Prevention versus Crisis Management in Syria

Jay OwenGlobal Citizen

We at Ethical Markets support  this Statement  by our colleague, Rick Ulfick , Founder of We The World  –  Hazel Henderson, Editor

 Prevention versus Crisis Management in Syria

Nonviolent Approaches that can Prevent and Potentially Resolve Conflicts such as in Syria
Commentary by Rick Ulfik
Founder of We, The World and the WE Campaign at
Co-Founder and Principal Organizer of 11 Days of Global Unity –
Despite the possibility of a Russian-brokered deal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control, I, and many others in the global nonviolent movement for peace, sustainability and transformation, have been frustrated seeing the ubiquitous US media discussions following the August 21, 2013 chemical attacks in Syria. This media discourse has primarily focused on only a few possible choices, all of which are highly problematic, starting with whether or not to strike Syria in retaliation for using chemical weapons; whether or not the US should use the threat of force to ensure that Syria gives them up and enters peace negotiations; whether or not to arm the “moderate” parts of the Syrian rebel forces; what to do about the enormous sectarian tensions that have built up, even if Assad goes, and so on.

There has been little or no acknowledgment of the wide variety of nonviolent steps that could have prevented so many people from dying in Syria since the start of the uprising, and that could have prevented the use of chemical weapons as well. And in fact there are nonviolent groups in Syria that have been attempting some of these practices all along – with very little international support or media coverage. It is the old story of Prevention versus Crisis Management. Are political leaders willing to put a bit of energy and funding into Prevention versus Avoidance-until-they-have-to-deal-with-it? If not, it is only a matter of time before they are in Crisis Management mode at which point we are all affected and only left with poor choices.

In stark contrast to the current Crisis Management style of geopolitical maneuvering, that is so costly on so many levels, we have the hundreds of 11 Days Partners large and small (also see 11 Days Partner Highlights 2013). They offer a rich tapestry of nonviolent practices of Prevention (hardly mentioned in mainstream media) some of which could have prevented, and potentially still can help bring an end to, conflicts such as in Syria:

Multilateral negotiations and diplomacy with all regional stakeholders, UN institutions like the International Criminal Court and other legal instruments for resolving international conflicts, economic and other incentives to reduce and eliminate weapons sales, economic and other incentives to reduce and eliminate stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction regionally and globally, economic and other incentives to encourage ceasefires, mediation, truth & reconciliation, interfaith dialogue, nonviolent intervention with civilian peacekeeping forces, the Nonviolent Peaceforce, fostering a culture of peace through education and 8 Action Areas, restorative justice, Nonviolent Communication, establishing departments or ministries of peace in every country, peacebuilding through ensuring basic human needs and freedoms in every country, funding and supporting democratic governance practices and institutions such as public independent media and freedom of expression, ensuring gender equality and women’s equal representation at all decision-making levels, funding the transition to renewable non-polluting energy sources worldwide.
So the next time someone tells you that nothing much can be done to prevent or address violence in places like Syria, you now have these you can refer to.
All these and more are included in 11 Themes of Change for 11 Days of Global Unity. I invite you to join and support one or more of these 11 Campaigns that together form a blueprint of change for a peaceful, sustainable, transformed world.
Rick Ulfik
Founder of We, The World and the WE Campaign –
11 Days of Global Unity –
11 Ways to Change the World –