Archive for the ‘peace’ tag
Dave Pell’s NextDraft is a great way to find cool things on the internet. In a recent issue he linked two stories about novel methods schools to improve peacefulness and safety other than the too conventional in America metal detectors and police officers.
- In San Francisco, Quite Time — rebranded meditation — is getting notice. It’s impacts at one school: “In the first year of Quiet Time, the number of suspensions fell by 45 percent. Within four years, the suspension rate was among the lowest in the city.”
- In Philadelphia, a charter school is using “the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), a noncoercive, nonviolent conflict resolution regimen originally used in prison settings that was later adapted to violent schools” to great effect.
Economics, Big Macs, and Coca-Cola
I’ve documented before The Economist’s penchant for unusual economic indicators. The classic example, the Big Mac index — in which the price of the sandwich serves as a proxy for purchasing power parity (PPP), has been unveiled for 2008.
Perhaps more novelly, the magazine’s Africa correspondent, Jonathan Ledgard, offers the intriguing possibilty that sales of Coca-Cola are a signal of how peaceful and prosperous a given area of the continent is. (via Passport)
Apparently dogs, like people, are made peaceful by oppulence:
Adaptations by individual dogs have added up to a dramatic shift in canine culture. Begging is a submissive activity, so today there are fewer all-out interpack wars, which sometimes used to last for months, according to Mr. Poyarkov. Within packs there are more stable social hierarchies that allow the whole group to prosper.
(via kottke.org, where Cliff Kuang is making me feel like a chump)
It’s not surprising that Israel’s 60th anniversary has gotten a lot more ink than the 60th anniversary of the coincident nabka (catastrophe). Yesterday, Elias Khoury wrote an Op-Ed adressing the latter.
Israel has depicted the problem as rooted in the Arab world’s refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist. But even after the majority of Arab states demonstrated their recognition of this right by supporting the Saudi peace initiative of 2002, nothing changed; in fact, things became worse. To Palestinians, the true problem lies in Israel’s rejection of the Palestinian right to an independent state, and in the prevailing Israeli culture’s refusal to recognize that Palestinians were themselves victims of forced expulsion from their lands.
Recognizing the sufferings of the victim, even if they are of the victim of a victim, is the necessary condition for an exit from this long and tragic tunnel. However, as the Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci suggests, it is difficult to maintain the optimism of the will in the face of the pessimism of the intellect.
Pessimism of the will is what we are living today in the Middle East. It is a pessimism that warns not only of the danger of recurring episodes of catastrophe as Arab societies break apart, but of the dismal prospect of an endless war that will provoke future tragedies in the 21st century.
The complexities of the Israel-Fatah-Hamas are often lost on me. But this I was heartened by:
However, Hamas is now attempting to sell the virtues of a ceasefire to a battered people accustomed to talk of “steadfastness” and “resistance”. A group of leading thinkers is to visit universities and hold symposia to convince Gazans that a period of calm will help lift the siege and rebuild their disappearing economy.
Though that hardly means that a resolution is suddenly within sight, I can’t see this as a bad thing.
The CS Monitor asks a question that should be answered quickly (and affirmatively).
The hand-wringing over talking to Hamas reflects a shift away from the black-and-white diplomatic approach of President Bush’s first term to a more realist and results-oriented tendency in the second. If the US can talk to archenemy Iran to get something it wants in Iraq, the reasoning goes, then why not explore what might be gained from someone sitting down with Hamas?
I’m actually a day late, but still interesting. Bonus points to those who knew that is was based on the letters N and D (for nuclear disarmament) in semaphore. More bonus points to those that knew semaphore is flag signaling.
An odd way to find a way to end human wars, but not without value: study other primates. The answer for bonobos:
“No deadly warfare,” de Waal says, “little hunting, no male dominance, and enormous amounts of sex.” Their promiscuity, he speculates, reduces violence both within and between bonobo troops, just as intermarriage does between human tribes. What may start out as a confrontation between two bonobo communities can turn into socializing, with sex between members, grooming, and play.
De Waal has also reduced conflict among monkeys by increasing their interdependence and ensuring equal access to food. Applying these lessons to humans, de Waal sees promise in alliances, such as the European Union, that promote trade and travel and hence interdependence. “Foster economic ties,” he says, “and the reason for warfare, which is usually resources, will probably dissipate.”