created from a bullet shell, to signify an end to violence and the start of peace. This second peace deal will be subsequently presented in Congress rather than to a public referendum and could mark the end of an over 50-year long conflict. As Dr. Josefina Echavarria points out in the pages to come, a large gender-based narrative is intertwined throughout this conflict and has had a strong influence on societal perceptions and understandings of peace. Also during this time frame, we have witnessed the United Kingdom’s referendum vote to withdraw from the European Union and Donald Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton in the presidential election of the United States of America. Notwithstanding, we have also witnessed the rippling effects of these events on communities across the world as we see a rise in outward expressions of fear and contempt for ‘the other’- whether this be marked by gender, class, race, nationality, religion or otherwise. Further we continue to witness direct violence across the globe, as ongoing conflicts, such as in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan persist on as well as the Boko Haram Insurgency which reigns terror in Western Africa. Also since we began writing this volume, the world witnessed continued terror attacks by daesh in France, Syria, Belgium, Pakistan, Turkey and Iraq. Conceptualizing the gravity of violence and divisive politics at play, in what sometimes feels like an increasingly insecure world, leave us with few words and heavy hearts as we wrap up 2016 and another volume of the Many Peaces Magazine.
Yet, from our research in preparation for this thematic volume focusing on matters of gender and peace and from the varied conversations we have had with authors and interviewees, we remain quite confident of one thing. In order to understand these struggles for peace in all of their complexities, we must look deep beyond the episode of conflicts themselves, deeper into the social fabrics and ultimately the beings who make up conflicts. Elicitive Conflict Mapping (ECM) and more broadly the principles of elicitive conflict transformation and transrational peace philosophy-- which you will encounter on several occasions in this volume-- are tools and conceptual frameworks that allow us to imagine beyond this surface layer. By looking beyond conflicting parties alone and mainstream narratives of any given conflict, there is the possibility to encounter some of the more hidden but equally crucial dynamics in understanding human nature. It is imperative to see, for example, gender-based dynamics and realities such as gender roles, representations of men and women in society, constructions of gender identities and associated values within societies to more deeply understand conflicts. We learn from the authors in this volume the need for not simply an ‘add gender’ approach, where gender is considered as one subtheme but rather as a cross-cutting element affecting all layers. It is imperative to not isolate gender as a stand-alone category, instead considering how it intersects and connects with various other identity markers and the idiosyncrasies of individual lived experiences. As such, we recognize the importance of challenging dominant narratives which privilege certain voices and, with this in mind, are humbled to present to you a wide variety of perspectives within this theme, largely from women, who are peacemakers, leaders and team members in their various fields and professions. To this end, we present to you our largest volume to date, rich with personal perspective, heartfelt commentary, critical analysis and above all a will and hope for peace. To our authors, we are so deeply inspired by your creativity, the compassion and love you express for your communities and networks and your commitment to peace building. Thank you. To our readers, we welcome you in experiencing the narratives and images of this very special edition on gender and peace. The Editorial Team Mayme Lefurgey Paul Lauer Manon Roeleveld
Editorial - 1
TABLE OF CONTENTS GREETING NOTE
CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION AROUND THE WORLD
MENSTRUATION IN BANGLADESH
MANY PEACES FOR COLOMBIA
A Silent Suffering of Womanhood, by Sonja Karbon Feel, Think and Imagine Conflict Transformation, by Alejandra Barrera and Carlos Gauna Vargas by Alexandra Bernal and Laura Torres Colombia: from the Plebiscite for Peace to the Nobel Peace Prize, by Erica Rojas
An Insight from Guatemala, by Corinne Lehr
ELICITIVE PEACE WORKERS
BOOTS AND LIPSTICK
PREGNANCY AS PEACEMAKING
A Hard Shell and a Soft Heart in the Israeli Defense Force, by Ori Talmor ...as a Peacemaking Journey, by Christina Pauls
Gang Violence in Latin America and Caribbean, by Adam Baird
MANY PEACES INTERVIEWS
ANNETTE WEBER 28 2 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
Interviewed by Mayme Lefurgey
JOSEFINA ECHAVARRÍA ALVAREZ
Interviewed by Mayme Lefurgey Interviewed by Mayme Lefurgey
THE INNSBRUCK SCHOOL OF PEACE STUDIES
IN THE WAY OF AWARENESS
PEACE STUDIES FUND
Inside the Mind of a Current Student, by Mary Ann Torres Vergara Encouraging Many Peaces, by the Peace Studies Fund team A Journey Through the Medicine Wheel, by Christina Egerter
THINGS WE SHARE
ON THESIS WRITING
NEW MASTERS OF PEACE
Reflection on the Planning Group of the First Peace Elicit, by Jana Elena Hornberger A Testimonial, by Isabelle Guibert
CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS THE EDITORIAL TEAM IMPRINT
66 68 69
ARTIST OF THE VOLUME
Paintings throughout the volume
65 Editorial - 3
© Anna-Pia Rauch
4 - Artist of the Volume – Anna-Pia Rauch
GREETING NOTE Dear peace colleagues and friends, This is the fifth edition of the Many Peaces Magazine, and as in all former editions, the team around this magazine, the authors and interview partners show how colourful and inspiring reflections about peaces in all their varieties can be. This only is the case, as the thinkers invite us readers to allow ourselves to go deeper than just looking at the obvious. Gender: hardly any topic is able to demonstrate in a better way that peace work does not start in the middle of war or conflict exclusively. It rather starts in our daily lives, and it influences our inner existences. Whoever we are, whatever we do, however peaceful we want to live – and whoever we dare to call “we” – the perception of gender is following us and outruns our intended behaviours. I therefore consider it as natural that the editors decided to dedicate a volume to “gender and peace building.” Gender is not what one could call an easy topic to discuss, and yet it is the ideal one to celebrate the understanding of the “many” peaces. How human beings decide, how they/we think and act, all of that is connected to how we get seen and how we perceive ourselves. We are what the social constructs and judgments as well as our own awareness create. Thus, as soon as one imagines many peaces, rather than one single path for peace, one tends to detect the necessity to talk about marginalisation. The authors of this volume approach gender from several different perspectives. What holds them together is the hope that transformation is possible and that it can only lead to many peaces, if it is accompanied by respect. With a glance at the history of peace studies and the various schools within it, one might consider it as astonishing that of all things, an article about pregnancy opens the readers’ minds for that kind of transformation. Christina Pauls shares thoughts and feelings about her pregnancy and demonstrates in a poetic way that peace work is far more than a project of peace building. It is a way of living and taking care with sensitivity. To live gender in this sense means to allow oneself to realise, to transform and to respect – also oneself. Those who feel this inner peace do not need to diminish and hurt their environment or those who are supposedly different. This is the special quality of the Many Peaces Magazine: each article besides its stories invites the readers to transform her- or himself.
Gender is also a dangerous topic for a magazine, because often the debate would start with apologising and lamenting the exclusions, always fearing that one has left out someone, some group or a detail, while the main topics of marginalisation go far deeper than that. Jana Hornberger teaches us to go into a more loving direction, when she talks about Elicitive Conflict Mapping (ECM) and the diverse masks and frames of a person; masks that may be triggered by circumstances and even more so by certain constructs. At the beginning of her article, Jana shows a very peaceful way out, when she quotes the Guatemalan feminist singer Rebeca Lane: I do not love you because of your sex but for the things we share. Sonja Karbon on the other hand brings the discussion back to a level that so many girls and women still have to struggle with in their daily lives. The simple fact of menstruating makes a difference for their public appearance, acceptance, health issues and finally also education. Sonja points out well that for girls in many regions the lack of (gender-divided) toilets still means missing school several days a month, as the social construct would not allow it otherwise. The challenges for genderwise marginalised groups are still countless. Women can try to change them by connecting to each other, transgender groups can work together, and yet, any kind of marginalisation will only be weakened if all parts of the societies work together. This is just as true for men, as Adam Baird with his article about masculinities describes. There is a lot of work ahead of us. Christina Egerter in her article calls it to travel “into new, unknown lands,” which reminds me of another staple that holds together the articles of this volume: the willingness to de-learn and to detect new possible paths. The mostly female authors set examples with their texts. Gender as a peace building topic also calls for sustainability, because putting one woman in front or simply creating an additional word to complement “he & she” are first steps only that can disappear again. Gender as a term can remind us to keep on calling for justice, diversity, respect, and also the curiosity that forms the beginning of any reflection. I am looking forward to the discussions that this volume will trigger, and I wish you all inspiring moments with these wonderful texts. Daniela Ingruber DANIELA INGRUBER is an Austrian war researcher, journalist, editor and consultant for film productions. She is a core faculty member of the UNESCO Chair in Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Her research foci are art & peace, war photography, ethical journalism, storytelling and new media. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.nomadin.at
Greeting Note - 5
© Sonja Karbon
MENSTRUATION IN BANGLADESH A SILENT SUFFERING OF WOMANHOOD BY SONJA KARBON
n Bengali, the national language of Bangladesh, menstruation is ‘Mashik’. However, old women particularly in the rural areas prefer to say ‘Shorir kharap’, which can be translated as health problem. I am sitting in Dhaka for my research, which includes the assessment of significant data. My research is concerned with the central question – ‘How does the approach of menstruation in a society influences the individual health behaviour of women?’ It brought me to Southeast Asia, where I developed a questionnaire in order to obtain input and more clarity on this topic. My intention is to prove that there is a need to raise awareness of this so called ‘health problem’. My first couple of weeks as a student of the North South University in Dhaka have passed but I am still in a position of observing people and their behaviours and, of course, also observing myself. 6 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
The girls, or to more precise, the young women at the university look in a sense very beautiful. Some of them wear high heels, most of them have red or pink lipstick, their eyes are black from the kohl, their nails are perfectly made and their salwar kameez (Bengali dress) allow them to all look like first ladies! So indeed there are a lot of things to talk about, including the newest fashion, the best shopping mall and so on, but when it comes to menstruation, which seems to me to be a natural topic to talk about – silence. Why is it important to raise awareness and to question how a society deals with the most natural phenomenon of womanhood? My focus is now to understand this situation in Southeast Asia. The fast growing economy in countries like India or Bangladesh has been a determining factor to create a market for menstruation hygiene products. Sanitary pads are sold as ‘the’ solution and to a certain extent they have been an important contribution to raise awareness about hygiene. In urban and suburban areas, sanitary pads are ‘easily’ available, but to understand the issue with the pads I want to provide a whole picture of such a market and its consequences. One package costs around $1-2, which sounds cheap, but for the majority of low-income countries like Bangladesh, these monthly expenses are a huge financial burden and basically most of the women simply cannot afford it. Regardless of economic and social challenges, the use of sanitary pads causes severe environ-
mental pollution, which requires thinking on a meta-level. Safe disposal will become a growing problem across India as more females turn to commercial pads, with the potential for up to 9000 tonnes of waste (for 432 million pads) annually. In most of the low-middle-income countries proper waste and disposal management is missing and burning or burying are the common practices. Indeed I have to question whether sanitary pads are ‘the’ solution. These have been a starting point to break the taboo but it is a long
The study shows a median of three days of absence of school every month, which amount to 36 days a year of missed education. way to reach a sustainable, acceptable and hygienic solution. In 2011 the Government of Bangladesh conducted the National Baseline Survey and menstruation hygiene management has been one part of it. The result: 86% out of 2000 schoolgirls use old cloths or rags for the days of bleeding due to several reasons. Some have been mentioned above while additional challenges are the very poor conditions of toilet and washing facilities in schools - no separate toilets for girls, no water, no soap, no light in the toilet. These are good reasons to prefer staying at home during menstruation. The study shows a median of three days of absence of school every month, which amount to 36 days a year of missed education. To maintain a hygienic standard and avoid health risks the rags must be cleaned with soap and hot water and afterwards they are to be dried in the sun. This implicates a cultural discrimination women have to face. Predominantly in the rural areas, beliefs and myths are in existence that men will lose their eyesight when they see such rag. In this case the consequence is that the rags are dried while hidden in a dark place, which in countries with a tropical climate and high humidity, not to mention during the rainy season, is practically impossible. The rags remain damp and under this condition the
All photos: © Sonja Karbon
Predominantly in the rural areas, beliefs and myths are in existence that men will lose their eyesight when they see such rag. risk of getting an infection is quite high as bacteria can develop very easily. The impact of poor menstruation management includes the financial aspect, religious restrictions, cultural harassment, social discrimination as well as additional challenges due to the climate of the country, health risks and the psycho-social burden of women. Conflict Transformation Around the World - 7
After looking at the different determinants of menstruation management, it is important to question: Who can be a part of the change? Who can be a role model? How can the market of hygiene products react to the needs of women and match their resources at the same time? What is needed in daily life to develop a culture in a positive way and which policies are required on a governmental level to have this happen? I believe it is time that governments start implementing good menstruation management in health policies, so that girls as well as boys receive the right education. This would enable them to receive sufficient information, to develop skills and to establish well-behaviour regarding womanhood. Additionally it would allow religious leaders begin to respect women as equal to men and to create a positive mindset in society allowing women to finally find a peaceful way to their womanhood.
I believe it is time that governments start implementing good menstruation management in health policies, so that girls as well as boys receive the right education. I do not want to reveal the results of my research as the work is currently in progress. In few weeks my journey continues and I will go to Bhutan to learn about their practices and culture. I hope that my thesis will be contribute to raise awareness in the global health community. I would like to send a special thank you to my supervisor, Dr. Armin Fidler in Austria, who leads me back to clarity when I am overwhelmed and lost with information, to my reproductive health teacher in Bangladesh, Dr. Nazneed Akther, to Mr. Sangay Khandu for his organization in Bhutan, to Sabarmatee Tiki for her hospitality and expertise in India and of course to my partner Dhiraj Kulkarni for his endless support to fulfil my purpose of empowering women.
ÂŠ Dhiraj Kulkarni
8 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
SONJA KARBON is an educational scientist, yoga teacher, author and MA candidate of International Health and Social Management at the Management Center Innsbruck. Contact: email@example.com
© Maria Del Carmen Alonso Rivera
PEACE ENCOUNTER FEEL, THINK AND IMAGINE CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION BY ALEJANDRA BARRERA AND CARLOS GAUNA VARGAS
uring the summer of 2015, within the framework of the Many Peaces Festival, emerged the idea of organizing an Encuentro de Paz in Mexico. This would become the second Peace Encounter organized with the initiative of the Mexican alumni. The first one was in 2009 at the Facultad de Arte, Universidad de Los Andes in Mérida, Venezuela, where Wolfgang Dietrich gave the keynote speech: A Call for Transrational Peaces and the Concept of the Elicitive Conflict Transformation. From these seeds, this story begins.
Who we are… In November 2015, we gathered for the first time, using Skype as the platform allowing us to connect despite the physical distance. We are seven people, alumni, and facilitators from the MA in Peace, Security, Development and International Conflict Transformation, with different backgrounds and expertise, but together we share the conviction of creating a place for sharing and working. During our years participating in this Peace Program at the Innsbruck University, we found evidence of diverse interpretations of peace, all of which express its pluralistic character. In this regard we understand peace in a broader sense, rather than simply as a contractual commitment and the mere absence of war. Henceforth we aimed to develop a space where the differences and the contradictions of peace have a place to be respectfully discussed. For me (Carlos), this was the first time that I actively participated from the beginning in the construction of a space of this nature. I was eager to learn from and with others, to participate in the debates, and to share my experiences and ideas. During the meetings, I encountered a loving and open space for expression where everyone had the opportunity to speak up, and more importantly, to listen to what others had to say. In my case (Alejandra), I got excited about the idea of working Conflict Transformation Around the World - 9
together with alumni from Innsbruck because we were going to become immersed in time and space in a real setting, and not just in a theoretical way. We were going to share transrational peace philosophy in Mexico City! Every time we met we were very enthusiastically figuring out how to make the best of the Encuentro de Paz. We spent much time and energy imagining, talking, deciding, creating and bringing it into reality. Now that it has taken place I can only say that it was worth creating it and that I would do it again. Sowing the Transrational Peaces in the Encuentro de Paz The Encuentro de Paz took place from the 26th to the 29th of May 2016, in Mexico City. It was called: Encuentro de Paz: Sentir, Pensar e Imaginar la Transformación de Conflictos. We were hosted at the Universidad Autónoma de México and at the Patronato del Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco. Both are places of learning and beauty which allowed us to deeply connect with the spaces themselves, with the other participants and with their feelings and ideas. During the Encuentro de Paz, 47 participants from different academic communities, specialists, social actors, and artists involved in the study and/or practice of peace and conflict transformation shared their lectures, workshops and artistic performances. Different topics were offered, from education for peace, peace culture to peace and development, peace from a legal perspective and art and peace. These allowed for the creation of a multidisciplinary discussion where peace was the connection. The very first seed of the many peaces started to grow in Innsbruck, growing into a beautiful and strong tree. Now, after some years, the alumni network is getting into a stage where we have matured, where we are flowering and giving fruits, and from which we are spreading the transrational peaces seeds to our own lands. In this way, we are starting to grow transrational peaces forests in different parts of the world and one of these was the very first Encuentro de Paz in Mexico City!
A beautiful seed, became a strong tree with fruits ready to grow more trees. Alejandra Barrera
During the Encuentro de Paz different Mexican peaces were made visible. Each of the participants brought their knowledge, their expertise, their soul and their imagination to this iconic place. We had the opportunity to learn from each other and to understand that the emotions and spiritual knowledge that we have within us can be taken into consideration just as much as the modern and more academical type of knowledge. That is what made it unique, all was welcome here! We cannot say that all which was presented was welcomed by open minds and open hearts, but the ideas were transmitted and sowed into the Mexican soil. Now we have the great opportunity 10 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
to continue this work, to seek transmitting the pluralistic and local ideas that have always been located in the Mexican context but that have has been disregarded so many times. The seeds started to grow We organizers are gratified by the success of the Encuentro de Paz in Mexico; Not only because we were able to share the transrational interpretation of peaces in the Mexican context at an academic and practical level, but also because through it we have learned,
Those days were days full of love, spirituality, electricity, and too much inspiration. I have no doubt that the Encuentro de Paz in Mexico displayed a great arena of real peaces facing towards the atrocities of the reality. Andrea Mondragón connected, and exchanged ideas about what peace is from different perspectives and disciplines. One of the most important aspects of the Encuentro de Paz was to listen to the stories, observations, and insights of the different participants. They were precisely the ones who made this encounter possible and their words and feelings need to be shared. To showcase some of the experiences that were growing at the Encuentro de Paz we chose comments from different speakers and participants - from María Zareth Cruz, who was a speaker in the field of education and peace, or Andrea Mondragón and Kristel Porras Ruiz, young students from the Claustro Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz University, to Shawn Bryant, speaker and workshop facilitator. María Zareth Cruz remarked that the Encuentro de Paz created a space for dialogue where the participants could express and share experiences of peace developed from the lenses of transrationality, transdisciplinarity, the moral imagination, the arts, and performativity in Mexico. She affirmed that education should encompass the whole being - body, mind, energy, and spirit - and their communion with nature from an elicitive point of view that respects the knowledge and perception of each community. She also suggested that we should transcend our borders by creating networks and debating forums, writing articles, developing projects, sharing opinions, and exchanging research. Andrea Mondragón, a student from the university Claustro Sor Juana, reflected on the different perspectives that peace and conflict concepts may have. She explains that , it has been interesting to encounter different categorizations and diversity during the days of the Encuentro de Paz. She stressed that for her conflict is the creation of a dramatic tension, which makes a story interesting and allows its continuation. Furthermore, it was important for her to acknowledge that conflicts can be subtle and that sometimes we are unaware of
their existence, which does not make them less serious. It was after all a comprehensive learning process that showed different people looking for and forging processes to create peace. She ended by saying: “Those days were days full of love, spirituality, electricity, and too much inspiration. I have no doubt that the Encuentro de Paz in Mexico displayed a great arena of real peaces facing towards the atrocities of the reality.” For K. Kristel Porras Ruiz, the Encuentro de Paz was a new experience. Especially at the Patronato del Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco, because of its peaceful atmosphere and for the representation of nature as another important part of peace. Finally, Shawn Bryant, alumni, colleague, and now faculty member at the MA Program in Peace of the University of Innsbruck shared his experience of participating in both scenarios of the Encuentro de Paz. At the Patronato del Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco where he led a workshop he remarked that “the environment with the snakes, coots, and tepalcates (ruddy ducks), created an atmosphere of connection with nature that in my opinion strengthened the content of the encounter.” He further stated that he had the great opportunity to engage energetically as a speaker and as a participant within different activities at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and the Patronato del Parque Ecológico de Xochimilco. During that week “we painted a Mandala, danced a collective dance in a workshop, and we had a fond closing ceremony with the participants present. The last moment of the closing ceremony was unforgettable, because all participants had the opportunity to thank the organizers of the encounter.” What is next?! As a seed that has grown into a beautiful tree, the Encuentro de Paz in Mexico opened up new spaces to share the philosophy of the transrational peaces. There is now the cyberspace of the Encuentro de Paz Facebook page which has been serving as a platform for sharing ideas, projects, thoughts, workshops, and news related to the many peaces. There are also the more physical spaces such as a working community headed at the Cultural Mexican Institute in Vienna, the creation of future Encuentros de Paz and a possible Peace Program in Mexico City.
