We only reflect on peace when something tragic happens in our communities but it is something we should focus on daily. This Saturday September 17 the Bangor and surrounding communities will come together to reflect on peace and reconciliation. The End Violence Together rally scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. at West Market Square in Bangor will bring together all generations in order to collectively talk about the social, economic, political, and environmental issues that are the cause of tension in our communities and that have led to confrontations between authorities and civil society across our nation.
Although relatively distant from the incidents that have impacted our brothers and sisters in Dallas, Orlando and other urban centers across our nation, we are reminded by the tone of our governor that things could quickly change for the worse if we do not place peace and reconciliation before vengeance, racism, and systematic hate. We need to hold those who move society toward violence accountable for their misguidance.
I am writing from Frankfurt where I have learned this week, after attending a meeting organized by the historical director of Volkswagen and exchanging ideas with many in the streets, that German citizens and even corporations are going through a process of conciliation centered on social and cultural awareness about the past and their commitment toward a new process of nation building. They are committed to mending their past by building social awareness among future generations, so that history does not repeat itself.
The objectives of the End Violence Together rally also remind me about the recent peace agreement signed between the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) and the government of Colombia, and how finally peace may be achieved after 52 years of civil war. But as a person that lived in Colombia for many years it is sad to accept deep inside that there is a long path between an agreement on paper and implementation of peace on the ground. Peace in this case remains very fragile unless the government and the international system is willing to accept new international political economy structures and internal policy dynamics that will guarantee greater social, racial, gender, and economic equality. Peace will remain a collective dream, as it is in many other parts of the world, unless dialogues of conciliation are put in place and those at fault accept their mistakes and are held accountable for their actions. There is no peace without cultural transformation.
The recent violence experienced by the Standing Rock Sioux at the hands of the Dakota Access Pipeline remind us that we are far from resolving our own internal issues of violence and disenfranchisement. In some parts of the world conversations around conciliation are slowly unfolding while in our local dynamics we continue to deny our own mechanisms of systemic violence.
I encourage the community to gather this Saturday at West Market Square in Bangor so that we can all collectively reflect and move closer toward peace and reconciliation. We need to change the tide, reinvent ourselves from within and focus all our energy on love.