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Question: Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice? CPNN article: Amy Biehl Foundation for Restorative Justice
CPNN Administrator
Posted: Dec. 31 1999,17:00

This discussion question applies to the following articles:

Amy Biehl Foundation for Restorative Justice
Crime and Punishment Versus the Navajo Way of Harmony
Colombia and Mexico: Diploma on Culture of Peace and Forgiveess
La cultura de la paz y el perdón en un diplomado de Colombia para México
United States: Woods Fund Chicago launches Right On Justice initiative with Northern Ireland restorative justice leader
Moving towards restorative justice in the United States
Belém hosts First Culture of Peace Encounter (Brazil)
Belém sedia I Encontro de Cultura de Paz (Brasil)
Evo asks the judiciary to make the people aware of its reforms [Bolivia]
Evo pide a la justicia que el pueblo note los cambios [Bolivia]
Restorative Justice - Justice as a Value in Brazil
Justiça da paz
Gacaca: Rwanda's Bold Experiment in Reconciliation
Brasil: Justiça Restaurativa será ampliada no Rio Grande do Sul
Brazil: Restorative justice to be expanded in Rio Grande do Sul

For articles since 2016, click here .
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Tony Dominski
Posted: July 29 2004,14:57

Under the prevailing Culture of War there appears to be no choice but to punish and create economic opportunities in building and running prisons where 2,000,000 Americans languish .  A Culture of  Peace, with restorative justice as the ideal, could offer many other hopeful options USA Prisons
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CPNN Administrator
Posted: May 03 2011,05:53

CPNN has received the following comment from Jacob Bauer:

Death of Osama bin Laden – Not a Victory, but Failure

May 13th, 1981, the leader of the largest Christian group, Pope John Paul II was shot four times by a trained sniper. Soon after, the Pope forgave and asked people to pray for his attempted murderer instead of condemning him. Who can forget the image of the man sitting in a prison cell, holding the hands of his would be assassin, calmly speaking of compassion and forgiveness. This is the same man who said, “Violence is evil. Violence is unacceptable as a solution to problems. Violence is unworthy of man. Violence is a lie, for it goes against the truth of our faith, the truth of our humanity.” At the time of the Pope’s death decades later, his attempted murderer mourned along with the world.

    October 2nd, 2006, a lone gunmen enters an Amish schoolhouse and shoots ten young girls whose ages were from 6 to 13 years old. Five of them were killed. He then turned the gun on himself and took his own life. The community, instead of seeking revenge and outrage, sought forgiveness and compassion. They held a collection and sent money to the family of the perpetrator, for they had lost a son as well. Fathers who lost their innocent daughters urged people not to hate the murder, not to hate the person, but the action. "We must not think evil of this man." "He had a mother and a wife and a soul and now he's standing before a just God."

    May 1st, 2011, the world learns of the death of Osama bin Laden, and celebrates it as victory. This however is not a time of jubilation, but a time of reflection. The killing of bin Laden, a mass murderer indeed, is not symbol of victory, but failure. It is a grand symbol of our failure as a nation and as a world to live up to our proclaimed values of forgiveness, compassion, and universal human dignity. The death of bin Laden is a mark of our missed opportunity for greatness; to surpass barbarism, and to surpass the life of contradiction of responding to death with death, by the God-given miracle of forgiveness.

     What are we supposed to do, leave such heinous acts unpunished? Above all, we should not respond to heinous acts with heinous acts of our own. The epitome of human existence is responding to hatred with love, to do otherwise is a failure, not a victory. Our responsibility is to realize the human dignity of all, even those who error greatly.

    What about our own actions? We have responded to a horrible act with the condemnation of two countries to war, turmoil, and destruction for nearly a decade. Our President mentioned rightly last night when informing us of the news of our failure (victory to him), "And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child's embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.” He referred to the thousands killed in the terrible attack on 9-11-2001. He has failed to mention what should also burden our hearts, the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and some say, millions that have been killed through our warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan. They too have value and worth that we should recognize and take responsibility for. They too have families who miss them at a dinner table, if they are lucky enough that that has not been take from them as well. Though they are not of our ‘nation’ they are our bothers, sisters and children among our one human family.  These human lives taken by our hand should too leave “a gaping hole in our hearts.”

    Our president also proclaimed, again rightly so, “But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to.”  But what should we put our minds to? Revenge, war, violence, death? In response to horrible deeds nearly ten years ago, how much better would the world be if we instead responded in values of life, compassion, forgiveness, education, love? It is when we change our goals and values from death to life that we should celebrate, for that is a true victory. Not when a person is killed, no matter the person’s deeds.