All photos: © Alejandra Barrera
ALEJANDRA BARRERA is Ph.D. candidate at the Ecological Economics Institute (WU Wien) and was born in Mexico City. She was the Austrian coordinator of the Encuentro de Paz in Mexico City (UNAM/Patronato del Parque Ecológico) and in Merida, Venezuela (Universidad de los Andes, 2009). In 2010 with the project “Material de Prueba” (International exchange on Peace and Arts) she won the 2nd prize of “IG. Kultur Wien”. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org CARLOS GAUNA VARGAS is a motivated individual completing his Master’s Degree in Peace, Development, Security, and International Conflict Transformation. He was the media co-coordinator of the Encuentro de Paz. Passionate about peacebuilding, development, and social change in urban communities. Contact: email@example.com
Conflict Transformation Around the World - 11
© Salto por la Paz
MANY PEACES FOR COLOMBIA BY ALEXANDRA BERNAL AND LAURA TORRES
olombia currently faces a significant historical moment. The Latin-American country is a topic of interest for many, given the fact that after 50 years of war it undergoes a real first attempt for peace(s). As two Colombian peace students, we consider it important to reflect on the transformative process our society is experiencing, by sharing our perspectives on how we perceive this moment, both from a distance and from within the country. 12 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
Quick look at the Colombian war The Colombian conflict as we know it today, is rooted in the confrontation between liberal and conservative parties in the middle of the twentieth century. The historical exclusion of certain social groups from the exercise of power contributed to the rise of rural guerrillas. As Mauricio Romero mentions in his book Paramilitares y Autodefensas (2003) the central government’s inability to cover the needs of society in terms of security and well-being, motivated the emergence of paramilitary group as a response to the guerrillas’ actions.. In the same vein, the drug trafficking business added economic incentives to the escalation of the conflict and generated complex relational dynamics among the illegal armed groups, members of the government and civilians. As a result, even when the main strategy of the State has been a military response, there have also been intents of dialogue with different guerrilla groups, one of them ending in the genocide of the left wing political party Unión Patriótica (UP). It further influenced left parties’ political participation. The last signed agreement resulted from a questioned negotiation process with paramilitary groups that triggered the emergence of new illegal groups, linked with drug trafficking. The confrontation between actors has resulted in approximately 7.900.000 victims, according to the data provided
by the unit for integral attention and reparation of victims. Consequently, different legal instruments such as the Law 975 de 2005 were created to guarantee victims’ rights on truth, justice, and reparation. This legal framework has been the institutional base of a sort of post-conflict process in the middle of war. Subsequently, from October 2012 to June 2016 the government of Juan Manuel Santos led negotiations in Havana with the Fuerzas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) the oldest and largest guerrilla group in the country. The negotiation resulted in the Acuerdo General para la terminación del conflicto y la construcción de una paz estable y duradera, formulated on six premises: Agricultural development policy; Political participation; End of the conflict; Illicit drugs solution; Victims; Implementation and verification. More information can be found on the alto comisionado para la paz homepage as the Final agreement to end the armed conflict and build a stable and lasting peace. Recent events On October 2nd 2016, Colombians voted in a referendum, supporting or rejecting the peace accord. Only 38% of the total population voted during the referendum, resulting in 50.2% of the voters rejecting the peace deal. The main reasons for this result were historical electoral abstention, political affiliations, voter’s unconformities regarding justice and political participation of ex-combatants, misinformation, and misinterpretations. The voting pattern mirrors the reality of the war: a divided country where victims claim to stop the violent actions. Rural areas - the most affected by the violence- supported the agreement, in contrast with people from the main cities who do not experience the everyday confrontation. Given this scenario, the government invited the opposition leaders and all the political parties to discuss their main concerns and proposals regarding the agreement. Additionally, President Santos was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize, which was seen as a symbol of the international community’s support to this process. At the same time, a crucial step toward peace(s) was announced: a peace process with the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), the second biggest guerrilla in the country. More information can be found on Milton Hernandez 2006 book, Rojo y Negro: La Historia del ELN. Feelings and responses: a loop of uncertainty Even though we are facing a relational challenge due to the polarization that has been the protagonist of Colombia’s attempt to transform the conflict, the recent events brought about institutional and emotional responses. Colombian civil society is expressing the accumulated tension rooted in the long lasting conflict by demonstrating their support for peace(s). The process opened the space for different understandings of peace to collide. This means that society is starting to understand the need to embrace different perceptions of peace.
Away-In (Laura’s point of view) “What do you most miss from home Laura?” is a common question I encounter in regards my decision to leave my country nearly three years ago. Spending a long time away from Colombia gave me the chance to experience new cultures and to appreciate and miss home. I have felt nostalgia and frustration at times, especially now when many processes are taking place and urging for actions. Witnessing how my family and friends struggled to respect their opinions regarding the peace process was heartbreaking. This feeling grew stronger when I could not vote for such an important decision for my country, making me realize that the sense of belonging is what I miss most by being away from home. Nevertheless, the many social initiatives, especially the ones lead by young people inspire me. Massive marches, spaces open for debate with active participants, a peace camp in the middle of the central square in Bogota and other such initiatives, push forth and demand an end to violence. Even when the social division is present and accompanied by the feeling of uncertainty, hope is more alive than ever and reminds me that it is in ourselves that we ought to promote a change towards peace. My commitment from a distance is focused on my everyday actions and the way I relate and share the culture of my country with others. I am IN (Alexandra’s perception) As many other Colombians I am part of this historical moment. It has been a challenge to continue with my normal life, while at the same time it has been inspiring to witness for the first time in my life how we are appropriating peace(s). Even when it is difficult to handle it on an emotional level due to the feeling of uncertainty that has somehow frozen us in time, I am motivated by hope. The context has generated an added energy I have never felt before. It is driving me to get involved in many social initiatives around me., I thus decided to work along with the peacebuilding think tank Fundación Ideas para la Paz (FIP) where I found highly motivated young people who, like me, wanted to do something else to support a negotiated answer to decades of violence. Together, we promote Salto por la Paz (Jump for Peace), which consists in mobilizing our body, emotions, and mind for the peace(s) in our country. We intend to promote reflections and actions around the meaning of jumping into a future of peace by recognizing our uncertainties and fears. Hope is the motor that drives us to jump, since we believe that even when it can be a different reality full of challenges, it will also bring new opportunities. Let’s start with reconciliation The complexity of Colombia’s internal conflict has been culturally read under moral categories that define ‘good’ and ‘bad’ (people), Conflict Transformation Around the World - 13
that have only strengthened resentments and detachments within Colombian society. As well as moral peaces, we have understood peace from a modern perspective that determines ‘who’ belongs to our nation-state and who does not according to specific power dynamics. Our current approach to peace, as well as former attempts have been focused on moral and modern views. We think that the biggest need and challenge now is to integrate the many peaces, in processes of reconciliation and reintegration promoted through non-violent communication tools. It does not matter where you are. As peace workers, the many peaces approach has given us a plural outlook useful to “recognize the tendencies and characteristics of the concepts that are prevalent in the context that occupies him/ her [us]; how these function and then to be aware of which other variations of peace might be left aside and whose recovery might help bringing back the system into a dynamic equilibrium” (Master of Arts Program in Peace, Development, Security and International Conflict Transformation, 2014)
The process opened the space for different understandings of peace to collide. This means that society is starting to understand the need to embrace different perceptions of peace.
There are already several expressions of the five peace families in our country, moral and modern peaces coexist with postmodern and energetic ones. Our call for reconciliation answers to the need we see in accepting their existence as possible conceptions of peace and not as mutually exclusive points of view. This is a transrational call as it implies the recognition of rationality, however beyond its purely materialistic perspective. Its approach acknowledges reason as one possible manner of perception, among others (Echavarría 2014, 63). Let us open the scope.
© Alexandra Bernal
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facebook: saltoporlapaz ALEXANDRA BERNAL was born and lives in Bogotá, Colombia. Currently she works as Consultant for Colombia of the british NGO International Alert. Together with other members of civil society in Colombia, she leads the mobilization initiative Salto por la Paz. She is writing her Masters thesis about photography as a tool for conflict transformation. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
LAURA ANDREA TORRES is living in Innsbruck Austria, working as member of the support team of Women´s Best. Has a Bachelor in International Relations with emphasis on Democracy and Security and is currently writing her master thesis in Peace, Development, Security and international conflict transformation. Contact: Lara_t16@hotmail.com
© Esteban La Rotta
© Paola Mera
‘MAGICAL REALISM’ COLOMBIA: FROM THE PLEBISCITE FOR PEACE TO THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE BY ERIKA ROJAS *This article was first published in the Noragric blog
hat Colombia has experienced during the last weeks could be part of the ‘magical realism’ that Gabriel García Márquez expressed in his literature, reflecting a reality that has hints of the surreal as beauty and fear cohabitate side by side and express themselves almost simultaneously. In this sense, Colombia has experienced an emotional rollercoaster, a political polarization and a strong mobilization since 2nd October, when, in a tight ballot, Colombians voted to reject the Peace Accords signed one week before between the government and the FARC-EP. On 7th October, Colombians experienced a burst of hope and international support when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the president Juan Manuel Santos for his efforts in the search for a peaceful resolution of the armed conflict.
This scenario can have multiple interpretations and the accent on the positive or negative tone varies with the analysis. As a Colombian and supporter of the dialogue and a negotiated transformation of the armed conflict, I aim to present a positive - but realist – panorama. As a social scientist researching communitarian reconciliation processes and the construction of a post-conflict society, I seek to understand the Colombian context, and to highlight the existence of those peace and reconciliation spaces amidst the polarization in the country, in order to show their relevance in the current scenario. In this sense, it is important to analyse what happened in the plebiscite, what a political polarization means, and what the implications of the Nobel Peace Prize are for the future of the Peace agreement. Let’s start with some numbers. On 2nd October, 6,431,376 Colombian citizens voted ‘NO’ to the Peace Agreement, versus 6,377,482 that voted supporting the agreement. With such a tight margin, it is easy to say that there is great polarization in the country between supporters and detractors of the current Peace Agreement. In this election, the people that voted in support of the Agreement are located in those areas that have been highly affected by the armed conflict, on the periphery of the country, while the ‘no-voters’ are mainly located in the cities and the centre of Colombia. Conflict Transformation Around the World - 15
During the week after the plebiscite, Colombians got to learn Colombians want peace but are unsure of how to implement it. Thus, about the mechanisms implemented by the ‘no’ leaders in their the political discussion that had been nurtured in academic and incampaign, and this realization brought not only more disap- stitutional spaces jumped into the streets, into the cafes, the classpointment but the clear notion that many of the people that voted rooms and the office hallways. People were in shock. They began to against the Peace Agreement were misinformed about its contents. gather in a call for the peace process to continue; a silent march was It is important to see, however, that only 37.43% of the Colombi- started by youth and university students, first in Bogotá, then across ans that could vote did so in this election, meaning that the majori- the country. And they continue. Since the first march was organized ty of Colombians did not use their right to vote. Therefore, the dis- on the Wednesday after the plebiscite, there have been marches alcussion cannot only gravitate around the supporters or detractors most every day all around Colombia and in cities around the world of the Peace Agreement, but should include those who refrained in support of the Colombian Peace Agreement. from voting. Reasons for this abstention are In this scenario, the political debate that historical; low political participation (32-50% started four years ago with the peace process, according to the National Civil Registry) may has become stronger and louder since the plebbe related to low levels of political trust – periscite. It has incorporated an ethical element haps people perceive their vote cannot make that was not visible enough before the plebia difference. In this sense, the results of last scite, which addresses the need for recognition. Sunday´s plebiscite present a reality in CoIn the massive street-demonstrations, a unifylombia that reflects a need to bring the politing thread has been the acknowledgement of ical debate close to the people and their daythe victims of the armed conflict and the recto-day reality. In summary, the high level of ognition of their longing for peace and their abstention and the close but higher number right to live without the anguish caused by war. of votes rejecting the agreement in the plebiEncouraged with the support, afro-descendant scite, negatively affected the political support and indigenous organizations, two of the most and legitimacy that the President was seeking victimized groups that politically support the for the Peace Agreement, thus creating a diffiAgreement, demand its prompt implementacult scenario for its implementation. tion in their territories. Additionally, this proDoes this means that the people in Colombia peace political mobilization is calling for the do not want peace? No. In fact, the day after the possibility to use direct participation mechaplebiscite the country woke up to a bitter taste of nisms such as open councils in the Colombian sorrow and guilt regarding the low percentage constitution, to support and demand the impleof voters. Polarization was expressed through © Registraduría Nacional de Colombia mentation of the current agreements. different channels and people’s frustrations were voiced across the As many say in Colombia, this might have been the most politland. The leaders of the ‘no-vote’ based their campaign on the need ically agitated week in decades, and people that were political into review the agreement and the possibility of a new negotiation that different are waking up to the call to unite voices to support peace. would address the concerns of the opposition related to justice, land From this perspective, it could be easy to think there is a good distribution and political participation. The day after the plebiscite, chance to revive the peace agreement and validate it. The political many civil society organizations, students and other citizens demand- reality of the country is, however, more complicated, with many ed the opposition to present their proposed points for negotiation, parties now in the conversation. Therefore, even when civil society and called for the different parties to sit together and discuss what (students, victims’ organizations, indigenous and afro-descendent could be done to save the peace process. groups, and business representatives) has put aside its polarization In the course of a week, the people of Colombia mobilized them- in favour of peace, mobilizing and demanding an inclusive and selves to claim national support of peace. It became apparent that efficient negotiation between the political parties to save the peace
© El Espectador
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© Paola Mera
process, the opposing parties still have to come up with proposals mocrático and one of the political representatives of the ‘No-camto negotiate the current Peace Agreement. This moment in history paign’, and Marta Lucía Ramírez from the Conservative party, have has been referred to by the historian Marco Palacios as a ‘Political presented some discussion points, the opposition does not only Theatre’. It seems that whilst the main roles are taken by politi- include them but also the Christian churches that promoted the ‘No-campaign’. The problem is that this plethora of discussion tacians, this time the spectators are willing to join the play. At the end of the week, on 7th October, the Nobel Peace Com- bles around the Peace Agreement stretches the chances for efficient mittee woke the country with the news that the Nobel Peace Prize and inclusive negotiations, making it difficult to come up with new was awarded to Juan Manuel Santos for his tenacity in the search proposals to negotiate with FARC in the near future. Whilst there is protraction and a lack of consensus in the pofor a negotiated end to the armed conflict and the possibilities for peace in Colombia. Additionally, the committee stated, the award litical discussions, the citizens have not stopped their demonstrawas directed to the Colombian society for its continuous search tions and are acting together to legitimize a consensus for peace. for peace in the midst of conflict. In other words, this Nobel Peace Consequently, it seems that the only road Colombia wants to take Prize may be understood as a recognition to those individuals and is towards peace, with negotiations between the government and ELN (the guerrilla group still operorganizations that have worked for ating), announced to commence on the construction of peace amidst the As many say in Colombia, 27th October in Ecuador. On the armed conflict, in which victims’ orthis might have been the most 11th October, the artist Doris Salceganizations have played a major role, politically agitated week in decades, do gathered 3,500 people to sew togiving examples of reconciliation. gether the names of 2,300 victims of It may also be a recognition of the and people that were political the armed conflict into a white cartransformation of the institutional indifferent are waking up to the call pet, covering the floor of ‘Plaza Bolinarrative around the armed conflict to unite voices to support peace. var’ in Bogotá. The performance was and the opposition in Colombia, called ‘Sumando Ausencias’ (Adding promoted by President Santos, which recognized the political foundations of the guerrilla struggle and Absences) and was a public mourning of the victims and a symbolopened the possibility for a negotiation that ended the idea of ic act for peace. And yesterday, 12th of October, Colombians are again using the streets as a platform to demand their right to peace achieving power by military means. News of the Peace Prize was thus received as a festive announce- and celebrate cultural diversity. What will happen in Colombia remains uncertain. Neverthement in Colombia, and was perceived as an oxygenation for Santos and the Peace Process after a week of ups-and-downs. It is a state- less, current events in the country present a great possibility to ment of international political support that stresses the importance construct a more inclusive and legitimate peace. of the peace negotiation and the need for its continuation. Many ERIKA ROJAS from Colombian, is a PhD Fellow at things are at stake after the results of the plebiscite, including inNoragric in the Norwegian University of Life Sciences ternational support, both economic and political, and the role of (NMBU). Her research interests are in conflict transthe UN’s Verification Mission in Colombia. The prize emphasizes formation, peace-building, security, gender and recSanto’s will for peace and his commitment to the process and all onciliation. She is part of the EU Horizon 2020 project that it includes. It is thus a direct call for Santos to honour this ICT4COP, Community-Based Policing and Post-Conflict Police Reform, in which she is researching the ‘Re-definirecognition and for the Colombian society to support it. tion of (In)Security and Community-Based Policing after Colombia is now experiencing a new mix of hope, raised by inReconciliation’, a comparative study to understand gender creased civil mobilization, and uncertainty. At this moment, anyimbalance of power and redefinition of (in)security thing can happen and the opposition is willing to negotiate their through reconciliation processes and Community-Based points of disagreement with the document signed by the GovernPolicing (COP) in El Salvador and Colombia. Contact: email@example.com ment and FARC. Though Alvaro Uribe Vélez, leader of Centro De-
© The Nobel Peace Centre
© Secretaría de Cultura de Bogotá
Conflict Transformation Around the World - 17
© Aisling Breathnach
RECOVERING SEXUALITY ... IN THE MIDST OF VIOLENCE: AN INSIGHT FROM GUATEMALA BY CORINNE LEHR // TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH BY JANA ELENA HORNBERGER
have lived in Guatemala for almost five years and through this article I want to share my personal story with you. My perspective on the Guatemalan situation is contextualized through lots of privileges towards the Guatemalan people which manifests itself through the following three points; First, I was not born here and so I did not grow up in the context I am about to describe. This also means that I did not experience the limitations of mobility between the borders of the world because of a privilege of movement caused by my nationality. Second, in comparison to many people here in Guatemala, I am living a privileged life. I do not have economic responsibilities for a family that depends on my income (at least at the moment) and my white skin color facilitates and enables a lot here in my daily life. Third, the fact that I was born in Europe gives me the possibility to return to “an easier reality” in case the political situation here or my personal one becomes more complicated. I think it is important to keep these aspects in mind while reading my interpretations. 18 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
I do not want this article to be read as if I am imposing an absolute truth. The following article presents my subjective reflections, which emerge from a process of trying to understand different perceptions and understandings. I have had the privilege of entering and getting to know many spaces where people from Guatemala participate. I think that the context of their lives has shaped and also influenced their perception of life. The way they value life influences the way they see other people and it is a strong motivation factor when it comes to the effort put into life and work projects which serve to contribute to a surrounding that is more healthy, fair and secure. Being a foreigner in this country, many people often ask me why I am here and what I like about Guatemala. It is a hate-love relationship. Sometimes, when I feel sad, I do not even have an answer to that question. In these moments my answer is “because I like Tamarindo” – which is my favourite drink here. Then we laugh and the conversation moves on. However, I think I do have to answer this question, right? Above all, I have to answer it for myself. So I will give it a try. Many people in Germany do not even know how to spell the name GUATEMALA, neither do they know where it is, nor the history or the political situation of the country. In the town where my parents live, people think I am somewhere in Africa doing – whatever – something that has to do with poverty and hunger. If Guatemala pops up in the media, the image that is produced
© Center Ganil © Magdalenas Guate Teatro
Women and their rebellion are framed by their context.
© Corinne Lehr
speaks about violence, extreme poverty, drugs, gangs and danger. So, why am I in a country with an almost unpronounceable name, a place full of violence? I have to ask myself this question because in some ways this place has become part of my life and my identity. I think that in such a forgotten place as Guatemala, where you don’t expect better conditions, you have to fight which causes an immense potential for creativity and a revolutionary spirit in perceiving the value of life. Here, where when it rains, it rains the bitter smell of the rotten corpses that lie on the basurero de la zona 3 ( the biggest garbage dump in 3rd district in Guatemala City). Here, where a four-year old child knows how to distinguish the sound of a bullet from the sound of a firework. Here, where a life sometimes has the value of a mobile phone, for which they kill you when they rob you. Here, where death is omnipresent, people value life in an extremely deep way. I find it remarkable that in a place, where life is shaped by surviving, the value given to life is extremely different than in countries of the global north. This act of valuing shapes people’s identities, gives them strength, and shapes their cosmovision of “love towards life”. I have known people who get up every day without expectations for the best work or living conditions, but who dedicate all their power, hopes and work to their own, personal life projects. For the first time of my life, I heard the expression gracias a la vida – which means being grateful for life – an expression unknown in the German language. The idea of appreciating life has been new for me. It has become one of my favorite expressions because it emphasizes the value of life itself, particularly in a surrounding where the act of surviving seems arbitrary. For me, it also illustrates that the interpretations of life, the interpersonal dynamics and the relation with our environment are diverse and if we manage to go beyond our judgements, we can learn from the people in Guatemala and their struggle for wellbeing. Guatemala has a long history of violence and protracted conflict. The Spanish conquest left traces of post-colonialism and post-conflict and its footprint can be seen in complex ways in people‘s lives even today. So complex that I am often challenged, even after living here for five years, to understand many things. The country is ruled by the people responsible for the massacres on the Mayan population twenty years ago. This seems to me an almost surreal and overwhelming paradox, talking about peace in the historical context of Guatemala almost sounds absurd. What meaning does peace have in this context? I have often read the definition of peace as the absence of violence, but for me peace is much more. For me, peace is the conscious and active support of happiness, pleasure and health – in its bodily, sexual and emotional manifestations towards myself and others. Putting this into practice is of course not easy. People have different needs and it is already difficult enough to understand ourselves. Feminism contributes to this notion of peace, even though the history and structure of what feminisms are is also very complex. The version of feminism I grew up with is a construction of the privileged countries. This notion is confronted by a feminism that addresses the needs and life contexts of black women, indigenous woman, trans-people and women from rural areas. In Guatemala this is also complex. The majority of the population is indigenous, an identity that brings with it discrimination and the collective memory of an attempted genocide. In moments when
Conflict Transformation Around the World - 19
For a long time it did not seem important to have the tools for taking care of myself, my body or getting to know and understanding my own feelings.
The act of “sexual healing“ means to leave behind the imposed identification as victim, and recover a self determined protagonism.
