Peace From The Inside #7: Ways Out Of Intractable Conflict And Trauma

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02 Nov Peace From The Inside #7: Ways Out Of Intractable Conflict And Trauma

Dearest friends and supporters,

It is shocking to read that 5 years into the Syrian refugee crisis, an increasing number of child refugees in Lebanon are attempting and committing suicide. Thanks to your support for our annual fundraising event London 10K, we successfully piloted Trauma-Relief, Healing and Empowerment projects with refugees in Lebanon, including children.
In order to be able to respond to the huge demand and urgent need of IAHV programs on the ground, we are looking to deploy a larger team for several years. Fundraising efforts in this regard are still ongoing, including the upcoming London 10K 2016 on 10th July.

In both Colombia and Britain peace is fragile these days, with powerful dynamics from different recent histories shaping as yet uncertain futures.

Coming out of a 50+ year long war with 220.000 casualties, the leadership of the opposing parties in Colombia have prioritised the future of their country and the wellbeing of its population above their differences. They have taken bold steps in working out a peace agreement that addresses the competing demands of truth, justice, forgiveness and reconciliation.

Following the wish of the majority of the British people to leave the European Union (widely considered as an exemplary peace project following the World Wars), the leadership of the opposing parties are shying away from their responsibilities, highlighting their differences, and further polarising a country whose families, cities, ethnic communities and regions have been divided and ignited by campaigns permeated with misinformation.

Just like the negotiators in Colombia have learned and incorporated lessons from peace processes around the world to work through the difficult negotiation process of their “intractable” conflict, we hope the leadership in Britain and Europe does not lose sight of the lessons of history on the dangers of polarising societies, putting the blame on certain groups and leaving a leadership vacuum in times of widespread anger, frustration and anxiety.

In the meantime, the survivors of the attack on one international airport have not yet overcome their shock while another international airport has already been attacked, causing more victims.

We hope the stories below share some hope and inspiration that there are ways out of intractable conflict and traumatic experiences.  
As always, we look forward to your comments, ideas and involvement.
Warm and hopeful greetings,

IAHV Peacebuilding Team

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A woman cries as she watches a live broadcast from Havana of the ceremony of the agreement between Colombian president and the head of FARC rebels on a cease-fire and rebel disarmament deal, in Bogota, Colombia, Thursday, June 23, 2016. The deal moves the country closer to the end of a 52-year war that has left more than 220,000 people dead. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

After 52 years of fighting and several years of peace negotiations, the Colombian state and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have agreed to a peace deal that ends the longest armed conflict on the continent. The negotiation process itself went through crises, and it was during one of these crises in 2015 that IAHV Founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar intervened. At the occasion of Sri Sri receiving the highest Civilian Award for his peace work in Colombia, the Colombian President Santos shared with him his despair that a military approach seemed the only remaining solution. Sri Sri offered to talk to the FARC leadership in Cuba. Following these three days of talks, the FARC leadership announced a unilateral ceasefire and adherence to the Gandhian principles of nonviolence to achieve social justice.

In this video both the FARC leader Marquez and President Santos thank Sri Sri for his timely and crucial intervention in the peace process: “The teachings of Art of Living are essential to achieve a stable and long lasting peace.” (Marquez) “Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the Art of Living Foundation are pearls of peace in a planet tormented by conflicts and violence.” (President Santos)
Art of Living and IAHV will continue their efforts to strengthen the peace process in Colombia by providing programs for healing, trauma-relief, reintegration of combatants, youth leadership and reconciliation.

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What difference does IAHV make for families of youth who have left to Syria? Watch our new series of short clips with affected mothers and sisters who share their experience after the Trauma-Relief, Healing and Empowerment Training in Molenbeek, Brussels, Feb 2016.

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Several weeks after the terrorist attacks March 2016 at Brussels Airport, several Swissport personnel still suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms, including sleeping problems, living off coffee, emotional outbreaks in public and anti-social behaviour such as not leaving the house. Following the trauma-relief training that Swissport requested IAHV and Art of Living Belgium to conduct, the participants reported they put the butcher’s knife with which they had been sleeping under the pillow back into the kitchen, went out into the garden for the first time, reduced their coffee intake to 5 cups a week, could talk openly about what happened, got their sleeping pattern restored instead of waking up 10 times a night, were less invaded by memories, had less emotional outbreaks, went back to the airport for the first time, and smiled again.

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With a team of 10 London 10K runners we aim to raise 20,000 pounds on 10th July for our much needed peacebuilding programs around the world!

All donations will directly support our programs on Preventing Violent Extremism in Brussels, Rehabilitation of Syrian Refugees, Nonviolent Mobilisation of conflict-affected Youth, Improving the Professional Peacebuilding field, Healing and Empowerment of children in Lebanon and Jordan, ….

Kindly spread, donate, join…!

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