    It is terrible that we are celebrating a killing in such a way, no matter who it is. It's moments like these that the world has gone blind from 'an eye for an eye,' proving true Gandhi’s prophetic statement. As a friend of mine has said in response to the events: “There's nothing to celebrate until the wars are brought to an end.” For let there be no mistake, war is nothing but terrorism on a grander scale. War is nothing but grand acts of terrorism by a state instead of by a small group. Each side beats, murders, and commits acts of mass destruction upon the other in the attempt for the terror to be too great for one side to handle. This is what war is, this is what terrorism is.  A true war against terrorism is an ideological war, one that should be fought through education, love, and compassion. A true victory over terrorism is overcoming our own urge toward violence as well, by accepting violence in all its forms for what it is, including war and including the killing of people who have done terrible things, for what they are, “Violence is evil. Violence is unacceptable as a solution to problems. Violence is unworthy of man. Violence is a lie, for it goes against the truth of our faith, the truth of our humanity.”
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CPNN Administrator
Posted: May 21 2011,05:36

NN has received the following comment from Oliver Rizzi-Carlson:

This article was written for the May 2011 issue of the Global Campaign for Peace Education newsletter (accessible at http://www.peace-ed-campaign.org/newsletter/archives/83.html

Peacejacking: Peace Literacy and the Co-optation of Peace Concepts

As I learned about the reported killing of Osama bin Laden, I was shocked by the language used to justify his assassination. In fact, I was taken aback by the stress, the pain, the heaviness with which those words were trying to hold up the morality of yet more violence, and hopelessly clung to its elusive promise. They were propping up violence with peace, forcing a process of co-being into stilts of righteousness; and wishing that just this time mercury might be a cure for poisoning.

We have seen many times the use of ideals of peace and security in justification of horrible acts of repression and exclusion. We have used our own concepts of peace to make a change in those approaches, and our words have often resulted weak, either ineffective in the face of similar language justifying violence, or an outright liability when used with groups that want real change.  

The language of peace has been hijacked and taken from us so that we become ineffective, spending enormous amounts of energy trying to show how “peace” is different from what is done in its name. We need to reroute the moral and neurological connections established between peace and violent thoughts, words and actions. We need to address the cultural violence that justifies its structural and physical expressions and call it by name.

As I was talking with a fellow peace educator about this, my friend Stephanie Knox Cubbon, we came up with a word: peacejacking. An initial definition of peacejack is:

1. to manipulate or use terminology related to peace to justify or promote ideas, words or actions that deny or reduce complexity or diversity; 2. to use terminology related to peace to deny the dialogic process of peace; 3. to use the terminology of peace to create hierarchies, moral differentials or portray a simplistic view of human relationships; 4. to deceptively use the terminology of peace to promote a misleading perception of one's (e.g., government, company, movement) policies and actions.

In our own work, we may want to develop different definitions. What is important is that we have a concept to describe when peace is being manipulated at its own expense in the justification of violence. This is how we can talk about cultural violence in real terms. Part of our work should be to develop peace literacy by pointing out how and why violence makes use of peace to have moral recognition. In fact, without those peace feet, it would not be able to stand.

It is important to note that conceptually violent worldviews, just as oppressive structures of power, hide their true structure – the violence of exclusion. It is up to us peace educators to make apparent the violence and the contradictions contained not only in military attacks or political, social, economic policies, but also in the conceptual frameworks that are used to justify their existence. We live in language, and we must enable each other to create a world, through language, that is truly free of violence. is truly free of violence.

I invite all of us to pay attention to this, and to use the concept of peacejacking to have clarity on what peace is and what it is not; to give peace space to breathe and be understood for the complex and diverse process it is rather than letting it suffocate in a cloud of false connections. Let us reclaim that wisdom of clear relation so that we may use it effectively; so that it will be clear to all who are in pain, including those who peacejack, that there are other ways of dealing with conflict and that violence is never effective, never sustainable. Peace, embracing complexity and allowing all people, all pain and all paths to exist in the same reality, is a different process whose distinctiveness must be made clear so that we may all know where to turn in order to realize our intentions.

In fact, the only reason anyone would peacejack, as anyone being violent must do to maintain a minimum sense of self-worth, is a confusion about how else to respond to violence if not with violence. We peacejack when we are confused, lost while looking for a meaning to the violence we carry out, clinging to only the hope it would somehow have a peace effect. We do not imagine what a peace approach would be like, and we don’t realize that peace starts with the process we implement to create it. As we educate for peace, the idea of peacejacking can help us show and develop peace literacy, and empower us to put in place actions and policies that truly carry the spirit and seeds we intend to make flourish.

As peace educators, let us gently and compassionately disarm ideas that perpetuate violence and at once hurt the object, the listener, and the speaker. Let us show each other our forgotten humanity and how it is different from the blurry image that our eyes, in pain, couldn’t focus on. And let us begin, as always, by looking deep into ourselves to heal and transform the cultural violence that we have inherited. May we compassionately understand the pain that translates into peacejacking, and heal it with our open hearts – so that we may all understand and practice peace anew.


Oliver Rizzi Carlson is Representative at the UN for the United Network of Young Peacebuilders, Operation Peace Through Unity, as well as the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace. He is Sower and Caretaker of the Culture of Peace Organization, as well as Editor of the Global Campaign for Peace Education Newsletter.
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David Adams
Posted: July 14 2014,13:20

On this theme, I encourage CPNN readers to read Restorative Justice for Children in Brazil.
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