All Photos: © Corinne Lehr
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women (both indigenous and ladinas- Ladina/o is the Guatemalan expression for the part of the population which represent the mixture of Spanish and Indigenous ancestors. In other Spanish speaking countries they are called mestizas/os) reclaim their needs and rights, they are confronted with the argument that following a feminism that comes out of an western construction would be far away from their own reality. Still there was always female rebellion and it will always remain. Women and their rebellion are framed by their context, in this case the sociocultural and political situation of Guatemala. The major themes that I have witnessed here in women’s lives are their recuperation of access and participation of public, cultural and political spaces and the defense of concrete spaces (importantly the body and also the land) as well as the recuperation and conservation of the historic memory, the preservation and defense of culture while simultaneously considering their own concrete needs as women. Furthermore, complex and critical thinking, historical memory, sexual violence and the phenomenon of femicide (Femicide is the killing of women for the fact of being a woman), the critique of the legal system and the state, the fight for territory (in the sense of body as territory and the land they depend on), sexual diversity, body and sexuality, the critical engagement with motherhood that is part of the society, individual and collective healing and the discourse of abortion are among the fields women are actively engaged in. My main issue with European feminism in comparison to the experiences I have had here is the interpretation and the understanding of spirituality and the importance it has for healing and peace. As a “good student” and due to my personal story, I have learnt that rationality is one of the most important values to achieve. Therefore, when I was living in Europe I was very hesitant to use the word “spirituality”, and felt resistance finding out what it means to me. Here, I experienced something else. What I have learnt here was a new way of thinking and being in the world. This manifests itself in trying to achieve a holistic well-being by going beyond the separations of rationality and by including the emotional aspects and the body. It is not about setting up a hierarchy between them but about perceiving the human being as an holistic being in which every aspect deserves the same attention and care. Before, I did not understand this concept; I also separated myself from my own self. For a long time it did not seem important to have the tools for taking care of myself, my body or getting to know and understanding my own feelings. Violence in general and in the Guatemalan history is one of the contexts in which relationships are built and shaped. In order to leave these forms of relationship and to transform an identity of victimhood, it is important to recognize the importance of individual and collective healing, also in a political sense. Taking care of the self and others is a deep and radical political act. In a country like Guatemala where the conflict destroyed the social net of human relationships and where relationships have to be rebuilt, healing is also a manifestation of justice. The act of „sexual healing“ - in a context of rape culture - means to leave behind the imposed identification as victim, and recover a self determined protagonism. In an environment of structural impunity that means an option to create justice on a personal and collective level. What is very important for me in this context is the topic of
© Corinne Lehr
sexuality. In cases of sexual violence (which in my perception is a lenas and the Vulva Collective, I have experienced methodologies much more profound dynamic than “just” the act of violent pen- and spaces of working with sexual healing. It is about recognizing etration), the options for a response are to denounce it (which in the sexual character that violence has for women and at the same the most cases leads to nothing because of the context of impunity time recovering a sexuality that is independent from violence, as arising from a lack of will to prosecute the perpetrators) and/or well as creating a sexuality from the wisdom of our bodies and the to receive conventional therapy. None of these strategies leads to relational connection with our bodies, our needs, desires, concrete the option of an active sexual propleasures and personal boundaries. tagonism, it just offers the same All this is important for the way we This means to recover knowledge external definite identificacion as a interrelate with our environment. victim, as always. Returning to the initial question from a process of institutionalisation, What is not reflected is that vioof this article – why am I here in being able to take free decisions about lence itself influences our sexuality Guatemala? – I have to admit that our bodies and to question where our and what we have to do is to reflect I am here for my very own process, on our patterns. We have to create my very own necessity of being images and sexual habits come from. new forms that help us to redefine here. When I started this trip five our sexuality. This means to recovyears ago, I had a romantic idea of er knowledge from a process of institutionalisation (like recover- going to a foreign country with the intention of doing something ing knowledge about our own bodies from, for example, medical good for others, of working for peace. When people in Germany institutions, and create an active participation in, for example, our ask me when I will come back, I can tell them now that I will come visits to our gynecologists), being able to take free decisions about back when I manage to close a very important phase of my life our bodies and to question where our images and sexual habits that has to do with my own healing process of having experienced come from. Only then can we take the step of creating and finding sexual violence. I consider working on my personal process as a a pleasant sexuality, a sexuality that is gentle to our body, mind fundamental step in creating a vision for peace. As I said in the beand emotions. ginning, peace is an active support towards wellbeing. It is imporIn a country where violence is omnipresent and that has gone tant to know what is good for ourselves in order to bring this into through a history of sexual violence, I have found the potential our relationships. Sexuality plays an important role in my personal of working with processes for sexual healing and especially work- definition of peace. I perceive sexuality as a fundamental element ing on my own healing and wellbeing as a woman. It helps me to in order to relate to myself, my body and with others. process an experience of sexual violence I have had in my early youth. It took me a while to recognize this experience as a part of CORINNE LEHR is from Germany and has been living in Guatemala for five years. She is a pedagogue and my life and through working with it in different collective spaces sociologist and considers herself a semi-feminist. In Guahere in Guatemala, it helped me to transform this topic into sometemala she found her focus on processes of recovering thing different, into a healing experience. Through working with sexuality and works as a facilitator in contexts of theatre the Centro de Formación-Sanación e Investigación Transpersonal of the oppressed and sexual healing. At the moment she Q´anil (Center for formation-healing and transpersonal investigaworks as a project coordinator for the Center for formation-healing and Transpersonal Investigation Q´anil. tion Q´anil- which is the word for seed in Kíche-Mayan language), Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org working with the theater of the oppressed collective, Las Magda-
Conflict Transformation Around the World - 21
ÂŠ Ori Talmor
OR I TALMO R
BOOTS AND LIPSTICK A HARD SHELL AND A SOFT HEART IN THE ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCE BY ORI TALMOR
never thought of myself as much of a feminist. Actually, how would one name a woman who is the exact opposite of a feminist..? Well- that was me. I thought nothing much of my femininity, never minded a chivalrous gesture from a suitor, and enjoyed the privilege I received at times for my long legs or my voluminous hair. I never thought there was anything wrong with it; never thought I had any less access anywhere just because of my sex, or that I was discriminated against on that basis. Little did I know that my mind was already conditioned in a way that allowed me to enjoy the world around me as a female form, though through a masculine outlook. I did not realize the masculine narrative has in effect conquered most of my personal narrative and self-perception, at least not until I reached the all-boys club of the Israeli Air Force. 22 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
As conscription in Israel is still mandatory both for male and female youth, I decided I were to make the most out of my military service by making it as meaningful (to me) as possible. I volunteered for a unique, experiential project, where female soldiers were to be integrated with male soldiers in their training to become professional combatants in the air-defense branch of the Israeli Air Force. Basic training was co-added. As this was still a new project, there seems to have been little knowledge about the core differences between the physical capacities of women and men, and therefore, standards were not different. Besides the evident physical impact it had on some of the females in the team, it also generated effects on the levels of the persona, though so deeply ingrained I only became aware of them years later, through self-analysis and introspection. Having a male standard as the status quo literally distorted my perception of my own self and my achievements. I changed. At the time it was imperceptible to my own eyes and my immediate close environment, but retrospectively it was evident; I grew harder, tougher and more aggressive. It manifested in the way I walked, the way I talked and the way I handled myself in company. Being in a predominantly masculine environment, the masculine aspect of the persona grew more dominant and accentuated, while the feminine aspect grew dimmer and more repressed. I adopted cruder mannerism to help me fit in
better among the man, and characteristic tendencies of forcefulness and aggressiveness grew stronger and more evident. As the project developed and lessons were learnt from live feedbacks from the field, adjustments in the training scales were made to accommodate for physiological differences between the female and male trainees, though although beneficial to the physical body, it turned out to only further aggravate the tension between the sexes. The male trainees, frustrated from the special facilitation for the fe-
Little did I know that my mind was already conditioned in a way that allowed me to enjoy the world around me as a female form, though through a masculine outlook. males, revolted in exacerbating their unofficial interaction with the females by looking down on their achievements and status in the frame of the training. On the personal level, it had a detrimental effect. The desire to belong and prove I am (at least) an equal to any male around me,riled my over-achieving mind to accentuate any already existing competitive traits, making an effort to assimilate to the dominantly masculine environment in any way possible. Even in the presence of newly adjusted standards for the women, I could not allow myself to “give in” to these adjusted standards. Even though I was a woman and it was seemingly legitimate to act according to the relevant standards, in my mind, anything less than a man’s performance was rendered a failure. I completed my military service as one of the three first female-officers combatants of the Patriot Missile system. The feeling of accomplishment was profound; a path maker to those women who will follow and a notion of the conqueror of terra incognita. I made it through. And I came out victorious. But at what cost? As I progress on the process of internal investigation through my thesis writing, I employ the ECM (Elicitive Conflict Mapping) tool which allows me a deeper look into the different layers of the persona in the context of a particular episode in a specific point in time.
Being in a predominantly masculine environment, the masculine aspect of the persona grew more dominant and accentuated, while the feminine aspect grew dimmer and more repressed. All photos: © Ori Talmor
This internal examination allowed me to develop awareness of the impact of those experiences some fifteen years ago on my persona as a whole. As I delved deeper into the layers of the ECM I found the Sexual-Family layer as one of the prominent ones. Issues of identity and belonging as sources of safety came up in the process and the magnitude of the impact of this experience on my perception of the self and the formation of a hard shell became evident. Elicitive Peace Workers - 23
As I returned to civilian life, though I left the military behind, I still carried it within me. I grew to realize that the years in the military, training and working in an all-male environment, deeply influenced my perception of femininity. As I grew to perceive being a female as an innate weakness, I developed a hard shell around my own self. This shell allowed me to conduct myself in a more stern and straightforward manner, often analytical and deprived of any emotional expressions or gestures of care and compassion, as I perceived those as â€œfeminine characteristicsâ€?, and therefore as pure weakness. This hard shell shaped most of my adult life, as the desire to prove myself and rise above any internal or external obstacle, without regard to my internal state of being, sent me on an ongoing adventure. It drove me away from my family and home country, tottering all around the world in search for the next challenge, the next peak to conquer, the next opportunity to prove, be it to my family or my own self that I was worthy. The need to achieve and prove myself through exploring and conquering new challenges, created a particular way of life: once the immediate challenge of adapting and adjusting to a new place was completed, the vessel was once more empty and the desire for a new stimuli to fill up the vessel was leading me out to my next adventure. Naturally, any form of long term relationships and any sense of stability and growth in one particular place was impossible, as I never stayed in one place long enough to establish any form of stability. The hard shell supported me and protected me in this context, as it allowed me to move freely and courageously around the globe, quickly adjusting and adapting to new circumstances, languages and people. At the same time, it hindered me on a much deeper level: it blocked any access to the softer layers of the Self, which rendered my human interaction as mechanical in nature, utilitarian and defensive in character. Even processes of growth and self-transformation were limited to a pragmatic, often judgmental introspection, missing the profound aspects of deep connection with my own self and others on the Spiritual-Policitary level. As awareness of the existence and dominance of this hard-shell emerged and deepened, I grew more conscious of the process which created it, and hence, also more conscious of the aspects it overshadowed in myself. A rekindled connection with my feminine aspect has been taking place, allowing me to confront particular preconceptions and prejudices I have been entangled in since my military service and possibly earlier. I have learned to see my femininity as a form of soft power rather than a detrimental weakness, realizing it plays a much bigger role in myself than I was ever truly aware of. Gradually embracing and reintegrating the feminine and masculine aspects of my own self I learn to cherish and appreciate each of them for its own strengths and contributions to my system as a whole. Whilst rebalancing these elements in me I still wonder sometime as to where I place myself on the feminist scale. Given I still enjoy a chivalrous gesture now and then and do not experience the world as a gender-based competition over resources, I might fall under the category of non-feminist by the definitions of some. At the same time, having emerged out of the mental prison of gender-based preconceptions, I re-embraced my female aspects while consciously cutting through my masculine conditionings, which to my perception is pure feminism.
24 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
As I returned to civilian life, though I left the military behind, I still carried it within me. I grew to realize that the years in the military, training and working in an all-male environment, deeply influenced my perception of femininity.
ORI TALMOR is living in Israel where she facilitates dialogue groups of Israeli and Palestinian youth. She also works with children, as well as with school teachers, employing NVC principles to learn how to communicate more constructively with the intention of making oneâ€™s experience in the world a more pleasant and enriching one. She teaches and practices classical yoga as a tool of self-transformation and a way to live in the world. Contact: email@example.com
PREGNANCY AS PEACEMAKING BY CHRISTINA PAULS
mongst online studies around the term topic Courage, prenatal Yoga teaching and workshops on Nonviolent Communication, I unexpectedly became pregnant. The news marked the beginning of a crisis, as it appeared at the wrong time - where I felt unable to provide my child with a safe and stable home and financial abundance.
Upon becoming pregnant, the meaning of roles and responsibilities shift. It is not solely about myself, but about a child so fragile that he cannot effectively take responsibility for himself. My body has become a temple, a precious vehicle to carry this new little being. While it appears easier to treat myself more gently and with more self-respect now that I am tasked with this responsibility, I am astonished that it never occurred to me pre-pregnancy to take better care of myself. The need to cultivate more love for myself is a red thread that runs through my life and keeps repeating its call. Maybe the wonder of life that I carry within myself is my opportunity to take and embed this lesson and to appreciate the Divine within me. Here comes a little, beautiful soul that inhabits my womb and challenges me to let go of plans, expectations and romanticized fantasies. One so precious and life-affirming that it reminds me of the beauty that lies in surrendering to life, even if it doesnâ€™t accurately resemble the blueprint I had envisioned. One that challenges me to reflect upon, embody and apply the peace tools that I have learned and continue to learn every day. It is in the everyday challenges of our lives that our capacities as peace workers become relevant, tested and eventually strengthened. This contribution is about a personal, intimate journey through pregnancy that is drawing lessons from Elicitive Conflict Work Elicitive Peace Workers - 25
ÂŠ Olga Kudinov
NA C H R I ST I PAULS
which is, first and foremost, inner work. Acknowledging that every pregnancy is different, I see the journey itself as a potential for peace and transformation. As with all transformations, the pregnancy journey leads to another stage of life, that of motherhood. These are journeys of surrender, with profound spiritual wisdom being hidden in biological processes.
While it appears easier to treat myself more gently and with more self-respect now that I am tasked with this responsibility, I am astonished that it never occurred to me pre-pregnancy to take better care of myself. Pregnancy: Encountering Ourselves A peace and conflict worker needs knowledge of the Self, as the totality of her intrapersonal layers are actively influencing the setting she enters as a facilitator, albeit to different extents. Awareness without immediate judgement or rejection relates to not only my personality, with my shadows and golden sides, but also to my limits. All the students and alumnae of the Innsbruck School for Peace Studies know the importance of facing our own shadow aspects before committing to work in the field. Otherwise, and this is particularly true for shadows we are not fully aware of, the conflict worker can quickly become an energy-draining force within the setting herself. The principle of correspondence reminds us to consider not only relational energies among the conflict parties, but also the intrapersonal layers, needs and contradictions that influence each of the parties, including the peace and conflict worker as a third party. In this sense, my pregnancy has been a journey of self-discovery through ongoing attempts at self-acceptance. There have been lots of failures, throwbacks, self-doubts, but also the urge to get back up with more resilience, strength and determination. Not only for
There have been lots of failures, throwbacks, self-doubts, but also the urge to get back up with more resilience, strength and determination.
All photos: ÂŠ Olga Kudinov
myself, but primarily for this beautiful soul, who is fully aware of my behavior, my struggles, my feelings and my thoughts. It is known that maternal stress can affect the babyâ€™s development. Nevertheless, I found it difficult to control my stress levels and maintain a positive attitude throughout. Not only has my life plan been turned upside down by the simple fact of pregnancy itself, but my emotional world as well. My partner, the father of my baby, is residing in Rwanda and is not in the financial position to accompany me through my 26 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
pregnancy, which I have decided to spend in Germany. When it be- practice on the mat often translate into lessons we can integrate off came clear that the visa challenge would exceed our capacities, I im- the mat into our everyday lives, and vice versa. Losing balance in a mersed into helplessness and mourning of my dreams of a romanti- specific sequence can be for a variety of reasons that may be rooted cized, happy young family. Although I knew that these were my own in imbalances off the mat. In the literal and metaphorical sense, this mental barriers that withheld me from accepting the challenge that easy loss of grounding is often among the roots of peacelessness. demanded me to move forward even in the face of uncertainty, I was Embodying and physically practicing this by settling down in the not willing to surrender to this flow of life. I refused to detach from pelvis is a powerful tool to visualize the grounding on an energetic the idealized image of what pregnancy â€œshouldâ€? look like. I spent level. Grounding, standing tall and strong, is a quality we need not weeks mourning over my dreams only in embodied practices such and expectations, and burst into as Yoga, but also in our full-time tears when I saw happy, young and jobs as peacemaking mothers. My pregnancy started out as a crisis, pregnant couples together. This way, not every disruption, but it turned into the embodiment With growing dissatisfaction not every little earthquake can of a human journey, came shame for feeling too much, bring us to fall and we are able particularly towards my baby. I to stay grounded despite anxiety, holy and spiritual noticed guilt and self-pity, rather stress and worries. Many mothers in its nature. than being responsible and proI know of apply this knowledge tecting him. But with him being without actually being aware of it. part of me, biologically and spiritThere is a direct connection beually connected to who I was, this baby growing in my womb gave tween upholding the inner structure and holding space in terms of me the possibility to open up and become more compassionate with applied peace work. Elongating my spine, opening my chest and upmy own feelings. I sit in bed and talk to him, explaining that my feel- holding my inner structure translates into full presence in the outer ings are just visitors, that come and leave, and that it was not a good world. It encompasses awareness related to the full universe of the idea to serve them tea. I tell him that these feelings have nothing to here and now, rather than to my inner world.. Only through loving do with him, and change nothing about the way I love him. This is and nurturing myself can I be present, aware and compassionate for where crisis becomes potential for growth, in which I realize that you. This inner structure is at the base for our work as peacemakers everything I need is there within myself. In which the situation as is and, of course, as peacemaking mothers. leads me to abysses I havenâ€™t explored and worked through in detail, reminding me that every relationship is a mirror of my own fears. Embracing the Journey The sad periods of my pregnancy have reminded me that unhealed wounds from my inner child are at work, stronger than ever, trig- My pregnancy started out as a crisis, but it turned into the embodgered by current circumstances, and that these wounds need healing iment of a human journey, holy and spiritual in its nature. Even if instead of judgement. going through this process now has caused me to suspend my formal studies, it has opened up a whole new world of learning and Anticipating Motherhood: Holding the Space growth I had not dreamt to be able to explore. The circumstances of being without a partner during pregnancy, or having no stable inThe awareness of my shadows lead me to another aspect of the jour- come and no real place to call home surely added weight to multiple ney - how to deal with this awareness. A substantial part of pregnan- long nights of desperation. cy has been the continuous worry about whether I will be able to be Eventually, pregnancy teaches me that peaces are not destinaa good mother and what actually makes a good mother. In ECW, tions but pathways on which we creatively explore our possibilities the principle of resonance particularly relates to coherence of inner to build inner structures for peace, rather than relying on the outand outer aspects of being, so that the peace worker is aware of the side. The outer peaces, even more than the inner ones, are never staresonances that vibrate through the layers and can create a resonant ble, because life happens while we are making other plans. Peaces, in space for the conflict parties. This kind of coherence informs my all of their forms, inner peaces in particular, are not to be found in ability to create an inner structure free from fear and thus enables the absence of conflict, but in our abilities to transform conflictive openness and change. It is an inner structure that allows me to stay energies. rooted and grounded within myself, so that nothing that shakes me blog: www.peacepregnancy.com from the outside can bring me to fall. A structure that I can rely on, because I am aware of my Self, and I trust myself to an extent that I do not abandon this inner structure. CHRISTINA PAULS is living in Northern Germany where How can I cultivate the tools to find strength and grounding in she teaches prenatal Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga. She is currently taking a maternity break from the M.A. Program in Peace myself, yet remain open and vulnerable to the world? How can I let Studies. She also blogs about her pregnancy journey and is vulnerability shine through the masks of my persona, yet have the excited to welcome baby Liam in January 2017. resilience to stand up after deep pain and do what needs to be done Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org in order to move forward? As a Yoga teacher and practitioner, I am familiar with the healing power of embodiment and visualization. The postures (asanas) we Elicitive Peace Workers - 27
© Adam Baird
UNDERSTANDING MASCULINITIES GANG VIOLENCE IN LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN BY ADAM BAIRD
ADAM BAIRD holds a PhD from the Peace Studies Department at the University of Bradford. He is a trained ethnographer with a focus on crime, gang violence, Citizen Security and urban insecurity in Latin America and Caribbean. He has used masculinities as a lens to understand gang membership in Medellín, Colombia, and has also worked across Central America and the Caribbean. His research has been funded by ESRC, OSF, IDRC and SSRC. Adam is an ‘Associated Expert’ to the UNDP Crisis Response Unit for armed violence reduction and Citizen Security, and has worked with the ICRC, Norwegian Red Cross, as well as NGOs and community based organisations. His research has been used to design gang violence intervention projects in Belize. Contact: email@example.com
28 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
ost men are not violent, however men perpetrate a majority of violent acts around the world. In other words, even though the majority of men are not violent, we are clearly more violent than women. It is a challenging statement and a door-opener to some of the complexities and tensions I have faced when trying pindown the causality of men’s violence. I have been studying young men in gangs in Latin America and Caribbean, mainly in the poor neighborhoods of Medellín, Colombia, for the better part of a decade. I have sat down and talked to lots of gang members, some whom had left gangs, and even their girlfriends and mothers. I have also spoken to young men who didn’t join gangs that came from the very same neighbourhoods and conditions of poverty. Is it possible to trace their trajectories to male adulthood and the processes of socialisation that led some into the gang whist not others? Yes, I think it is. Is it possible to draw up a neat list of causal factors to explain these processes? Well, that is a little more difficult, but it is something I will discuss here. First, I will discuss gang violence where masculinities and urban exclusion intersect; second, I will attempt to add some texture to barrio masculinities; third, I will ask why some young men join the gang and become violent; and finally, I will try and answer why majority of young men do not join the gang.
