Mediation as a tool for nonviolence and culture of peace


This question pertains to the following CPNN articles.

Johan Galtung, recognized as a leading peace educator, has this to say with regard to mediation, addressed in particular to the question of mediation by police:

[There are] different levels of “crime” mainly for the lower classes; “scandal”, “tragedy” for those higher up. . . .The special police for economic crimes are not present at board meetings where super-crimes are concocted. Yet, the local police “on the beat” are often there when lower class crimes are in the making.

How can they mediate? By talking with them, identifying what they want, telling very clearly that crime is illegitimate, and then suggesting other ways of meeting legitimate needs with a new reality.

Case 1: Economic crimes, or with economic roots. A dirt poor family not knowing where the meal next day may come from. The son brings in some money through petty thefts, the daughter by selling her body. Sooner or later they are captured, brought to court, or to “foster homes” to become law-abiding–and the family sinks into more poverty.

New reality: lifting the economic bottom up, meeting the basic needs for food and water, clothes and a roof, health services and education–for dignity, and for participation in the economy as consumers and producers. The police can help organize basic need cooperatives for the poorest in the poorest local communities–with potential and real law-breakers like the boy and the girl mentioned– with sales points directly to neighbors with some money. In a couple of years dignity is restored, the credit is paid back, the whole economy has improved.

Case 2: Crimes for a risky, less boring life. They want to beat the police, playing games at the limit or beyond of legality: fame for a day. Others want to use their bodies in a society designed for the minds of the educated (who can study how to profit from lower class countries and peoples in the Departments of Economics e.g. as “comparative advantages” and “laws of the market”). Alternatives are badly needed.

New reality: Sports, team sports like football for cooperation, using the body, taking risks at the limits of the lines, winning and losing, with a second chance next Sunday. Instant fame. Great.

Another way is Politics, Democracy, organizations, meetings, resolutions, demonstrations, all nonviolent, not using wars, winning and losing, with a second chance in four years or so. Great.

Dear Police Officers, please go ahead– with this, and more. And tell Military Officers about mediation to remove wars and build peace.

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