The texture of barrio masculinities
Being strong, bringing home money, being a protector, having power, being respected, being a womaniser, a chauvinist, macho, brash. Sammy
Gang violence at the intersection of masculinities and urban exclusion The homicide rate in Latin America and Caribbean is the highest in the world. Geographically, this violence concentrates in the poor barrios, or neighbourhoods of the region’s cities. The youth gangs found at the urban margins are paradigmatic of this violence, and so ubiquitous that they have even been perceived as a collective movement and in revolutionary terms (Baird & Rodgers 2015; Beall et al. 2013). Neither gangs nor violence show signs abating in Latin America, propelling the ‘gang issue’ up the political pecking order, where they feature heavily in populist rhetoric and sensationalist media reports, and recently have even been labelled as ‘terrorists’ (Wolf 2015). Whilst conditions of socio-economic exclusion have been associated with gang prevalence, gang formation itself cannot be ascribed to a single nor determinant factor, but rather to a range of correlational but not clearly identified causal factors such as; organised crime, drug trafficking, the proliferation of firearms, weak governance and rapid urbanisation. Some contend that the strongest correlates of gang membership occur at a subjective level, including exposure to domestic and community violence, delinquency and drugs (Higginson et al. 2015: 6). However, precise accounts of gang formation should be critically appraised as they can emerge in a variety of ways and circumstances. Despite the caveats posed by gang complexity, there is a remarkable consistency to gang demography across the region: poor young men overwhelming make up gang membership. Even a cursory inspection shows that the ‘poor, male, youth’ profile remains robust outside of Latin America. Although masculinities alone cannot account for gang membership, it is clear that processes of male socialisation are central to understanding why gangs persist. However, empirically grounded research into ‘gang masculinities’ in the region is rare.
Masculinities are multifaceted and situationally mutable. Men are not permanently committed to one particular pattern of masculinity. It would be an exhausting project for even the most hegemonic man to perform the tough-guy routine all of the time. For example, in Mexico and Central America a man may perpetrate street violence but caringly look after his children in private and public (Gutmann 1996; Lancaster 1992). I myself have interviewed gang members who appeared to be caring fathers, sons and brothers, but who also intimidated, robbed and murdered on the streets. Likewise, even the most progressive male youths I spoke to in Medellín’s poor neighbourhoods showed a flicker of macho behaviour, especially when talking with or about women. This indicates that the micro-level practices and textures of barrio masculinity can be confounding and contradictory. It is important not to idly reproduce male stereotypes, impose narratives or as Alves (2009) suggests, ‘make’ masculinity from the outside, but we must be unambiguous in our critique of patriarchy. There is no singular pan-regional hegemonic masculinity, it is clear that machismo is the widespread and principle form of sexism, misogyny and patriarchy in Latin America (Gutmann 2003; Valenzuela Arce 2010). Theidon reflects upon such conundrums whilst researching demobilising combatants in Colombia: “militarised masculinity [is a] fusion of certain practices and images of maleness with the use of weapons, the exercise of violence, and the performance of an aggressive and frequently misogynist masculinity. While I do not deny the diversity that exists within the group of former combatants with whom I work, neither can I deny the hegemonic masculinity these men have in common” (Theidon 2007: 5). The tension between the diversities and hegemonies of masculinity adds complexity to gang membership. However, it also adds explanatory power: the cultural repertoire of machismo at a macro level is interconnected with local gendered orders in Medellín, which informs the strategies boys and men use to negotiate the masculine terrains of their everyday lives. Boys’ and men’s expression of masculinity is situationally specific, as such we can speak of a barrio masculinity, but one that remains connected to broader societal norms. The gang is a conduit for social relations, and a gendered way for disenfranchised youths to inhabit the city, which is why it is vital to understand violence at the intersection between class and masculinity. Becoming violent: A masculine logic of gang membership A short explanation The conspicuous consumption and riches of gangsta glamour standout as preferential pathways to manhood against the backdrop of exclusion in poor neighbourhoods across Latin American and Caribbean. Therefore, the sensible question to ask would be, why wouldn’t you join a gang in those conditions? I often try to put myself in the shoes of the young men I spoke to, what would I do in their position at the age of 14 or 15, would I join the gang too? What I am suggesting is that there is a logic to the ganging process when the conditions are right. Young men strategically negotiate a social world of violence and exclusion in search of desired Peace Thinkers - 29
outcomes, and when doing so the gang often appears to be a good opportunity or their ‘first way out’ of poverty, as Pepe, a youth who worked at a community-based organisation in Medellín explained: It’s easier to join gangs because there’s economic motivation. I think that when a boy has difficulties at home [they] run out of ideas and think ‘what am I going to do?’ An opportunity [to join a gang] seems like a good one in that situation, the first way out, their first option (11/04/2008). To be a ‘respected man’ in these settings, as described by one youth, is closely associated with hegemonic masculinities: “being strong, bringing home money, being a protector, having power, being respected, being a womaniser, a chauvinist, macho, brash (sic)”(Sammy, 03/06/2008). The gang emerges as a localised contestation of emasculation, a way of protecting their dignity, the last refuge of the poor. Young men ‘instrumentalise’ gangs to contest emasculation I always asked gang members the question ‘why did you join the gang?’ What stood out from their responses was the pragmatic use of the gang as a reputational and asset accumulating project. The prospect of being poor and unemployed often evoked a deep fear of being looked down upon by the community, as one gang member said “You’ve got to be able to support the family, your kid an’ all that. You need to have a job in a business or something like that so the community doesn’t see you like a tramp, an undesirable who does nothin’, that’s shit. It would be cool to have a good job” (El Peludo, 03/04/2008). For many young men, the status and asset accumulation through the gang had a dual purpose; it was ‘instrumentalised’ by to contest indignity and emasculation, but it also served as an outlet for youthful ambition, a way for boys to become a ‘successful’ adult. Gangs are often perceived by the young men who enter them as sites of opportunity, which outweighed the risks of joining. Gangs can be outlets for ambition, empowering and socially cohesive for their members, spaces where disenfranchised youths can ‘subversively recodify’ any feelings of emasculation (Foucault, 2000: 122-123)1. Joining the gang should not be understood as aberrant or maverick, but rather as a logical use of agency for excluded boys in settings that restrict legal masculinisation opportunities. Here I will add a note of caution. Whilst we should be critical of the conditions that give rise to gangs, we should also be weary of idealising them as an emancipatory project given the negative impact of violence and crime upon populations living in the poorest neighbourhoods, and their capacity to reproduce and entrench local gender orders and patriarchy as a whole.
All photos: © Adam Baird
Aspiration and masculine capital: ‘In the end there’s nothing like being in a gang’ Duros (lit. tough guys), the feared / respected and somewhat mythical gang leaders, are potent symbols of this masculinity Pepe: Imagine a kid who goes hungry at home and they see the local duro who’s got a motorbike, designer shoes, girls, expensive clothes, re30 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
spect, recognition, power. So of course the young kids round here say ‘wow, this is the ticket!’ (11/04/2008). It is unsurprising then that almost everyone I spoke to in Medellín’s barrios could name the local duro, but their notoriety or ‘fame’ depends upon the accumulation and display of girls, guns, clothes, respect, et cetera, which I term masculine capital. The gang is the stand out supplier this capital and hence a local standard bearer of masculinity, which makes them attractive sites of male status-building for boys. I believe that gangs also occupy significant ontological ground in defining barrio masculinity for male youths, which was often reflected in their narratives: “The gang is famous and that inflates your ego. In the end there’s nothing like being in a gang, and then we’ve got girls on our motorbikes ‘with the pussy on the back’ as the saying goes” (Havana 12/06/2008). One gang member demonstrated how the gang inflated his esteem by saying rather poetically “from up here [on the drugs corner overlooking the city] we’re just like the bourgeoisie” (El Peludo 03/04/2008). Getting the girl I recognise that gang members relationships with their girlfriends and partners are complex (Baird 2015), but here I want to look at them from the perspective of youths joining the gang. Almost all of the gang members I spoke to talked about ‘getting the girl’, which required making a name for themselves in the gang. On nights out in the city I witnessed gangs attracting noticeable numbers of girls and young women who would become their mosas (from hermosas, beautiful), their weekend girlfriends (the reasons for which we can debate). The hetero-normative triumph of ‘getting the girl’ was a key masculine capital and extremely powerful in displaying masculine success for these young men.
territorial control for retail drugs sales, racketeering and extortion, what Glebeek and Koonings call the ‘micro-monopolies’ of the street (2015: 4). Controlling drug corners requires the use of violence against rival gang encroachment, whilst extortion requires the systematic intimidation of the local population. This external use of violence is reflected within the internal machinations of the gang, as one twelve year old gang member explained; the duro reaches his position of gang leadership by being el más malo, the ‘badest’, capable of publically displayed and often spectacular violence. This means eschewing any traces femininity or non-hegemonic masculinity such as being a loquita, a pussy. But a duro is not a simple thug, they must be dextrous enough to avoid arrest, being killed, and demonstrate good management of gang finances by keeping the money rolling in for the troops (Junior Carrito, 19/06/2008). The creation of duro ‘badness’ is a process of identity formation and becoming, which promotes the “strategic essentialisation” of masculinity (after Garot 2015: 158). Being a duro is a process carried out within the gang that reflects soldiering, where the capacity for violence is a rite of passage and a definitive assertion of male adulthood. Semiotically, the gun represents ‘badness’ and the capacity for violence “Where picking up a gun for the first time gives you power”, implies “putting on the big trousers”, and “feels like sitting on a throne” (El Peludo 03/04/2008; Notes, 16/07/2008; Rasta, 12/11/11). The mutually reinforcing relationship between gang violence and hegemonic masculinity is an interesting point to explore. Socialisation into the gang
The view that socialisation processes are central to gang formation is empirically supported (Atkinson-Sheppard, 2015; Gayle & Mortis, 2010; Rodgers & Baird, 2015). That said, this is far from a straightforward process. The causality of gang membership is notoriously slippery, there are no cut-and-dry determinants to gang memberYeah, well [I joined the gang] for a lot of reasons. I was looking ship to explain why some youth socialise into, or conversely, away for easy money, for luxuries, women. Women today are only in- from gangs. Of the gang members I interviewed in Medellín, some terested in material things, to be displayed notable agency when joinwith a duro to feel like they’re ing the gang, albeit with diverse moLittle is understood with someone with power. Gang tivations. At times they were driven by members go for the young girls ambition, and at others by desperation in Latin America about why so many who want to go to parties (Arisconnected to poverty or challenggirls and young women are tizabal 15/07/2008). ing family environments. Yet others seemingly attracted to gang showed little agency, going with the We should be cautious not to flow of peer groups and unwittingly members when the risks of sexual blame vulnerable young women ending up in gangs. “When we joined abuse and rape are widespread, nor for gang membership, but there is we were just kids, stealing a few things how this might contribute to clearly a need to grasp the dynamnow and then, we weren’t an armed ics of their interactions with gang group nor nothin’, but from one mocycles of gang membership members better. Little is underment to the next we turned into a gang” and gang culture. stood in Latin America about why (El Loco 03/06/2008). Some felt swept so many girls and young women into gangs by the sheer omnipresence are seemingly attracted to gang members when the risks of sexual of violence and conflict in their neighbourhoods, where they had abuse and rape are widespread, nor how this might contribute to “encountered death many times. Just by living in this neighbourcycles of gang membership and gang culture. hood you’re part of the war” (Ceferino 05/11/11). This often made it difficult for them to clearly explain why they had joined the gang, How gang violence shapes male identity and as one gang member suggested, even the “best kids who’ve got everything at home and have other opportunities” can end up in the The modus operandi of youth gangs in Medellín revolves around gang (Armando 18/06/2008). Peace Thinkers - 31
It is clear that aspects of socialisation are pivotal to entry into the gang. 35 out of 40 gang members interviewed referred explicitly to the importance of friends, family and street contacts in this process, often entering the gang incrementally “getting sucked in little by little” as “the energy of the other person begins to stick to you” (Jesus, 15/07/2008; Tino, 20/11/11), rather than as a single-step process from outsider to insider. Tellingly, none of the gang members interviewed joined a gang outside of their local community confirming the notion of the ‘organic’ gang. Street socialisation is integral to gang reproduction, constituted through life-long friends, contemporaries and family in the host neighbourhood. Staying out of the gang Gang-work: A job for ‘real’ men
They were also mothers, sisters and wives, but gangs’ interactions with girls and women were most visible in social spaces such as the abovementioned mosas or short-term girlfriends.
The Medellín gang is predominantly a homosocial ‘enactment’ (Kimmel, 2004), a space of male socialisation and hetero-normativity, a site of essentialised hegemonic male performance. Non-conformitive identities such as homosexuality, femininities and women are broadly excluded “because of the chauvinist gang culture, men won’t let them in” (Jose 20/07/2008). It was telling that across the eight-year span of my fieldwork I did not encounter one (openly) homosexual male, girl or woman who was a ‘core member’ of a gang; by that I mean they did not take part in gang violence systematically nor did they have significant control over the gang’s economic activities. ‘Gang-work’ related to money and violence was definitively ‘men’s work’, controlled by male gang members and duros but never a dura, demonstrating the predominance of male homo-socialisation in gangland violence. More women are found in gangs like the maras in Central American but this was not the case in Medellín. I am not suggesting that gangs never engage with girls and women, far from it. Within the gang their roles were also gendered, tending to be more ‘administrative’ such as transporting drugs, money, arms, and munitions around communities, football stadiums or in and out of jails, or working as informants or collectors of extortion monies. (Although Riaño-Alcalá did find evidence for violent women in Medellín’s poor neighbourhoods ). They were also mothers, sisters and wives, but gangs’ interactions with girls and women were most visible in social spaces such as the abovementioned mosas or short-term girlfriends. However, studies of ‘girls and gangs’ are thin on the ground, and we should be cautious not to reproduce facile stereotypes of women as non-agentic victims. Why don’t more boys join the gang if there is so much masculine capital to be had?
All photos: © Adam Baird
There has been significant scholarly effort to understand violence as a necessarily reproductive and even epidemiological phenomenon, however, violence is complex and not necessarily self-perpetuating. Counter-intuitively, violence can be interruptive as well as reproductive. The majority young men in Medellín’s poor barrios do not actually join gangs2, and the question is still open as to what percentage of those within a gang are ‘core members’ and systematically violent. The question of why most poor youths do not join gangs or why violence is not more reproductive is often overlooked by gang research32 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
ers. These are important questions Gary Barker asked over a decade ago (2005). I would posit, many of the answers we are looking for in terms of reducing gang violence actually lie with the under-studied majority of non-gang and non-violent youth. We may even find some answers if we research why some gang members are not violent whilst others are? Certainly we should ask, if the gang is such a compelling site for manhood in these contexts why do the majority of youths not join up? Allow me put some ideas forward: There is always a range of competing pathways to male adulthood and many youths I interviewed, gang members and nongang members alike, also respected men who earned money legally. The gang clearly stands out as an option, or even the ‘best option’ for many boys, but it will always be a minority employer amidst a multitude of pathways to manhood in these communities. The non-gang youths I spoke to gave a number of explanations for not joining gangs, which included; positive influences at home, in school, at church or in other communal spaces such as youth organisations. These acted as buffers to gang entry by fostering a moral rejection of the gang and helping them to socialise away from gang circles. As a whole non-gang youths’ personality traits were broadly hetero-normative, but they were less likely to fit into the essentialised hegemonic gang frame. A number of these young men were self-confessed ‘geeks’ or ‘swots’, some were particularly religious, others had been rigorously disciplined at home and were teased as ‘mummies boys’. Two were homosexual. It seems intuitive then that some boys and young men will be ‘put off ’ by the macho performance and dangers of gang-life that others perceive as attractive masculine capital. One youth explained that he did not seek revenge murder of his friend by a gang because “I’ve never had the mettle for that stuff, I mean, I’ve never been capable of responding violently to anyone. I’m not the type to try and put one over on anyone” (Pelicorto 10/06/2008). Ergo, the spectre of gang related violence including death, incarceration, injury, trauma, and macho performance itself, actually prevent many youths from joining.
1 Foucault talks of the ‘subversive recodification’ of power relations as a micro-level subjective process. 2 In a survey I conducted in a local school, 6 out of 43 male youths (17%) with an average age 17 self-identified as gang members. Locals estimated that 5-10% of the male youth population were gang members, another 2013 study identified 11.3% ‘aggressors’.
References Alves, J.A., 2009. Narratives of Violence: The White ImagiNation and the Making of Black Masculinity in City of God. Sociedade e cultura, 12(2), pp.301–310. Atkinson-Sheppard, S., 2015. The gangs of Bangladesh: Exploring organized crime, street gangs and “illicit child labourers” in Dhaka. Criminology and Criminal Justice. Available at: http://crj.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/11/18/1748895815616445.abstract. Baird, A., 2015. Duros & Gangland Girlfriends: Male Identity and Gang Socialisation in Medellín. In J. Auyero, P. Bourgois, & N. Scheper-Hughes, eds. Violence at the Urban Margins in the Americas. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Baird, A. & Rodgers, D., 2015. Are Latin American gangs the new revolutionaries? ResearchGate.net. Barker, G., 2005. Dying To Be Men: Youth, masculinity and social exclusion, London: Routledge. Beall, J., Goodfellow, T. & Rodgers, D., 2013. Cities and conflict in fragile states in the developing world. Urban Studies, 50(15), pp.3065–3083. Garot, R., 2015. Gang-banging as edgework. Dialectical Anthropology, 39(2), pp.151–163. Available at: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10624-015-9374-5 [Accessed October 21, 2015]. Gayle, H. & Mortis, N., 2010. Male Social Participation and Violence in Urban Belize: An Examination of Their Experience with Goals, Guns, Gangs, Gender, God, and Governance, Belize City: Ministry of Education. Glebbeek, M.-L. & Koonings, K., 2015. Between Morro and Asfalto. Violence, insecurity and socio-spatial segregation in Latin American cities. Habitat International. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S0197397515001691 [Accessed November 24, 2015]. Gutmann, M.C., 2003. Changing men and masculinities in Latin America, Durham: Duke University Press. Gutmann, M.C., 1996. The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City, Berkeley: University of California Press. Higginson, A. et al., 2015. Preventive Interventions to Reduce Youth Involvement in Gangs and Gang Crime in Low- and Middle-income Countries: A Systematic Review, Lancaster, R., 1992. Life is Hard: Machismo, Danger and the Intimacy of Power in Nicaragua, Berkeley: University of California Press. Riaño-Alcalá, P., 2006. Dwellers of Memory: Youth and Violence in Medellín, Colombia, New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. Rodgers, D. & Baird, A., 2015. Understanding Gangs in Contemporary Latin America. In S. H. Decker & D. C. Pyrooz, eds. The Handbook of Gangs. New York: Wiley. Theidon, K., 2007. Transitional Subjects: The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Former Combatants in Colombia. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 1 (1 ), pp.66–90. Available at: http://ijtj.oxfordjournals.org/ content/1/1/66.abstract. Valenzuela Arce, J.M., 2010. Jefe de jefes. Corridos y narcocultura en Mexico, Mexico City: Colegio de la Frontera. Available at: http://www.amazon.com/jefes-Corridos-narcocultura-Spanish-Edition/dp/6074790345 [Accessed October 20, 2015]. Wolf, S., 2015. ¿Hay terroristas en El Salvador?”. Distintas Latitudes. Available at: http://www.distintaslatitudes.net/hay-terroristas-en-el-salvador [Accessed October 16, 2015].
Peace Thinkers - 33
FEMINIST MEDIATION IN SOUTH-SUDAN AN INTERVIEW WITH DR. ANNETTE WEBER, AN FEMINIST PEACE AND CONFLICT STUDIES SCHOLAR INTERVIEWED BY MAYME LEFURGEY
ANNETTE WEBER is senior associate in the Middle East and Africa Research Division of the German Institute for International and Security Studies (SWP) in Berlin. Her regional expertise is in the Horn of Africa, she works on conflict analysis, fragile states, non-state-actors and state building as well as Jihadist groups in Africa. Her current focus is mainly on the situation in Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia. She is involved in the mediation effort of the national Dialogue between government and armed and unarmed opposition in Sudan. Dr. Weber had a two year residency in Ethiopia 2010-2012 with in depth research in the Horn of Africa. She writes extensively and advises the Bundestag and the German administration on these issues. Previously she worked as a coordinator for the Ecumenical Network on Central Africa mainly on the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Annette Weber was researcher with amnesty international in London for Sudan and worked as a consultant for Human Rights Watch and amnesty international on Sudan and Uganda. She received her PhD from the Free University Berlin and teaches at several Universities on international relations and peace and conflict resolution.
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First, can you tell us a bit about what type of feminist-focused work you are currently involved in â€“ through teaching, research and other projects? ANNETTE WEBER: The one thing I would like to start with is that, very unfortunately, the biggest meditation work I am currently involved in is the opposite of a feminist mediation. The last two years there was not a single woman or a single gender-framed question in the mediation I am involved in South Sudan. The mediation between the armed resistance and the government side in Sudan is an example that really demonstrates the absence of any feminist approach or any gender-based approach under UN resolution 1325. There are no women involved in the peace negotiations at all. On the other hand, what we are planning to do right now is set up a national dialogue in South Sudan, after the outbreak of the last war, and the focus will be much more on bringing women into the negotiations and ensuring a gendered focus. It is so important to not only bring women to the table and to learn from their experiences, but to also to have a variety of experiences of women represented; not just to see them as the guarantors of peace but to also understand that they are also drivers of war. Women are also mobilizers of conflict in very big ways and they therefore also have to come in when we talk about a transformation from violence to non-violence. They cannot just be taken as the peaceful ground that we can plant our seeds in, where then peace will blossom. It is important to understand that women also have not only violent ideas but that they also use violence in their frustrations in the war situation in general. These two different approaches are quite important and I hope for South Sudanâ€˜s national dialogue, that is not yet started, that this focus will be much more taken care of. So that is from the more practical or practition-
er‘s side of what I have been working on. In terms of research, last year was the last time I was teaching in Innsbruck and I am not quite sure about the next couple of years but I would like to start a research project, maybe next year, that should have much more of a feminist peace work focus, but that is not yet fully clear. The last review I did that I had a lot of fun with was on feminist approach on the Hollywood side of 9/11 and I think that it was not only super interesting in general, but very interesting for me as a conflict researcher to see the small implications, in lets say movies for example, when they are depicting post 9/11 topics. We can see in these examples how deeply ingrained issues or strata of racism or genderism are and how much they are also describing and creating our post 9/11 understandings. For example, our understanding of who is a terrorist, what is the motivation for this or that, who do we need to be afraid of, the othering— all of this. I think that this was one of the more fun but also intellectually very important things that I have been involved with recently. Lastly, for the 60th Anniversary for Wolfgang Dietrich, I am planning to write a part on feminist transrational peaces – this is what will come next. Can you explain what you mean by, “feminist peace and conflict theory” and what exactly this can look like when being applied by peace workers and scholars in this field? I think it is a bit of what I talked about in the beginning. Bringing women in to share their experiences in a conflict or post-conflict society is definitely something that is not only necessary but super essential if we are talking about a really transformative approach. This also requires an understanding that we should not fall into the trap of gendering the roles men and women play during a war. For example, seeing men as perpetrators and combatants and women as those mourning the death, bringing life and taking care of peace only is limiting. We must understand the various formations of violence and how they are also carried out by women. For example, women are sending their sons into the war by telling their sons that they can only be their sons, or their men, by protecting them or by fighting the other side. I think we are not very well prepared or equipped for all of these different positions and perspectives when we engage in peace mediation.
Women are also mobilizers of conflict in very big ways and they therefore also have to come in when we talk about a transformation from violence to non-violence. They cannot just be taken as the peaceful ground that we can plant seeds of peace in, where then peace will blossom.
It is very easy to see, for example, who are the main leaders for armed resistance or for armed oppositions or groups, collect those with the most arms and then from the counterpart we have the leaders from the government side. But really, who is driving the war, and who is necessary to transform it on a long-term scale? How do we create understanding that a civilian life is not only a loss but can be a gain? I think these issues are not very well performed by many of us. Also, they are not well performed because the focus is not really there. We focus on those carrying the guns, and those with some kind of formal legitimacy. Yet, from a feminist understanding of peace and conflict practice, and also teaching, it is important to go through all these different strata and look not only to who is there, not only to who doesn’t have a voice, but to who has one but that we don’t hear because it is not seen as important or influential because we don‘t want to see it. We don‘t want to see mothers as violent in a war, we want to see them as something positive that can bring peace. We need to invest much more time with people on the ground but we also need much more research; we need to collect more knowledge about these different roles people in their gendered positions play during wars. That is my understanding of the theory. When you start thinking about it, it is becoming much more clear but because the roles are so clearly defined for participants and most mediations tend to be limited because the understanding is that the less people you have at the table, the quicker decisions can be made; but I think that we need to look at it more intently. For example, in Colombia, it is a very huge example of where we cannot just disqualify the frustrations, anger, fear and miscommunications that keep people either from going to vote or from doing what seems to be rational like opting for peace. It is, in many ways, rational for people to say no, we are not ready for peace. What does it mean for mediation but also what does it mean for a feminist approach? Are we overlooking civilians? Are we overlooking societies because we assume that we should be striving for peace because that’s what we consider to be the norm? There is the illusion that everyone will win in peace, but no, that is not true. I think that then, a feminist approach is not so different from any other approach to a more informed peace and conflict approach. For me, it is a specific view about what are the gender roles and also when we say women Many Peaces Interviews - 35
can also play violent roles, this goes vice versa. Do we really look into the frustration of young men who don’t want to become fighters such as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; do they really have a chance to survive? In South Sudan for example, during the last outbreak in 2013, a lot of young women would go around in the village and say if you are not joining the fight then you will never be married- we cannot marry you. What do you do if you are a young man and don‘t feel like fighting is the right option? There are social options but also what is acknowledged from the mediation level and what is acknowledged on a state level as well? These are important questions to consider. Your article, “Women Without Arms: Gendered Fighter Constructions in Eritrea and Southern Sudan” details some of the challenges women have in gaining access to fighter status in conflicts. What are some of the implications of this? More specifically, what are the implications of this for peacebuilding, reconciliation and conflict transformation? I think with these two examples, unfortunately you can still see it very clearly in the two countries. In South Sudan, women are not really allowed to gain full fighter status but you do have a small number of women in the formal forces right now, in the SPLA (Sudan People‘s Liberation Army), who were trained and mobilized in the early 90s when the war started. They were even given ranks but were not really allowed to continue to take part in battles anymore. Many of the male combatants argued, saying that if women were being given the ranks and the same expertise and same emotional and practical experiences as men, then there are no differences between them any longer. There is one quote that I used in the article; „we cannot allow women to see us crying in battle, because we cannot allow them to see us as weak.“ For this reason, then women could not get their fighter status. Now, if you look into societies that come from a very long war legacy, like in Eritrea, Ethiopia or South Sudan, even if there is a successful transformation from a militia or military movement to a government, the identity that the first citizen status is based on is still the identity of the former combatants. So the dominant identity is still one who fought for liberation and for independence. They are not only the heroes, the epitome of 36 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
Seeing men as perpetrators and combatants and women as those mourning the death, bringing life and taking care of peace only is limiting. We must understand the various formations of violence and how they are also carried out by women.
their identity—these are the people with the right for full citizen status, meaning they should be given important and influential positions in government and should be high up in decision-making levels. If, for example, by gender, it is impossible for you to gain this status because you have not been allowed to become a combatant then this has different implications for the post-conflict situations that we see such as in South Sudan where the negotiations have been ones where women do have any say. They were referring to women as being the ones who carried the men through, who fed them, who were their mothers etc. Women then were not part of the political set up or part of the new leadership in shaping new government structures. In a slightly different way, in Eritrea, we saw a representation of 40% female fighters and women in very high ranks. The situation was definitely that women were absolutely and clearly on the same identity level as men. They were also fighters, former combatants and had liberated the country and were applying for and gaining higher positions within the government. This partially happened in the really high up hierarchies. What happened also, was a very quick and quite brutal demobilization of female combatants and a huge push for them to reintegrate back into society and basically a complete failure for them to reintegrate. Men wanted to marry ‘normal’ women; they didn‘t want to live together with former fighters anymore so the divorce rate was huge. The former fighters who had to transit back into very small village communities found it very hard because they were not seen as civil women or docile or whatever the requirements were and what they were standing for was not considered gender appropriate. So here we had a very different situation from in South Sudan, with a lot of women who were a part of the fighting system but who didn‘t manage to transform that last part— the transformation into civilian status or government. I think this is where the gender aspect was and is very severe. I have given two different examples but we see very similar consequences for the women involved. It still is of course a huge difference because in Eritrea, former fighter women, although many of them are very frustrated, do see that they were part of the liberation. They do see that they gave something to their country and that gives them of course a different self-positioning. However, they are not part of families in many ways and
they don’t get a lot of money from the government and are often impoverished. What do you think are some of the central feminist concerns in the field of peace and conflict studies today? From your perspective, what gains do you think have been made and what issues do you think are currently needing the most attention? Of course there are gains, as we grow older it cannot just be all for nothing and I think this is why we always find gains. But I think, in looking back, there is more backlash than gains, to be honest. Yes, you see more influential women but I wouldn‘t say that there is a huge transformation in society in terms of gender roles. I think this is obviously not something that progress gives you and then you continue— I think it seems to be a battle that is coming back on and on. Just if you look at the number of girls that are graduating from school, from high schools and universities and then you look at who is employed and at what level, I don‘t think I have to say more to say that. No we haven‘t reached a question of equality where we could then start to engage in serious business and in serious discussion. I think we still are very much caught up in the bringing women in and making their voices heard. It takes a lot of courage to do that which of course is absurd because basically all peace and conflict transformation studies and practitioners would always say, of course, the voices of women are extremely important and need to be included to have peace. Yet, the reality is that to bring them in you still have the same obstacles as you have for higher leadership because it is still considered less practical, they don’t have gender setting experience and most women you bring in are from a civil-society background and are not organized, because they do not have time to be organized in a political way so again there it is not so different to the 60‘s. Then they take more time because they have no formal training in formal speaking and they don’t have the expertise in coalition-making and building alliances, so basically their voices come in but they don‘t build a powerful position. I think this is where we are still lacking and where we need to take way more attention and way more care because it is not enough to just say, oh yes lets bring in two female voices. You have to look into the structural violence and specifically, in war situations, ask
I think that the struggle will continue for much longer and that the question is really the attention we give. The attention to details; the attention to why are we losing so many voices. It is not only a question of why don’t we hear them but why doesn’t it even occur to us that they are not there?
who is really training who, who is trained to have a political strategy and who isn‘t. It is important to consider all of these issues and I think we still have a long way to go. Again because, you can now say okay lets so a workshop here and there on Resolution 1325 and then we have an equal footing-- no of course we don‘t, that takes much more. I think that the struggle will continue for much longer and that the question is really the attention we give. The attention to details; the attention to why are we loosing so many voices. It is not only a question of why don‘t we hear them but why doesn‘t it even occur to us that they are not there? Why does it work so easily that, for example, given the Sudan example, that we have a two-year meditation with the African Union and not a single woman is present? Why is it that women are simply talked on behalf of and that doesn‘t seem to be an issue? There needs to be more attention paid to this. Do you have any words of advice for students and young peace scholars/practitioners working at the intersections of peace and conflict work/studies and feminism/gender studies/work? I think really the two things I would advise on are not to assume that gender lines are so clear and that we must really look into the spectrum and not assume that all men are the same or all women are the same. We must not assume that all men are violent and all women are peaceful. I think that is one of my biggest pieces of advice. It is important to look deeper and to try to understand the spectrum and understand the society where the violence is ingrained or incorporated. The second bit of advice I have is – and I don‘t know if it’s a question of bravery – but, I think my advice is to take more space and be more out there. Don‘t wait for people to invite you to the table, specifically for feminist scholars of peace and conflict and young people in this field. I think we shouldn‘t loose too much time in listening only but get your voices heard as well. MAYME LEFURGEY is a Ph.D. Candidate at The University of Western Ontario and currently lives in New Brunswick, Canada. She is pursuing a collaborative degree in Women’s Studies & Feminist Research and Transitional Justice & Post-Conflict Reconstruction. Her dissertation explores yoga as a method of elicitive peacebuilding, specifically looking at community rehabilitation and conflict transformation efforts in post-conflict settings. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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A FEMINIST APPROACH TO KNOWLEDGE INTERVIEW WITH DR. JENNY PEARCE, A PROFESSOR OF LATIN AMERICAN POLITICS AT THE LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN CENTRE OF THE LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS INTERVIEWED BY MAYME LEFURGEY
JENNY PEARCE is Professor of Latin American Politics at the Latin America and Caribbean Centre of the London School of Economics. Prior to that she was Professor of Latin American Politics in Peace Studies, Bradford University, where she worked from 1991 to 2016. There she also set up the International Centre for Participation Studies. Jenny works on violence, social change, agency and participation, particularly in Latin America but also in the North of England.
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First, can you tell us a bit about what type of feminist-focused work you are currently involved in – through teaching, research and other projects? JENNY PEARCE: I think it is important first of all to clarify what feminist-focused work consists of. I prefer to speak from the perspective of a feminist epistemology. I think that there is a feminist approach to knowledge that underpins feminist-focussed work. Thus a feminist epistemology or a feminist way of knowing goes far beyond a ‘gender lens’. Nor are we talking about a ‘feminine’ approach to knowledge. Rather it asks how does gender influence our conceptualisations of knowledge and why some knowledges have epistemic authority and others don’t? Such a perspective also asks us how do we conduct research and verify findings? This is why a lot of my work involves co-producing knowledge and interactive rather than extractive research. The aim is to find ways in which those who provide academics with our knowledge learn also from their collaboration, rather than knowledge be produced exclusively for academic peer groups in hard to access journals. A feminist epistemology also makes us think about how far dominant understandings of what constitutes knowledge disadvantages women and other marginal groups. For instance, certain themes and issues are excluded from discussion, certain ways of conducting research assumed to be the only ones acceptable. I would argue, for instance, that the fact that rape in war only entered the imagination and knowledge systems of the world when the mass rape of Bosnian women occurred in the early 1990s, despite evidence that rape in war has been commonplace throughout history, was due at least partly to the recognition of the problematic and amplification of its significance by feminist scholarship. It is often hard to convince positivist social scientists, that research in which the researcher is not
totally detached from the ‘object’ of research is also rigorous and scientific. However, the recognition of an issue such as rape in war, requires capacity to ask questions and see problems that often only arise from subjective experience and reflection. The argument of the positivists also assumes, of course, that it is ever possible for social scientists to shed their subjectivity. A feminist epistemology would ask the social scientist to reflect on his and her subjectivity, and ask to what extent is it influencing the way he or she constructs the social realities under analysis and the questions posed in research?. A feminist epistemology experiments with research methods which question the relationship between ‘researcher’ and ‘researched’. It questions power relationships of all kinds and, I would argue, enables us to ask, who is the research for? It is a feminist epistemology that has enabled me to travel from a background in political science (a discipline quite dominated by what could arguably be termed a ‘masculinist epistemology’ to anthropology. Anthropology gave me methods for exploring politics which political science with an emphasis on quantitative methods and elite interviews, lacks. A feminist epistemology enabled me to justify such methods in scientific terms. I describe myself as a political scientist who works as an anthropologist, and notably as an anthropologist of peace. These are all ideas that have guided my approach to teaching and research. I take my feminist epistemological framework to mean that I am looking beyond the impact on women of particular structures, actions, events etc. I also look at the impact of but also on men and understandings of masculinity in any approach to a research question. It is not about ‘adding women’ into research. It involves a more profound exploration of power relations and contingent possibilities. Broadly my work is composed of two overarching themes: ‘violence’ and ‘participation’. Firstly, I am concerned with how violence impacts on the possibility of taking part in social, economic and political life and whether a ‘violence free politics’ is imaginable and possible. Secondly, I am interested in what makes participation democratic and capable of transforming the conditions for participation itself. Amongst those conditions are the social understandings and meanings attached to gender identity. These impact on both violence (roughly two thirds of homicides are committed by young men 15 to 44 on young men 15 to 44)
Violence has a deep impact in many ways on how women can gain agency to shape and reshape the world.
and on participation (the ongoing domination of political life by men). While male on male violence might account for the majority of homicides, women are deeply impacted by other forms of violence, most of which are committed by men. Increasingly, the phenomenon of feminicide is being recognized also, notably in Latin America, which involves the killing of women because of their gender. Violence has a deep impact in many ways on how women can gain agency to shape and reshape the world. There is nothing ‘essentialist’ about this approach to knowledge and research. A feminist epistemology recognizes the multiple constructions around the feminine and the masculine. That these categories are outcomes of other intersecting identities around race, class and sexuality. A feminist epistemology recognizes the significance of these varied constructions. So, I bring this orienting framework to work on violence and security in Latin America, for instance. The methodologies I have
worked with are all based on various participatory processes. In Medellin, Colombia, I have worked with the Observatorio de Seguridad Humana on what we call ‘security from below’. This is a methodology involving co producing knowledge between academics and communities, in which community researchers enable academics to understand the everyday experiences of chronic violence, differentiating experiences of women , children, youth, the LGBT community and displaced people. In Tegucigalpa, Honduras, women in the violence torn colonias, have also used the methodology to gain voice and agency on what kind of security they need and to question the so-called ‘security’ of state agents. At present I am beginning a research project using the methodology in four cities of Mexico. But I also have worked in the North of England, particularly Bradford, on methodologies for co producing knowledge around participation, around the nature of power and we have built a Community University, as an experiment in knowledge exchange. This research has been in the context of a city recovering from the riot of 2001, where mostly Asian lads, provoked by the far right, took on the police, exacerbating tensions in the city. We set up in Peace Studies, a ‘Programme for a Peaceful City’ to work with communities in Bradford around these tensions. Some of this research could be called ‘action research’. However, I also do more traditional research, but I try to give it a steer towards its implications for peace in politics, for instance my research on elites and violence in Latin America, and my current theoretical engagement with the relationship between politics and violence. You have many years experience working in post-accord and post-conflict settings, especially in Central and South America. Could you tell us more about how social change is taking place in Latin America, specifically on grassroots and community levels? Why is the local-level so important and what is the role women are playing? I do very much believe that the capacity for critique and self organizing at the grassroots level in Latin America generates extraordinary insights into the democratic capacities of ordinary people, often without much formal education. My experiences in war settings in Guatemala, El Salvador and Colombia, in particular, have shown the creativity with Many Peaces Interviews - 39
which people in the region respond to suffering and trauma. Their unwillingness often to assume the identity of ‘victimhood’ per se, for instance. How does this translate into sustained social and political change is a very important question. It doesn’t necessarily do so visibly or in a way where one could easily trace a linear process from action to change. However, those of us who have followed Colombia over the decades, would argue that we would not have had a Peace Process in Colombia without the long history of social organizing and struggles for human rights, rights to the land, freedom to organize, the rights of women to be free from violence and many other painful and painstaking efforts to put human dignity on the nation’s agenda. Amongst the many momentous experiences I have had with women, for instance, at the local level, as they have acted to make visible and de-sanction violences, is that with the women of AMOR in the Oriente Antioqueno. They went onto the highway as the army headed to their villages, to declare that they would not allow them to enter those villages and rape women. The work of the Ruta Pacific in the book they fed into the Peace Process on ‘Truth: from the Perspective of Women’ (La Verdad desde las Mujeres), was an exceptional contribution to putting the experiences of women in the Colombian armed conflict on the agenda. They also used a methodology which enabled women traumatised by war and violence, to speak with safety and to recount their trauma to a country which still does not recognize how women are differentially impacted by everyday violences as well as armed conflict. The question of why the local level is so important is a key one. We cannot reify the ‘local’, just as we must not depend on the ‘national’. However, the local refers more often to spatial relationships of intimacy and daily interactions. It is at this level, particularly the community level, where women often express their capacity for agency most actively. Community leaders are often women; they organise and conduct affairs, in my research experience, for the benefit of children, families and neighbours. A feminist epistemology makes this visible, whereas political science mostly focusses on the national level of political exchange and dominating power or the institutional expressions of agency. Womens’ agency is often notably for its informality. Working at the community level reveals the real underbelly and potentiality of self organization, resistance and capabilities that are often not 40 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
recognized as important components of national political life. However, it is also at the community level, that authoritarian impulses gestate also, in conditions of insecurity which penetrate deeply the psychology of everyday sociality. In work I have done in South East Antioquia, Colombia, for instance, I could see how citizens, women and men, can become ‘authoritarian’, deny the rights of others and support non state armed actors who offer ‘security’. This means that we need to be careful about assumptions we bring to the ‘local’. Again, I would argue that a feminist epistemology enables you to explore the contingencies and uncertainties embedded in social action of all kinds. It is possible to critically explore approaches to social action from the margins, visibilizing its creative and participatory dimensions but also the ongoing reproduction of violence and authoritarianism. The feminist movement is one way in which many women have come to see themselves as historical actors, not necessarily directly, but in opening up the roles women might be expected to play. I have seen this process grow over the decades in Latin America. However, I have also seen women’s movements divide and become weaken through their own in-
The feminist movement is one way in which many women have come to see themselves as historical actors, not necessarily directly, but in opening up the roles women might be expected to play.
ternal conflicts. Thus a feminist epistemology of ‘power’ enables us to critically explore the multiple forms in which power can enable and disable activism. I learnt a great deal in this sense from my work with Bradford communities on their understanding of power. While feminists have provided some deconstruction of power and suggested that rather than power ‘over’ we can speak of power ‘with’ and power ‘to’, this has been mostly translated into the idea of ‘empowerment’. A step beyond empowerment would be to ask how do we ‘transform’ power? I worked with a number of community activist groups in Bradford about their understanding of power, and found that the idea of ‘non dominating’ power is very much alive amongst groups that seek to make change at the community level rather than to take power in institutions. The process of finding self esteem plays an important role in this kind of social consciousness which rejects dominating power. Are you able to comment on the ongoing struggle for peace in Colombia and women’s role within these efforts for peace? The peace process in Colombia remains fragile, even though at the time of writing and following the rejection of the Peace Accord in the referendum of 2 October 2016, a renegotiated Peace Accord was agreed on 14 November. Between the two moments, I have been talking to poor women in some of the most insecure neighbourhoods of Medellin about the referendum on peace, and discovered why many could not trust the Peace Accord. There are many reasons, including the relentless propaganda of the right opposition, and experiences of displacement at the hands of the FARC. We also need to explain why the right opposition led by former president Alvaro Uribe, has such a following, notably in Medellin and the department of Antioquia. It is notable nevertheless, that many Colombian women from all ethnic and social backgrounds have participated in Victims’ Movements and played an active role in promoting the peace process and the Accord, and the vote in favour of the Accord was high in many areas which had experienced the most intense levels of armed conflict. The Havana Talks did not start off with female participation. There was only one woman in the FARC negotiating team, the Dutch guerrilla known as Tanya. I think it is a very interesting part of the process in Colombia,
that women gradually made their voice heard. Womens organizations began to pressure the government for some place at the table and to engage in as many civil society spaces as possible where they could feed their experiences and their arguments into the peace negotiations. The National Summit of Women for Peace in October 2013 was an important moment, when around 450 representatives from 30 of Colombia’s 32 departments met in Bogota. They put in three demands, that the parties stay at the table until an agreement was reached, that women be included at the peace table and at every stage of the process and that women’s needs interests and experiences of conflict be taken into account during the Havana talks. Gradually women were appointed onto the government and FARC negotiating teams. By February 2015, over 40% of the FARC team was women. A womens subcomission was appointed to the Havana talks, which brought victims voices to the table including those of the LGBT communities. It has been particularly notable how the issue of sexual violence in war has been put on the agenda in the Peace Talks. That the final Accord emphasised its ‘gender focus’ was one of the big achievements of womens’ activism for peace in Colombia. The extent of the achievement is apparent in the backlash to it from the right and from sectors of the church, particularly but not only, evangelical Christians. They talked of ‘gender ideology’ rather than a ‘gender focus’ and it became one of the prime reasons they put forward for rejecting the Accord as a whole. Thus, there remains much to be done to ensure that the gains made through the Havana negotiations are not lost. Taking the meaning of a gender focus on peace into society is one of the major peacebuilding tasks for Colombia. What do you think are some of the central feminist concerns in the field of peace and conflict studies today? From your perspective, what gains do you think have been made and what issues do you think are currently needing the most attention? There have been great advances in what I call ‘adding women in’ to the field of peace and conflict studies. We have a great deal of very good and valuable research now on how women are impacted by sexual and other violences, how peace processes do or do not enable women to gain more rights after war, what it means to demobilize as a former fe-
the waging of war and securitising the world in anti democratic ways? We would need to dig deeper into the meaning of peace from such an epistemology, and once again just ‘adding women in’ is insufficient.
Taking the meaning of a gender focus on peace into society is one of the major peacebuilding tasks for Colombia.
male combatant and many other gender sensitive themes. I think we still have to encourage deeper debate on what it means to have a society where men and women can transform the constructions of what it is to be a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’. Debates on sexuality which have problematized the character of ‘gender’ have enabled the transgender community to gain visibility and voice. But we also need to research how ideas of hegemonic masculinity play a role in reproducing male on male and male on female violences. We need to understand better the challenge of intersectionality and how race, ethnicity and class impact on constructions of maleness and femaleness, giving these constructions cultural specificities that can limit womens’ and others rights in profound ways. It can limit the potentiality for men to be seen as ‘male’ and activists for peace at the same time. A feminist epistemology would not make us complacent about seeing more women in parliament, for instance. Yes, that’s an advance, but behind this progress, a rethinking of the meaning of democracy and rights can still be missing. A feminist epistemology would ask what transformatory impact might or might not having more women in positions of power make, for instance, to
Do you have any advice for students and young peace scholars/practitioners working at the intersections of peace and conflict work/studies and feminism/gender studies/work? I would like the next generation to embed the discussion on femininities and masculinities in every field of study, and to take it for granted that we need to understand the differential experiences of women and men and how understandings of womanhood and masculinity are reproduced. I would also encourage more interactive research methods which enable knowledge to be given back to those we work with, in a spirit of building a more ethical interface between research and practice. Peace scholars have responsibilities to be rigorously scientific and to pursue a normative agenda. It is different to be a peace scholar to being a political scientist, only to the extent that there is a normative framework for peace which peace scholars should not apologise for as long as we have robust methods and forms of validation of our research. I would like to see more scholars become comfortable with those two aspects, and vigilant lest the normative intrudes negatively on the scientific and vice versa. In that sense, the dialogue with feminism and gender studies and peace studies plays an important role. It can offer perspectives that challenge assumptions. Gender as a field belongs to the most intimate aspects of self. If we are truly able to self reflect as researchers, we need to bring the varied ways our gender positionality impacts on our research into the picture. At the same time, both fields are about looking ‘outwards’, to looking at how research can transform. The conversation between the two fields is thus potentially very fruitful, although I notice that Gender Studies has lost some of its autonomous space, at the same time as Peace Studies has not fully engendered its field of enquiry. Subfields of Peace Studies, such as International Relations, remain very gender blind. All this calls for more interdisciplinary conversations and communications. At its heart, Peace Studies needs to be interdisciplinary, not multidisciplinary. This remains one of the big challenges of the field. Many Peaces Interviews - 41
INCLUDING SEXUALITY AND GENDER IN CONFLICT ANALYSIS INTERVIEW WITH JOSEFINA ECHAVARRÍA ALVAREZ, A PEACE RESEARCHER AND RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS COORDINATOR AT THE UNESCO CHAIR IN PEACE STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF INNSBRUCK INTERVIEWED BY MAYME LEFURGEY
JOSEFINA ECHAVARRÍA ALVAREZ is a Peace Researcher from Medellin, Colombia. She is Heart Faculty member of the MA Program and Research and Publications Coordinator at the UNESCO Chair in Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Her research foci are (in)security, migration and elicitive conflict mapping. She is a lecturer and facilitator on diverse peace topics. She lives in Innsbruck with her husband and daughter. Contact: email@example.com
42 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
Can you tell us a bit about what types of gender-focused research is being presently conducted by faculty, aﬃliates or students at the Innsbruck School of Peace Studies? In what ways does feminism/gender intersect with the pedagogy of the Innsbruck School of Peace Studies? I think the first thing that is very important is actually the idea that the first layer of all conflicting parties and facilitators alike is the sexual-family layer. What we find if you look at many other different conflict analysis methods and conflict mapping tools in Peace Studies is that they disregard the fact that everything is related to sexuality and family or they exteriorize it and say this is important but for other people to examine. It is never part of the formal analysis of a conflict, independent of the topic, because sexuality and gender are not only important when we are officially looking at sexuality and gender as points of analysis or officially labelling a conflict as a ‘gender conflict.’ In that sense, the transrational philosophy and the elicitive methods of conflict transformation actually go a step beyond the idea of using gender as a category of analysis, which is one of the main premises of feminist peace studies since the 1980’s, and it actually incorporates it into any kind of analysis so it doesn‘t really matter how you name or label the conflict, or who the conflicting parties are – you always include sexuality and gender, independently of the conflict at stake. From my point of view, this is already a wonderful expression of the centrality of sexuality and gender in any type of conflict dynamic, so this is one way in which we include it. Another way in which we include it is in terms of the didactics of the program itself. For example, we try to keep a balance of gender in terms of the student body and also in terms of the faculty and administration. We try to really find a way in which we can have not just gender being considered in our analy-
sis, but also in our very bodies. We have both male, female as well as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and other identities being present in our faculty, administration and within the student body. It is not solely talking about ‘others,’ but actually embracing the plurality of peace and the plurality of being that we all are. This starts from embracing diversity in the whole sense of the expression. Another way, is by actually making gender a subject of study. We regularly have Gender Studies as a part of our 4th Modular Period, that corresponds to thematic seminars. For example, Dr. Annette Weber is a professor who regularly comes to teach with us. It has become an extremely important part of our curriculum. We always try to have topics that have to do with gender and sexuality as subjects. In the 4th Modular Period in our last semester, we specifically had a seminar on sexuality. For us, if you really assume that peace is a holistic experience, there is no way of teaching, doing, understanding or cherishing peace without sexuality and gender. For us, it a big part of our analysis and tools of study, part of who we are as bodies of students, faculty and administration and also in the subjects or topics in our seminars and workshops. In what ways does a feminist framework or gender lens relate to your own research goals and methodology? I think that for me there is no way to see peace as not as sexed or gendered experience. That of course includes conflict and violence. The different research subjects that I focus on for example, migration and integration issues, especially through the body – this is our current emphasis in terms of research. For example, how to integrate movement and arts based methods of elicitive conflict transformation in conflicts that are socially relevant, especially in terms of migration and integration? And then, of course through the question, for example, the analysis of the peace process in Colombia, gender plays a big part here and in all conflicts, and we don‘t really find this level of analysis in their conflict mapping tools. In any type of conflict analysis that you carry out, you always find the questions of sexuality and gender. You also see this in the last batch of MA theses that make use of ECM [Elicitive Conflict Mapping] and I think that is one of reasons why it has become such a wonderful tool for
It is not solely talking about ‘others,’ but actually embracing the plurality of peace and the plurality of being that we all are. This starts from embracing diversity in the whole sense of the expression.
doing feminist research, because it starts from there and there is no way around it. ECM offers you the possibility of always integrating gender from the very beginning, rather than just adding gender as a category of analysis, or adding in women as an afterthought, in an intersectional way. This is basically what we have been doing in the past years and what we will continue doing with the new projects we will be developing. Also, for many years, I have been a member of the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section of the International Studies Association. This is a global network of feminist research, independent of what type of research you are conducting, there is a commitment to always integrate sexuality and gender in the analysis. I have been a member of this since 2006, so for 10 years, and we are very active in the conferences every year in the USA. Would you be able to offer your insights on the referendum and peace process in Colombia from a transrational perspective? Yes, this is something I have been working on. We are having a workshop in the second week
of November (2016) together with the University of Cambridge, which will also be published in the form of a ‘normal’ newspaper article – meaning not in an academic discourse type of way. What happened on the 2nd of October, 2016 is that you have 62% of people not going to vote at all, 49% of them voting for accepting the peace agreement and 50% voting to reject it. If we take this as a simple conflict episode, what it tells me is: we have mostly a very indifferent society and of course highly polarized one. Colombia has always been extremely polarized in terms of peace and war, at least for the past 20 years. I think that the former peace process from 1999-2001, really polarized society as for or against the peace agreement and I don‘t think the polarization has given birth to something new but has just been deepened over the years. Basically, if you look at the different maps of the vote, looking at who actually voted for or against and from where they are located, you see that the eighty-one most affected towns, which have faced the most violence during the war – 67 of them voted yes. This means, in general terms, what you can see is that most of the official victims of the war, the ones who are officially recognized as such, are the ones who actually said yes, we want the peace agreement. This leads us to ask, who are the ones who are against the peace agreement then? It is quite clear that those who voted no, are, in majority, those who have not been directly affected by the conflict in the country, meaning the ones who are the ‘spectators’ of the war. Of course, they too are affected by it, but they are not directly victims of violence following the legal definition of the law of 2010 which gives you more or less 7 million people in the country, but there is always confusion and debates over how many victims there actually are but those are the officially recognized victims; those who have asked for an official recognition of victimhood and therefore they receive certain benefits following the legal framework. So I think that these are actually the people that, if you look at it from a conflict analysis perspective, that have never been taken seriously as a group of analysis before. Because so far, the peace agreement was signed between the guerillas, the government and has given a lot of protagonism to the victims. They also didn’t consider the fourth group in the conflicting parties— which is the rest of the population, who are not considered victims and have not suffered directly but yet are extremely polarized, and are mostly against Many Peaces Interviews - 43
the peace agreement as a group. So if you look behind these layers of the episode, what else do you find? So in terms of themes it was very clear that the peace agreement was leaning toward an understanding of justice that would privilege the idea of ‘many truths.’ So yes, the guerillas can demobilize and engage in a truth telling process, and in exchange, yes of course there were prison sentences, but there were also some mechanisms of transitional justice. What was negotiated between the government and the victims’ organizations is that they preferred to know the truth rather than focus on punishment and imprisonment. They did not think that this would take them anywhere and believed that listening to the truth would lead much more to reconciliation. So, what most of the people who rejected the peace agreement, for example among the campaigners and the mainstream media discourse, we see that people saying „this can’t be, we don‘t want to know the truth.“ It is a very post-modern notion of the truth really, as it is not about ‘the truth’ about what happened but collecting different voices and allowing them to be heard so we can bring together different impressions of what has happened to us and what we have done to each other in the past 60 years. This much more conservative group of people who make up this fourth group of the conflicting party, said “we are not interested in the truth, we are actually interested in measures of justice that does not lead towards truth telling, but towards punishment.” This is extremely conventional when thinking of mainstream understandings of war and peace, premised on ideas such as „what they have done to us in the past, is unjust, is unfair and we want justice.“ This form of justice is punishment in a very conventional setting of prison, which is of course to deprive of liberty rights those people who have engaged in kidnapping and massacres and murders. There was a lot of misinformation about this because the only crimes granted amnesty were political crimes. Rebellion is considered a crime against the state because people should be loyal to the nation state. That was the only type of crime given amnesty in the agreement. There was a lot of misinformation saying that people who committed grave crimes would be forgiven so to speak and that was absolutely not true. There was a special jurisdiction created for peace, with restorative justice mechanisms and overall the emphasis was on truth telling. In terms of the layers, the first is the family 44 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
and sexual and this is a very complex situation because months before the referendum there was a big scandal in Colombia about a new handbook that was to be produced by the Ministry of Education and given to schools about sexual diversity. If you actually read the handbook it says that there is an incredible amount of possibilities in deciding sexual identity. So you have anatomy but also chromosomes and hormones and all of it together becomes sexual identity. Then, it outlines that your sexual identity is not equal to your gender identity. So you can have a sexual identity that is coherently organized to be a woman but you may not identify as a heterosexual woman, for example. The handbook was a result of a decision by the Constitutional Court for the school environments to be much more respectful of sexual diversity because there were many different instances of violence in schools in Colombia against homosexual, bisexuals and transsexuals— not just students but also professors and teachers. What we have in public schools in Colombia is basically a culture of intolerance of sexual diversity and therefore there has to be education about it. So based on that, UNICEF
ECM offers you the possibility of always integrating gender from the very beginning, rather than just adding gender as a category of analysis, or adding in women as an afterthought, in an intersectional way.
and other agencies were hired by the Ministry of Education to create this handbook. If you can characterize this situation by anything, it is bad communication strategies. They leaked early drafts of the handbook to the press and there was huge criticism by the Church and by the Conservative Party saying that what the government was doing was professing a gender ideology. This was understood to mean that we are not men, not women, not heterosexual, not homosexual, just something in between and it is okay to be with anyone— but that is not what the handbook is about but the Government really made an incredible amount of mistakes here. For example, the female education minister of Colombia is lesbian and was in the closet until the very last minute. So, the public response was that because she is a lesbian, she now wants to normalise it. From this very conservative corner, they believed that sexual diversity was linked to sexual promiscuity so the very idea of talking about sexual diversity would increase the chances of people engaging in sexual expression. Colombia is an extremely Catholic country, where of course the state is supposed to be secular. What happens is that if you are not able to talk about it in terms of religion, morals and dogma but say ‘we are protecting the nuclear family, we are actually protecting the institution of society,’ the state has to be neutral because the state only has the function of dealing with questions of the public space which should not interfere with the private sphere. This is something in feminism that we know was completely deconstructed five decades ago. There is no questioning of the private sphere, the state regulates the private sphere and not talking about this only covers it. So in the end, what you have was parliamentarian hearings and there was a big scandal and they had to remove the handbooks and up until today, they are not being taught in schools. Part of the criticism of the peace agreement was related to the gender perspective of the agreement itself. The peace negotiation started in February 2012, and on the 27th of August 2012, the President went on national TV and said that they have been holding secret negotiations and now have a general framework of agreement, and are starting official negotiations in Cuba. At this time, there was no gender perspective, no female negotiators and there was incredible criticism about this. For example, The US Institute for Peace played a vital role in pushing
for the creation of a gender subcommission, and the gender subcommission, as one of its main tasks, as per resolution 1325 of the UN, that there has to be a consideration of gender in every peace agreement. So in every part of the peace agreement, you have the gender commission making sure that different gender aspects were considered. Part of the criticism of the peace agreement was that since the government has this ideology of gender, they were including gender topics in the peace agreement in a way that we would have the end of the nuclear family. This would mean the end of sexual identities in terms of clarity and clear boundaries and moral behaviour so that actually sex became one of the most important topics for people to vote against the peace agreement. They said, „you can’t do that. You can‘t include the gender perspective here, because it only shows that the government has its own gender ideology.“ This was a big conflictive topic and then if you move into layers, these discussions were supposed to be very rational. They were supposed to be held at the level of the mind, when they actually involved a lot of conflict at the first layer, in terms of sexuality and family but also at the socioemotional-communal layer, because part of the main arguments against the referendum was about the pain that the guerillas inflicted on society. It was about vengeance, it was about all these negative feelings that created violence. The government, different political parties and NGOs were never able to tap into the emotional discourse of the peace agreement. So you have the political, religious, social, economic forces, playing on these highly emotional, negative consequences of the war and you don’t have another voice tapping into questions of hope, love, solidarity, forgiveness. Forgiveness was a very important issue, only discussed in some of the very last weeks of the peace negotiations. One of the main criticisms then of the peace negotiations was that the guerillas never asked for forgiveness and they only did it just a few weeks before the referendum. It was just too late to change people’s minds. For example, the people involved in or working to get the ‘yes’ vote, never tapped into the positive emotions of the peace agreement. It was only very late that one of the main public figures, who is the director of an NGO, said, ok if we are going to win this thing, we need to make people enthusiastic about the agreement— but it was just too late. So everything that had to do with the first layer, sexual-family and the
Part of the criticism of the peace agreement was that since the government has this ideology of gender, they were including gender topics in the peace agreement in a way that we would have the end of the nuclear family.
second layer of socioemotional-communal aspects, everything that had to do with the resistance of the agreement was never really tackled by those supporting the agreement and the rest. Therefore, everything that was supposed to be rational argumentation just got lost in this mess. It is very interesting to see what happened at the fourth layer, the spiritual-policitary, because there was a very interesting visit from an Indian guru to Cuba who wanted to work with negotiators and really tried to spiritually reconnect them. Because the classical leftwing discourse in Latin America has been a secular discourse, where they are theoretically against the Church. In Latin America there has been a very important church-led discourse of justice, social peace, and everything that has to do with the theology of liberation since the late 60s. But in any case, at least officially, guerillas and church are not supposed to mix. I think that there was a lack of clarity first between how not being religious, in the sense of not being Catholic, could still open the door for a spiritual communion. There is no way you can get out of a 60 years war if you don‘t also connect also to this layer because
there have been so many generations affected by violence that it just breaks apart the idea of society and community. In a highly polarized society, it is extremely difficult to become aware of this idea that ‘we are all one’ because we are so divided on these more egoic layers of the self that we are unable to see how the ‘other’ is also part of myself. So I think that intent in the end was a failure. We failed at creating a realistic image that we all have a place in the country. That as Ledearch so beautifully says, the key for the moral imagination to be successful in terms of peacebuilding is to have the ability to imagine former adversaries or enemies as also being part of the network or society that I am a part of. I think in this case, we failed to make this clear. So all of this, takes us to the last part, which is about the conflicting parties. We have underestimated the mapping in this conflict. We thought it was about the state, about the guerillas and about the victims and now we need to make sure we also include these much more conservative, well-organized and politically-militant conflicting party which is not only, but largely represented by, rightwing or conservative forces in the country because they can definitely mobilize people. So since the referendum there has been already a lot of talks where these different groups that campaigned for the rejection of the agreement have tried to position themselves and say this is what we didn’t like about the agreement. We didn’t like the idea of truth-telling, or the idea of victims’ rights, the idea of an integral rural reform or the idea of the gender perspective of the agreement. I think there are a lot of lessons learned. There were some issues with really communicating what the peace agreement actually was about and that is a job that should have started at the beginning of the talks and not in the final weeks before the referendum. Now they are sitting again in Havana to discuss which points should now be incorporated in the agreement which means that the peace agreement will be redrafted. Sexuality and gender are a fundamental part of the dynamic. This is what we were talking about at the very beginning, if you include sexuality and gender as part of your conflict analysis, no matter what you are talking about, you start there and start thinking of how it is playing a role—because it always is. To understand the very strong reaction to the peace agreement, we need to understand the dynamic of sexuality and gender. This is something that really moves people. Many Peaces Interviews - 45
© Peace Studies Innsbruck
CUR ST U R E N T DE N T
IN THE WAY OF AWARENESS INSIDE THE MIND OF A CURRENT STUDENT BY MARY ANN TORRES VERGARA
Sometimes the one who is running from the Life/Death/Life nature insists on thinking of love as a boon only. Yet love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of one phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back. Pain is chased away and surfaces another time. To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many many beginnings - all in the same relationship. Clarissa Pinkola Estés 46 – Many Peaces Magazine #5
This poem to me is a description of the process of awareness that I started in a more intense way at the Innsbruck Peace Studies program. It was a series of deaths and rebirths of my ‚self ‘ and through these experiences I was able to recognize some of my behavioral patterns. During this process I have learned about the sources which enabled me to deal with the bitter experiences that life brings along with it. This brought along a state of pain. It came to light and I chased it away. I have gotten to know my shadows and at the same time I learned to embrace them in order to be able to withstand many endings and many many beginnings with a reborn passion. I want to provide you with some information on how this has happened. A semester of the MA Program in Peace Studies starts with an online phase that lasts three months before we jump into the adventure of the presence phase for the following two months. First, we use the online platform to introduce ourselves and then to welcome new and old people to the group. We then are required to write a paper every two weeks. For this, first and second-termers receive a word that they use as the key source to guide their research. Third-termers use the space to begin formulating their thesis proposal. In my second term, summer 2016, the word that I received was ‘courage.’ Since I am a graphic designer I decided to illustrate the word as I perceive it before writing. I imagined myself as the main character of the image. The hearts I
drew were a representation of the etymological root of the concept courage in Spanish. The result was an image of a ‚peaceful warrior‘, holding a heart in order to spread love and courage. Before continuing, I need to establish that for me in this context the ‚peaceful warrior‘ is a representation of the ‚elicitive conflict worker‘. An elicitive conflict worker, is a person that possess three main skills: awareness (of the ‚self ‘, of their ‚own fantasies‘ and of ‚the environment‘), balance between compassion and self-protection and lastly,congruent communication. All these skills can lead to positive effects in any conflicting system in order to re-establish the dynamic equilibrium of the system. To me, this ‚peaceful warrior‘ that I drew was a representation of myself. A ‚self ‘ that is now in the transformative process of comprehension. My second term is over now. I am currently beginning the online phase of my third term which means that I am using the virtual space for starting my thesis proposal. I am in a transitional and analytical phase at this moment. I feel that all the experiences of my second term did not provide me with a definite explanation on the concept of courage, but rather an infinite one. I see this as an opportunity to clarify my inner knowledge and personal relation with the word. A part of it has become a guideline for my thesis journey.
I have gotten to know my shadows and at the same time I learned to embrace them in order to be able to withstand many endings and many many beginnings with a reborn passion.
All photos: © Peace Studies Innsbruck
My mind is full of the nearly new acquired experience and through them I can now realize the strength and power that I am an owner of. The authentic relation that I have with my feelings is manifest by acting only in accordance to the rules of my heart. If I go back in time and rethink all that has happened I can say that my first and second terms were full of encouraging experiences. I literally jumped into the cold water of the Innsbruck River four times and was pushed to my limits during the field training with the Austrian Armed Forces. What I realize now after my second term is that I define myself as a ‚wounded healer’. A wounded healer is an archetype that goes beyond superficial descriptions suggesting an in-depth exploration of the true meaning of the healing experience; transcending personal suffering and willingness to accept vulnerability while cultivating the ability to view it as growing and developing evolution, as explained by Mariom Conti-O’Hare in her 2002 text The Nurse as Wounded Healer From Trauma to Transcendence: Theoretical Perspectives. I have consciously healed myself in the past after passing through a horrible and traumatizing experience in my youth. After analyzing this experience during my peace studies The Innsbruck School of Peace Studies - 47
All photos: © Peace Studies Innsbruck
terms I consider it to be the key point to understand where courage changes things in my life in order to be transformed. As I said, I have had difficulties in the past and by having the dare to delve into them, through remembering / retelling /rewriting those moments I have found a source to heal myself. I have overcome my fears. I have had to face my vulnerabilities and I have challenged myself. Somehow difficult experiences have helped me to develop my courageous heart. At this point it feels like it took great courage and internal strength to retrace my challenging past history in order to transform it into self-knowledge, self-realization and wisdom. I consider that by retelling this personal story to others, it might perhaps inspire others and provide a path of recognition of the power of awareness. For myself too, by being aware of this, I know I can develop passion and strength. By attempting to understand what ‘courage’ means to me during my second term I started a journey in which I discovered that I am a woman and that my divine femininity is an important part of my body, my mind, and my soul. I now comprehend how often I worked in the service of others along the path of my life. I feel that I can unfold my life story and at the same time channel my spiritual wisdom after having worked with my emotional and passionate darkness. For me, ‘The Peaceful-Warrior’ and ‘The Wounded-Healer’ are two archetypes that are not mutually exclusive or conflicting with each other. They are rather supporting one another. As I see it, in order to heal, you must know how it feels to be wounded and to be grateful for those wounds. So for me where the healer ends, the warrior begins. Where the warrior ends the healer begins. What I sense now is that I am a wounded survivor who loves to tell others what a beautiful blessing life is at the end when everything passes. I can say this path of awareness together with the experiences I have had in the MA program of Peace Studies have not only given me those insights but have also given me many beautiful friends who encourage me to continue believing in the path of peace. MARY ANN TORRES VERGARA was born in Venezuela from a Colombian mother and a Peruvian father and is currently living in Innsbruck where she is studying the MA program in Peace Studies. She has been studying and practicing Jyoti and Shabd meditation techniques for three years. She facilitated workshops with this technique as processes of awareness and transformation of the body, mind, and soul. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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© Juliana Krohn
PEACE STUDIES FUND ENCOURAGING MANY PEACES BY SIMONE WICHTERICH, JULIANA KROHN, ANNALENA GROPPE, CHRISTINA EGERTER AND THERESA HIRN
he Peace Studies Fund is created by students of the Master’s Program in Peace, Development, Security and International Conflict Transformation at the University of Innsbruck. This program is carried by the diversity of its students from all over the world with their different backgrounds, stories and experiences. In spring, 2016, after we learnt that some of our peers could not join us for the next semester due to insecurities regarding finances, we felt the need for action. The following article gives an insight into our motivation, process and work.
Simone on “Giving Something Back” After my last practical semester in Innsbruck in March 2016 I had the wish to give something back to everyone involved in the program and to coming generations of students; mainly to enrich the exchange and the learning experience. During my studies I was often fascinated, surprised, shocked, happy and sad about the different realities of my fellow students and friends. Studying Peace Studies means to study in an international environment with people from all over the world – people who often need financial support to be able to take part in this special program. In April last year my fellow student and friend Theresa Hirn visited me and told me about her idea to set up a Peace Studies Fund that supports the variety of an international student community, encourages voices from different cultural backgrounds and life realities and, all in all, adds value to the learning experiences of everybody involved in the program. There was no convincing necessary. Theresa spread the word and we soon formed a team of five German women. We began to discuss our ideas and possibilities. Why only Germans? After Theresa posted her idea in the Peace Studies Facebook group we got together and decided for reasons of simplification to first establish a legal structure in Germany, get everything The Innsbruck School of Peace Studies - 49
to work and then think about ways of further involving everyone interested in supporting the fund. Juliana on “the Group Spirit” …four of us already started to get our peers involved in the summer term of 2016 by presenting our ideas during the presence phase. We were overwhelmed by all the beautiful and inspiring contributions from our peers. To name two examples: I facilitated a simulated meeting where our peers took on the role of possible future donors in the course of a seminar on skills for peace workers. At the end of an intensive brainstorming session we were left with a lot of food for thought which proved to be incredibly helpful for our next steps. The same applies to an integrative seminar where we presented the current status of our work and asked for ideas. Here as well, our peers contributed many ideas for the structure, the workflow and fundraising, and also offered their support. Moreover, one student suggested creating a short film about the Peace Studies Fund, so we drafted a preliminary storyline for the video, asked for support and, merely a day later, a film crew was established and began to collect interviews and atmospheric shots. Currently we are busy with editing the collected material. I am incredibly thankful for all the support and touched by the unique spirit of this group. In the Innsbruck Peace Family I found a community of human beings who provide a space for growth with all the necessary challenges, obstacles, connections and experiences. I met people who touched my heart, who became my friends, companions and teachers. My learning experiences in this program are substantially influenced by them. Therefore when I heard at the end of my first term that some of my peers might not come back for the next term due to financial difficulties, I knew that I want to do something about it. A couple of weeks later the idea of a Peace Studies Fund was born... Annalena on “Practical Steps” ...I stumbled into the work of the Peace Studies Fund, originally planning to support only by creating graphics and the website. Next to the academic work of my Master thesis, I enjoyed creating something that is immediately visible for a purpose that I find meaningful. To me, visualizing our peace family created a feeling of connectedness. Suddenly the energizing vibes within the team drew me from one Skype call to the next. The craftwork of project-planning made me feel active and alive. I feel deeply motivated by the idea of mutual solidarity within the group of current students and alumni. On our winding journey towards a legal framework we then decided to base our work within a friend’s association seated in Germany. I could build on some experiences with such a setup due to a former project, and soon I found myself writing the articles of our 50 – Many Peaces Magazine #5
association. The main questions that had to be answered concerned the international character of our fund: would it be possible to closely cooperate with a University in Austria and with mainly international members? Those concerns could be sorted out, accompanied by a continuous process of working through, adopting, and finally translating the bureaucratic language within this legal field. Luckily, we were supported by a tax consultant who is working voluntarily, like us. For his support, I am extremely grateful. And I think I can speak for the group when I say, we learned a lot… Theresa and Christina on “Networking in the Community” …in September 2016 we had one important moment of engaging with the community of peace students: the so-called ‘Vision Quest and 100 years of Peace Studies’ celebration. We both joined the festivities and took part in the open brainstorming on the perspectives and further development of the Peace Studies Program and the Alumni Projects. It was an enriching experience to get in touch with other alumni, to talk about our initiatives, about our work, structure and visions. The conversation with friends from the Many Peaces e.V. and the Many Peaces Magazine provided us with inspiration, courage and support. The event was a great opportunity for us to receive input and the resonance left us with a positive feeling about our plans to create the Fund. All in all it was a huge gift to feel the vivid spirit from our fellow students and colleagues. We perceived the Peace Studies Fund not as a singular project, but as one element of our international alumni network which encourages Many Peaces all over the world. One result of this networking event is to further work on the establishment of a shared Facebook page with other alumni projects to stay in contact and support each other with ideas and share experiences… Our Idea and Vision …as written before the Fund is an affair of the heart for every single one of us. It also is a great learning opportunity since part of our studies is devoted to the transformation of conflicts within groups. As members of a team we therefore have the opportunity to put what we learnt about dealing with conflicts into practice. Our key idea is to support students from all over the world who are interested and qualified to come to this special master’s course. It became clear to us how intensely differences on international levels, especially concerning currencies, average income, access to scholarships and credits, lead to unequal starting points among our fellow students. The high quality of the program with its workshops, seminars, field trainings and collaborations with scholars from around the world makes a tuition fee of € 4.900,00 per term necessary to ensure the best learning experience for every student. Furthermore, costs for travel and Visa, especially for students outside the Europe-
an Union, occur. This leads to the fact, however, that some students of the program are unable to finish their master’s degree or need years to finance all semesters. Based on principles such as trust, solidarity, diversity, responsibility, sustainability and the community spirit, we want to achieve our goals of providing equal opportunities for the students despite different economic backgrounds, enable full focus on studying for future peace workers, and furthermore elicit and encourage an understanding of Many Peaces. Thus with the Peace Studies Fund we are putting peace into action.... The Peace Studies Fund Association is Born …about half a year and several meetings, Skype calls and emails later, the Peace Studies Fund took shape. On Saturday morning, the 22nd of October, the five of us, as well as three new members, met at a cafe in Cologne for the formation of the Peace Studies Fund association. First we spoke about the agenda including a welcome address, an introduction to the Fund, the discussion and adoption of the articles, the election of the board members and the accounts auditor. After the formal part, the morning continued with an exchange of ideas over coffee.
The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people. Unknown As soon as the association is registered we will focus on fundraising. Possible fundraising activities could be lectures and workshops held at schools and private organizations, as well as events such as movie screenings, readings, concerts and parties. Another main pillar is applications for funding from public and private organizations. We are planning to be up and running by January 2017, and are glad to give you an update on our Fund during the opening ceremony for the new semester at the Grillhof Seminar Centre in Igls at the beginning of January. While we have formed a team of five, we are very open to students and alumni of the program wanting to support us with their ideas and knowledge, as we believe in the strength of the community in sharing and developing concepts.
All photos: © Juliana Krohn
This Article was written by SIMONE WICHTERICH, JULIANA KROHN, ANNALENA GROPPE, CHRISTINA EGERTER and THERESA HIRN
If you are willing to contribute please… …mail us for ideas: email@example.com …like us for updates: www.facebook.com/PeaceStudiesFund/ …visit our website: www.peacestudiesfund.com …and spread the word!
The Innsbruck School of Peace Studies - 51
© Christina Egerter
REMEMBERING POTENTIAL A JOURNEY THROUGH THE MEDICINE WHEEL BY CHRISTINA EGERTER
are to Shine” was the title of a two-day workshop which took place in spring 2016 in Leipzig, Germany. Ten women worked together on their fears, self-confidence, potential, bodies and relationships. The medicine wheel was the compass to orientate themselves through their reflections on previous experiences into new, unknown lands. As a workshop facilitator I did not feel excluded from this journey, for it was my own as well. 52 – Many Peaces Magazine #5
Remembering Potential “Potential, Trust and Vision” was the subtitle from “Dare to Shine’s” second workshop day. With a glance at my personal experiences of uncertainties and little self-confidence and after talking with many women about these issues, I recognized that a majority of them do not feel confident in their own abilities. They hesitate to live up to their potential and do not dare to shine in their beauty. It is for these reasons that the workshop engaged with the question of one‘s own potential and desire to stand courageous in the face of emerging challenges to empower each other. For many decades, Western societies have been opening up to the empowerment of women, for example in Germany the quota of women in the workforce hints at increasing equality between the genders. I think it is impossible to reach a total balance (between men and women) regarding data and facts in education and within the working environment. Therefore, I do not see this as the primary problem but rather the lack of inner empowerment and (self) confidence. There is a hidden potential which needs attention in parallel to the addressing of gender gaps. In my opinion, most of women’s personal topics are linked to unspoken issues within the family and society in general. At this point I see an open door for peace and conflict transformation.
The medicine wheel I am standing in the middle of a circle. From this point of view I orientate myself and I see the others moving. I feel closeness to these women. I see our circling lives which are interconnected at many points. In the context of the medicine wheel, the term medicine derives from the Latin term medi for middle/center. The circle is divided in the four cardinal directions: south and north, west and east. In the center of the circle one can observe the directions and their distinct qualities. The circle as a symbol for healing and the cycle of life can be found all around the world. However, it has been forgotten for a long time or replaced by other rituals (for instance in National Socialism). In Western societies the knowledge of the medicine wheel was mainly passed on from indigenous Native Americans (Koch-Weser and von Lüpke 2005: Vision Quest). For me, the medicine wheel offers a space for orientation without diagnosis. From here I can look at my relationship with my body, sexuality and female identity without being forced in prescribed directions. The image of a never ending cycle gives me an understanding of female qualities and their natural rhythm. For many years I was rather neglectful of this part of my personality and the body which belonged to it. That is why it means a lot to me to open and facilitate spaces for sharing stories and experiences within a circle of women. I got the idea to use various methods (theater, dance, awareness techniques etc.) for working through the wheel’s directions. In the following I give a short insight to some of the experiences. Not all of them can be put into words. Each woman got a paper for drawing and mapping down her experiences after encountering the directions. From these drawings many personal medicine wheels arose like a metaphor for our different shaped lives. Our lives are spinning in the motion of a circle, there is no straight line to follow. In the descriptions below I shift between “I”, “we” and “they”, because I experienced a constant exchange between my identities as facilitator and woman. All italics which appear in the text are participants’ personal statements. South
All photos: © Christina Egerter
The south holds space for the childhood, playful experiences, sensuality and the primal emotions. It is a place for the flowing parts in us. For facing the south, I opened up spaces for getting in contact with the interplay between current feelings and those remembered from childhood. I worked with meditative reflecting, painting and dancing to awaken those memories. All women who took part in my workshop are working or studying in social and cultural sectors where a naïve approach to personal emotions and feelings are not necessarily welcome. Posing the question of how to deal with undesired, unappreciated and longed-for feelings supported the participants to face many life situations in order to reflect on personal patterns and influences of socialization. The south was our open door for working together. As I have grown up, I almost forgot how it felt to be completely immersed in playing. The Innsbruck School of Peace Studies - 53
West Being in the west means connecting to the spirit of an adolescent who looks at deeper parts of the soul. It calls for a real state of being present here on earth with the full body. The idea to face the west came up spontaneously during the workshop. I suggested a sharing circle in which we discussed what we do not want to share. After that we embodied these parts of us in statues who became vivid and transformed through encounters with each other. There were interesting meeting points of joy and shame. It was a moment in which reality and fantasies were faced at the same time; jealousy, perfectionism, unwanted demands and fears. Each woman carries her bundle of personal topics and we can give each other encouragement and strength. North The north speaks to the adult who is connected to the mind and its judgements and sense of responsibility. The clarity and direction of the north opens up questions about the purpose and visions for life. Through a guided meditation the women experienced and faced their fears and desires of their studies and jobs. The meditation was based on practices of mindfulness and imagination. Our journey led to questions on chaos and clarity, and about control and desire. One woman perceived a strong pressure in her neck which she cannot get rid of. The stress felt like a burden for her and did not allow any consideration of her personal potential. Others discovered that they are not exposed to the pressure to perform and there are choices to make about their working situation and the handling of daily perfectionism. How can I give (to others, the world etc.) without overreaching and losing track of myself? I have potential!
Each woman carries her bundle of personal topics and we can give each other encouragement and strength.
East In the east the wisdom of elders has its home. Spirituality, intuition and the sacred can be found here. A place for new beginnings. The workshop ended with each woman painting for the other an image that had arisen during a slow, shared dance. I felt connection and vulnerability. The tears could flow. At the end of an irrational journey I was surprised by the elation, the feeling of the east! Dare to shine! Six months, including a full semester in Innsbruck have already passed since I have facilitated both workshops. The titleâ€œDare to shineâ€œ and the content of the workshop accompanies me still on my personal and professional path. The desire to include the facilitation of this workshop in a bigger picture of peace and conflict work drives and pushes me to move for my very heartfelt visions of peace work. As the circle symbolizes, standing still is out of question.
54 â€“ Many Peaces Magazine #5
CHRISTINA EGERTER is living in Germany where she studied Theater and Performing Arts in Society for her B.A. She is still enrolled in the Peace Studies program in Innsbruck and is currently working on her thesis proposal. Since 2014 she has been engaged in projects about womanhood and female identity for which she combines her experiences in dance, theater, tantra and meditation as a holistic methodological framework. Contact: christina. firstname.lastname@example.org
© Paul Lauer
THINGS WE SHARE REFLECTION ON THE PLANNING GROUP OF THE FIRST PEACE ELICIT BY JANA ELENA HORNBERGER
I do not love you because of your sex but for the things we share. Rebeca Lane
hese lyrics by the Guatemalan feminist singer and poet, Rebeca Lane come to mind when I reflect upon gender, relationships and love. They are from a song called mujer lunar – moon woman – a song that speaks to my heart and guides this article right into the overall topic of this volume: Gender and femininity; a topic that is very broad and that also influenced us, a group of four people, in the planning and conceptual preparation of the first Peace Elicit that took place in April 2016.
Gender roles, for women and for men, are dominant social categories of determining identity and social behavior in many societies. Issues of identification or non-identification with gender are maybe one of the most sensitive topics within communities. Several waves of feminism have passed and lately, queer and transgender discourses and the LGBT movement (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender movement) have found their way from social margins to a relatively broad public sphere. In some countries like Australia, Nepal or New Zealand, a third gender category is legally recognized. Due to social norms and standards, gender, and especially sexuality, remain taboos and yet form one of the constituting elements of social interaction and relations at the same time. Elicitive Conflict Mapping (ECM), a method for conflict analysis, offers a useful framework for visualizing different layers that constitute the persona - the mask of a person. Along the lines of the chakras in the yogic tradition, the first and founding layer is the sexual-family layer. This stores all perceptions, frames, dos and don’ts related to the family and sexuality of a person. For peace workers, the engagement with questions about identity and encountering differences is crucial. We often work in environments where we encounter people with controversial opinions, attitudes and social values. In some contexts, the awareness of the social construction The Innsbruck School of Peace Studies - 55
of gender is existent and people may not identify themselves within the heteronormative matrix of relationships or within the duality of men and women. Still, traditional perspectives and expectations on the roles of men and women within society are extremely important and reproduced. To realise holistic peace work, an authentic encounter between the peace worker and the conflict party is necessary. Therefore, it is crucial that the peace worker is aware of his/her topics, dynamics and patterns. This is one of the reasons we are conceptualizing the Peace Elicits - a safe space in which the qualities of human nature that are hidden within the person’s mask can be made visible through bodywork and consequently create a more holistic way of connecting to the own self and the system the self is embedded in. Questions like How do I perceive myself as a woman or man? Can I relate to these categories at all? What does it mean to be a man or woman in different social contexts? – are examples to open a space for reflection on the topic. Conception of the first Peace Elicit “Yin and Yang” How did we get to the topic “Yin & Yang” for the very first Peace Elicit? In a nutshell, the process of conceptualizing and planning the first workshop was an elicitive one. We were open to the energy that was “there” and allowed this energy to flow and correspond throughout the planning process, as regards to the topic but also the group dynamic. In a first intense brainstorm meeting, gender and sexuality appeared to be a present theme. Taking the transrational approach seriously, the resonance and correspondence between the planning group members was present and took us through an interesting and transformative journey as individuals and a group of four friends – two men and two women. We experienced an intense group dynamic that was not free of conflicts and that brought us even closer. At an early stage, we faced the limitations and problems related to a workshop with the theme of gender and sexuality. We did not want to discuss and deconstruct in a post-modern style - ending up confused not knowing if men and women do really exist. A Peace Elicit is thought to be a space of encounters that go beyond the cognitive engagement with a topic. It is about experience and authentic encounter, which is done best through body oriented methods of elicitive conflict transformation. Also, we wanted to make the topic as open as possible for everyone. Therefore, one of the crucial guiding question was: What does it mean for each and every one of us to think, live, play out, discuss and embody our very personal relation with what it means to be a woman or a man, something in between, not defined, or uncertain? To grasp this approach, a thematic shift is needed: Turning away from modern categories and postmodern critique and to focus onto the energetic perspective on male and female is helpful. Yin and Yang From an energetic perspective, dualities are twisted and dissolved. This is visualized through the great triad, better known as Yin and 56 – Many Peaces Magazine #5
Yang. Yin stands for the feminine energy, the lunar energy and Yang for the masculine solar energy. According to this perspective, it is important to understand that using the word “feminine” and “masculine” refers to a certain quality. A quality is energy that everyone can feel, independent from the biological sex or social gender. The feminine energy is connected to certain qualities like intuition, patience, acceptance, letting go or trust. Parallel to that, the quality of yang represents the male aspects within a person, relates to the sun and stands for qualities like mind, ratio, courage and power. These polarities, plus and minus, unify. Everything is polar, which means that every existence is constituted through two polarities that come into being from the tension it creates. The psychologist Carl Gustav Jung talked about Anima and Animus, female and male archetypes understood as personifications of the unconscious. Anima, the female archetype stands for the female part in the inner personality of a man and Animus represents male figures in women. From the energetic perspective, there is no separation of dualities, there is no either or – there is just the all-one of all principles, the integrating of dualities. Peace out of the overcoming of the dualities also means the overcoming of gender which results in the return to the androgynous state of being, a cosmic being. If we also use this idea for the question of feminine and masculine principles, they exist in every one of us – may we consider ourselves woman, man or not. These energies are qualities within us. Peace Elicit Yin & Yang During the first Peace Elicit we took the group on the journey to discover, feel, embody and share these qualities together. Central questions were How does it feel to embody our masculine / feminine aspects, and how does it feel to embrace all of these different qualities? Does it resonate or if not, why and how can we play this out together as a vibrant community of peace students, scholars and participants? After we had worked out the theoretical foundation for the workshop, the next step was to find an adequate structure and methods to embody the topic and to dive into a collective wave of group process. Remembering this process, I realize how organically and intuitively the structure and method was found. In general, it was useful for the planning of the Peace Elicit to follow Gabriele Roth´s model of the five-rhythm wave. The day of arrival is arriving, connecting and being in flow. The main working parts of the seminar are staccato, chaos and lyrical. Towards the end, the space is already open for stillness. We chose the methods according to that wave and thus had a beautiful opening circle on Friday night and started the topic early Saturday morning with a heart opening meditation. To have a “cognitive fundament” the main part was opened with a discussion on Yin & Yang and the qualities explained above. With this knowledge, former peace student Rosaly Kubny opened the dance floor and guided the group through an intense day of dancing with the qualities, embracing them, sweating, melting and letting go. To give participants enough time to eat, to recover and to have some quality time alone or with others, a relatively long “open space” was planned before another intense evening part of sharing and connecting in the
transparency circle. The very last exercise was a relaxing and integrating group method with the aim to unify all the aspects of the self and the personal experience connected to the topic.
© Paul Lauer
© Jana Elena Hornberger
© Paul Lauer
It was very interesting how strongly the chosen topic resonated with each and every one of the planning group on a personal level and throughout the group process. We found ourselves in interpersonal conflicts and challenges often directly related to our feminine or masculine energy or the way we interacted as a planning and, at the same time, facilitator group. We arrived one and a half days earlier to set the location and, even more importantly, to find ourselves as a group. A tension present since the long car ride from Berlin to Austria was made visible, Although there were tears and frustration the process was necessary in order to be able to work together and to guide the group through the experience. The dual challenge we faced during these days was being facilitator, organizer and participant at the same time. During the workshop “Elicitive Facilitation: Concepts, Qualities and Skills” held by Josefina Echavarría and Norbert Koppensteiner in October in Innsbruck, we worked through the core essence of what it means to facilitate. This experience was extremely helpful to reflect on the role of the facilitator and deepen our understanding of what we want to achieve with the Peace Elicits. One important principle of facilitation is the willingness to set one’s own wants aside and to be present for the processes of others. Therefore, it was so important to be aware of our own process and the team’s process as a whole. On a personal level, I can say that the topic is still resonating strongly within me and that questions like What kind of woman do I want to be? What does it mean to define myself as a woman? are currently very present themes in my private life. It helps me to connect to myself with those energies, knowing that I also have male aspects within me that I can embrace. I try to live the balance between being a woman and being a human being that is constantly learning, living, loving, failing, experiencing in an unbreakable relation to others. Locating myself within my body and learning how to love myself as I am is a process that I consider crucial in my development of becoming a facilitator i.e. someone who holds the space for others. If I am not able to love myself, it is difficult to be present for others, as love is also the grounding intention and intrinsic quality of being, which lies at the heart of wanting to be a facilitator. The experience of witnessing the healing quality of group processes and the authenticity of relations that are worked on during the Peace Elicits, represented for me the essence of what it means to be human – no matter if we define ourselves as woman, man, queer or transgender.
© Jana Elena Hornberger
Reflection on the planning group and my own journey
© Paul Lauer
© Jana Elena Hornberger
JANA ELENA HORNBERGER is living in Heidelberg and currently working with the German Development Cooperation, GIZ in Frankfurt. She is involved in the foundation of the Many Peaces e.V. association and part of the Coordination Team. Facilitation and offering spaces for transformation are one of her passions. Contact: email@example.com
The Innsbruck School of Peace Studies - 57
ON THESIS WRITING A TESTIMONIAL TEXT, PHOTOGRAPHS AND COLLAGES BY ISABELLE GUIBERT // PAINTINGS BY MAMADOU BA
he following text proposes to share a personal perspective on the thesis process we, students in Peace Studies, all go through to complete our master’s degree. A perspective (and a reality) that, albeit an individual one, somewhat reflects a collective experience often made in solitude, hence I offer this testimonial which my peers might find resonance with. 58 – Many Peaces Magazine #5
Embracing a Process My research took another path than the one I had planned. When, almost three years after my completion of the MA Program for Peace Studies, I could finally dedicate my semester break of summer 2016 to my master’s thesis, I aimed to address it in a pragmatic, cold manner so as to write as much as possible until my work as a teacher in two universities starts again in autumn. I am forty-five and feel pressured by time; this thesis is essential for me to close a chapter and open new ones. Consequently, I established a sort of ritual by which I would go to the University Library of Innsbruck every day from morning to evening. Nonetheless, after finding my bearings, I soon came across my first surprise: spending my entire days at the library was increasingly enjoyable; it not only did not prove to be a “sacrifice”, but even felt like a chance, a privilege. The energetic field created by all the people researching in unison, like in a silent choir, stimulated my inspiration and my motivation. I felt tacitly encouraged by the same eyes that I would meet recurrently. Additionally, the more I was engaged in my research process, the more I sensed that doing research (also) was an act of spirituality taking me to very deep layers of myself and connecting me with the collective unconscious and knowledge. I soon recog-
nised that I could not just write my thesis for the sake of it, for I consciously refused to deprive myself from the human experience such a research embodied. The ups and downs being included I am glad that I chose to embrace the unknown and to not control the process. Yet, as the summer was drawing to a close, the perspective of my work soon beginning created inner stress and thereby affected my research: my inspiration, my creativity and my energy flow were suddenly hampered. I felt angry with the system for obliging me to restrict my investigation. The sensation was that of being taken away from myself and forced back into a straightjacket after having enjoyed freedom – the Freedom (and I insist on the capital letter) that enables energy to flow and provides room for unfolding. Hereunder is a sample of the invaluable discoveries I made during the unexpected and sacred journey epitomised by my research process. It regards the very act of writing that revealed to be, more than a form, a method of inspiration. Making Discoveries and Allowing Connection through Writing What we human beings do, the way we (inter)act, the choices we make or do not make, and likewise what and how we research, is narrowly related to and influenced by our (hi)story. From a transrational perspective, as a human being I can never be separated from my context. Ergo, before getting to the core of my thesis subject, I needed to do, through writing, a close inquiry into the depth of my life and my being so as to make contact with myself and define accordingly the narrative thread of my research. In effect, after Norbert Koppensteiner, research should be seen as an experience and emanate from within the researcher in order for her/him to both enjoy the process and feel empowered. Moreover, by shedding light on my background – i.e. the milestones and recurrent topics that have shaped my life so far – I allow my reader to get insight into the underlying motivation(s) of my research. Since the potential distance between her/him as reader and me as author/researcher is reduced, a relationship can arise. For the reader, then, the author/researcher does not embody a flawless, unreachable and insensitive entity (as it rather is the case in conventional research), but turns into a being touched by and concerned with life, whose shadows and lights allow the reader to connect and resonate with. Further, by taking the liberty of doing my research and writing in a non-linear manner, I create a space for exploration: for my voice and my research topic to emerge as authentically and freely as possible.
I sensed that doing research (also) was an act of spirituality taking me to very deep layers of myself and connecting me with the collective unconscious and knowledge.
Traversing a Palette of Emotions Certainly, it is frightening not to cling to the mould of reassuring structures (however constricting and limiting they may be), not to look for answers in my supervisor or whomever, but instead try to follow my intuition and embrace my personal approach to research. Besides it is time and energy consuming. Questions such as “am I on the right path?” keep recurring. Still, in the frame of transrational research, “right” or “wrong” answers are out of the scene. Quite on the contrary, as the author I am faced with my free will. When, at the very beginning of my research process, I asked my thesis supervisor, Norbert Koppensteiner, how personal and detailed I could be regarding my author’s perspective, he replied: “Trust your own approach and what feels right for you”. As a leit-
For the reader, the author does not embody a flawless, unreachable and insensitive entity (as it rather is the case in conventional research), but turns into a being touched by and concerned with life, whose shadows and lights allow the reader to connect and resonate with.
The Innsbruck School of Peace Studies - 59
motiv his words have accompanied me throughout my research, a For a Cautious Treatment of Words process definitely marked by moments of enlightenments and discouragements, certainties and doubts. And all those feelings ought Words have always generated a passion in me. Alas, I often obto be. It is even by providing space for and welcoming what might serve that they are maltreated and used as interchangeable pawns, appear as “stagnation” (feeling stuck, being slow, not writing, writ- an action by which their uniqueness is profoundly ignored. On ing too little, etc.) that things are implicitly allowed to move. In reflection I even feel that words are rarely honoured, although perany case, in the midst of (and despite) that palette of emotions, I manently needed. They are simply taken for granted. Personally, if continued to move forward, guided I were a word I would go on strike by that sentence which indefatigaand stand up for my rights! Such bly reminded me that I was on the a collective performance would so A careful treatment of words implies right road, since this is mine. deeply paralyse the natural course listening to their very consonance; of the world that human beings [...] ensuring that no mistake disfigWriting as an Inspiration would have to muse on the words’ condition and transform it accordures them; and always trying to reach Writing outside the canonical paingly. Treat words cautiously surely out to the unknown ones. rameters of research constitutes a requires time, attention and work, leap into the unknown. And yet, even for the linguist I am who unprecisely thanks to the above-menfailingly makes use of dictionaries tioned, creativity is free to flourish, hidden potentials to unfold, when writing no matter the language. A careful treatment of words unexpected insight(s) to surface. I do find inspiration and guid- implies listening to their very consonance; seeing their aesthetic ance in the very act of writing. Put another way, for ideas to take sui generis; considering the (sometimes minimal) differences beform and realisations to be made, I need to write. Write? It implies tween them; ensuring that no mistake disfigures them; and always for me assembling and disassembling words, selecting one over an- trying to reach out to the unknown ones. Unlike speaking – an inother one, experimenting, daring and playing with the syntax until stant act – writing provides the privilege of time. This observation I hit upon the form which best resonates with me from an aesthet- enables to select words accordingly and respectfully. A key might ic, semantic and affective angle. To write is to create meaning by be to feel words, become friends with them, and “treat [them] like making and letting the words dance and sing. The latter in turn the members of one’s own kin” to echo Wolfgang Dietrich (A Call take their author along and drive her/him to unforeseen places. for Many Peaces, 1997) on the etymological meaning of Friede, This is when enchantment happens. Thereby, rather than limiting peace in German. itself to being a mere product, writing also becomes, after Laurel Richardson (Writing: A Method of Inquiry, 2005), a “dynamic creaISABELLE GUIBERT is a university lecturer in Innstive process” the expression thereof is unique to each writer which bruck, and a nomad in mind and spaces. She teaches languages and social subjects related to peace(s), elicimakes it all the more lively and appealing to the reader. In this tiveness, and the Global South. As a workshop facilitator regard writing acquires a double role by embodying both form and she uses methods of the Theatre of the Oppressed and method. It does not only represent a means or a tool for conveying Theatre for Living. Her research fields: unconventional an idea, but is intrinsically valuable in itself due to the words’ very writing, unconventional education, trauma and memory inherence. And so, writing holds the potential to become a sacred in relation to Argentina’s last dictatorship. She holds an MA in English studies. act wherein words constitute the essence. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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© Anna-Pia Rauch
Artist of the Volume – Anna-Pia Rauch – 61
NEW MASTERS OF PEACE The Innsbruck School of Peace Studies Established in 2001 the MA Program in Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck was strongly inspired by the UNESCO’s famous Manifesto 2000, which proposed to turn the new millennium into a new beginning, an opportunity to change, all together, the culture of war and violence into a culture of peace and non-violence. The six corner stones of the Manifesto 2000 are: - Respect the life and dignity of each human being - Practise active non-violence - Share time and material resources - Defend freedom of expression and cultural diversity - Responsible consumer behaviour - New forms of solidarity.
ALEXA CUELLO MIEDZYBRODZKI (WT’14, ST’14, Castellon’ 15) was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, studied Political Science and worked in the field of child rights for five years. She is currently living in Innsbruck, Austria and is interested in the topics of memory, story-telling, and intergenerational communication. Her thesis was supervised by Norbert Koppensteiner. Contact: email@example.com
ECHOES OF TRAUMA
Exploring the transmission of conflict narratives across generations
he stories of your ancestors are not lost; you will find them humming in your bones (Kent, 2011). In this thesis, I explore the intergenerational communication of trauma within families, through the eyes of the third generation after a conflict. The central questions are: how are the narratives of war or violent conflict experiences transmitted across generations within a family until the third generation? And how does the third generation people relate themselves in the ‘here and now’ with what happened to the first generation ‘there and then’? I first delve into how trauma is produced, weaving together the work of different scholars and practitioners. I explore later what exactly is transmitted from one generation to the other after a conflict. Finally, I recover the narratives of six different third generation people whose grandparents experienced violent conflicts. In some cases their stories were transmitted to them openly, whereas in other cases silence and nonverbal communication were the languages through which they received their grandparents’ stories. ***
In the winter of 2015, while searching possible topics for my thesis, I read a book that shook me like an earthquake. The book was about the Spanish Civil War and the stories of silence, unsaid and secrecy across generations in many families with family members involved in the conflict. I felt the book was talking about my grandfather, about my family and about me. For the first time ever, I became conscious of the traumas my grandfather experienced during World War II and its impact on the rest of the family including myself. The thesis, therefore, is part of a deeply personal effort to come to terms with the story of my own family by listening and learning from other third generation people’s experiences.
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VERONIKA LEX was born and raised in Germany. She has been living predominantly in Austria for the past ten years. During her Peace studies, she spent one term in Costa Rica at UPEACE in the MA studies programme of “Peace Education”. Apart from being a mother of two boys, she is currently working as a personal coach for young adults. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
IN RESONANCE WITH LIFE The correspondence of birth
his thesis focuses upon the idea that our inner peace matters for our outer peace work. Using myself and my experience as an example, it is a journey about resonance and correspondence in peace work. I used embodied writing as a method for expressing this concept, and elicitive conflict mapping as a tool to delve deeper into correspondence. ***
This idea evolved into a journey following a part of my life. So as a reader, you will join me for two years of my life through two pregnancies, two births, fluctuating familial situations and many experiences through healing, tantric life school, sound, meditation, and group workshops. I combined this experience with peace work in two different sections of my thesis. In the theoretical part, you will find most of the experiences expressed through embodied writing in order to motivate an impulse to delve deeper into the topic. Regarding my personal experiences with family and birth, you will learn more in the section on elicitive conflict mapping.
The Innsbruck School of Peace Studies The program took the Manifesto 2000 as an argument to gather faculty and students from all around the world to fill these points permanently with new life, to explore our planetary understanding of peace and conflict transformation. From there we concluded that there are as many peaces in the world as there are human perceptions and that the challenge for an academic program is to analyse the relation between these myriads of interpretations, evaluate their predominantly harmonious flow and find ways of transforming the sometimes competing interests. Thereof resulted a Call for Many Peaces, formulating the specific character of this program. Gradually we developed a systematic understanding of different forms of peace. According to our findings the main “families” of peace interpretations are - energetic peaces - moral peaces - modern peaces - postmodern peaces - transrational peaces
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NEW MASTERS OF PEACE The Innsbruck School of Peace Studies
JUDITH OTTER (WT 13/14, ST 14, WT 14/15) is living in Germany and completed her MA thesis in May 2016 under the supervision of Josefina Echavarría-Alvarez. She is currently training to be a midwife at the Charité Health Academy in Berlin. Contact: email@example.com
According to the four leading principles of the program, scientificity, inter-culturality, inter-disciplinarity and orientation on practical experience we try to transgress the limits of conventional modern and postmodern schools of peace studies, which are abundant all around the world. In addition to a first class academic education of the network in Peace Studies the Innsbruck program offers a special field training component designed to integrate academic excellence with the skills required in real conflict situations. Students have to be prepared for the adventure of a very holistic – physical, emotional and intellectual - exploration of themselves, their society and in more general terms of the whole world. Transrational peaces, as defined in this program, twist the division between subject and object; they go beyond the conventional limits of reason; they are not only rational but also relational; they start the search for peace with the deconstruction of the observer’s identity; they apply all the methods of conventional peace studies and go much further. Thereof derives a unique curriculum and the world’s most challenging academic training program for peace workers. Applicants shall know that we do not only say that, we mean it and we do it!
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WHY MIDWIVES ARE PEACE WORKERS.
A conceptual contribution to the philosophy of transrational peaces
uring my first semester of Peace Studies I was searching for my personal passion and professional qualities. Almost by accident I discovered the work of midwives and decided to do a midwifery internship during the online phase of my second study term in Innsbruck. That is where the idea for my thesis topic was literally born, as I experienced many parallels between a midwife’s attitude towards birth and the elicitive approach to peace and conflict we learn about in Innsbruck. ***
My research is a journey across the manifold notions of midwifery viewed through the lenses of the five peace families. Thereby I especially shed light on a midwife’s qualities vis-à-vis the portrait of the transrational peace worker and point out strong parallels. The research was for me, in addition to a general curiosity and passion, a point of deep personal inquiry. I took the opportunity to weave into the academic and philosophical work reflections of my personal and professional journey, in particular asking myself whether and how I would want to be a midwife. Additionally, my thesis includes two interviews with an experienced home birth midwife as well as a couple who delivered their third son at home. It was my wish to find a remote place in the countryside where I would do nothing else but write my thesis. This wish came true for me in a very small village in Brandenburg, outside of Berlin, where I lived together with my boyfriend for almost the entire thesis writing period. I needed to be in isolation and enjoyed fully diving into my topic and the process of writing. Altogether the writing of this thesis has been a journey to my heart and has touched me deeply in various ways.
TOBIAS RABANSER (ST’12, WT’13, ST’13) lives and works in Berlin. He has experience as workshop facilitator for the topics of conflict, violence and poverty. Currently he is interested in facilitating group processes in organisations. His thesis advisor was Wolfgang Dietrich. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ar ti st of t h e volu m e
PEACE, SEXUALITY, AND FAMILY
A theoretical inquiry into the blockages at the persona’s layers of sexuality and family from the perspective of the humanistic psychology as a transformative approach to elicitive conflict work
he academic purpose of my master’s thesis was to increase the understanding of the fundamental dynamics at the core of human relationships which hinder us human beings in our peace. I assumed that personal blockages are central to conflictive processes. These blockages are defined as a barrier which disrupts the natural urge for the dynamic equilibrium of the self-regulatory quality of open systems, preventing the person from experiencing fully, and from self-actualizing as described in the person centred approach. Based on the writings of John Paul Lederach and Wolfgang Dietrich, I focused on the blockages in the layers of sexuality and family. The main research question focused on how an unblocked flow of the homeostatic balance in the sexuality and family layers can be facilitated. I split the main research question into the sub-questions of how blockages at those two layers manifest, how a person can become aware of the blockages, how those blockages can be transformed, and how these findings can contribute to elicitive conflict transformation. I used the writings of the person-centered approach, the Gestalt therapy and Satir’s approach to family therapy, as three different lenses to find answers to my research questions. Additionally, as a reflective process, I identified and discussed potential blockages in the layers of sexuality and family of my own societal background and compared my first-hand experiences with findings from the literature of different fields.
ANNA-PIA RAUCH lives in Austria and has a diverse family and educational background in art education, ceramics, (earth) architecture and movement oriented body therapy. She is the mother of a three-year-old child, works as an art teacher and facilitates workshops with children and adults to get in touch with their primal capacity to connect to the surrounding elements and their selves. Contact: email@example.com
On a personal level, writing the thesis was a creative and healing process. It was fun to engage with the literature and to apply and discuss it within the thesis. I reflected about my own social background, personal patterns and own blockages. It was a journey into my own past and present with a healing effect on my present awareness and my close relationships.
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Also for the next volume, we would like to open the floor for alumni, students, faculty and peace facilitators to contribute to the magazine. We would very much like to see you engaged in any way you think is possible and feel passionate about. If this resonates with you â€“ please reach out to us. If a revolutionary moment shakes up the status quo and opens new spaces to do things differently we very much need you as editors, networkers, fundraisers and storytellers to contribute to that transformation as such. The vision for our new Many Peaces Magazine team structure is that all people involved facilitate a certain section of the magazine with a team of coordinators in the center who moderate the content, layout and overall logistics. In case you feel drawn to work on the intersections or simply want to share your ideas and passions please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org to contribute as an editor, proofreader, article contributor or get involved with fundraising and magazine promotion!
ates Paulyfoauctilit d la ograapnh y phot
What do YOU wanna do? 66 - Many Peaces Magazine #5
Manon takes car of the overalle lo gistics
Call for Contributions Mayme coord inates the editorial process
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THE EDITORIAL TEAM Editorial
Design & Photography MAYME LEFURGEY is a Ph.D. Candidate at The University of Western Ontario and currently lives in New Brunswick, Canada. She is pursuing a collaborative degree in Womenâ€™s Studies & Feminist Research and Transitional Justice & Post-Conflict Reconstruction. Her dissertation explores yoga as a method of elicitive peacebuilding, specifically looking at community rehabilitation and conflict transformation efforts in post-conflict settings. Contact: email@example.com
PAUL LAUER is based in Vienna and works as a junior researcher at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig. He is a lecturer at the Institute of Environmental System Science in Graz and facilitates seminars on team building and conflict transformation. His research interests are focused on intrapersonal conflicts linked to social ecology. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewing Editor SHIBANI PANDYA was born and brought up in Mumbai, India and she is currently following her dream for gender equality by challenging the norms and stereotypes that encourage violence against women in Singapore and Asia through her work at UN Women.
MANON ROELEVELD is currently based in Vienna, Austria and works at the University of Vienna as a doctoral program coordinator. In July 2015 Manon graduated from the MA Program for Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck. Her thesis was supervised by Norbert Koppensteiner. In the summer 2015 she has worked at the International Peace Institute, has volunteered with Don Bosco in the refugee camp Traiskirchen, with PROSA, organizing workshops with and for refugees and she worked with a start up NGO called IPA, which focuses on the development of different projects related to refugees. Contact: email@example.com
Reviewing Editor VLAD TOMA has just recently graduated from the MA Program for Peace in Innbruck. His passion lies in exploring the experience of being alive and in non-duality. Vlad holds weekly meetings in Toronto to create a space wherein such exploration can occur. He is currently doing research on technological means to explore mindfulness and forms of engagement beyond language and thought.
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FERN WATSON has a PhD in theoretical physics, is a trained editor, and has a strong interest in social issues. She is currently working as a computer programmer and living in Vienna, Austria.
Many Peaces Magazine - Volume 5 - 2017 - 01 Published by Modul7 Rettenberg 106, 8441 Fresing, Austria Editorial: Paul Lauer, Mayme Lefurgey, Manon Roeleveld
The Many Peaces Magazine is made possible by the financial support of cooperation partners, sponsors and donors. If you would like to support our project, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
With the kind support of:
Imprint: PUBLISHER: Modul7, Rettenberg 106, 8441 Fresing, Austria EDITORIAL TEAM: Paul Lauer, Mayme Lefurgey and Manon Roeleveld LAYOUT: Paul Lauer PICTURE EDITING: Paul Lauer COPY EDITING: Shibani Pandya, Vlad Toma and Fern Watson COVERPICTURE AND ILLUSTRATIONS: Anna-Pia Rauch LOGO DESIGN: Paul Lauer
VOLUME 5 2017 - 01 “THE ACT OF ‘SEXUAL HEALING’ MEANS TO LEAVE BEHIND THE IMPOSED IDENTIFICATION AS VICTIM AND RECOVER A SELF DETERMINED PROTAGONISM.” Corinne Lehr
“VIOLENCE HAS A DEEP IMPACT IN MANY WAYS ON HOW WOMEN CAN GAIN AGENCY TO SHAPE AND RESHAPE THE WORLD.” Jenny Pearce
“LITTLE DID I KNOW THAT MY MIND WAS ALREADY CONDITIONED IN A WAY THAT ALLOWED ME TO ENJOY THE WORLD AROUND ME AS A FEMALE FORM, THOUGH THROUGH A MASCULINE OUTLOOK.” Ori Talmor
“WHILE IT APPEARS EASIER TO TREAT MYSELF MORE GENTLY AND WITH MORE SELF-RESPECT NOW THAT I AM TASKED WITH THIS RESPONSIBILITY, I AM ASTONISHED THAT IT NEVER OCCURRED TO ME PRE-PREGNANCY TO TAKE BETTER CARE OF MYSELF.” Christina Pauls
“EACH WOMAN CARRIES HER BUNDLE OF PERSONAL TOPICS AND WE CAN GIVE EACH OTHER ENCOURAGEMENT AND STRENGTH.” Christina Egerter
Magazine for Conflict Transformation Across Cultures