What does it mean peace for you?

by Carles Castro. Average Reading Time: about 2 minutes.

The perception of peace varies highly depending on the historical moment and the sociopolitical context, but it also depends on culture, religion, and one’s own vital experience. The audiovisual project Peace Capsules aims at offering a view of the diversity of visions and expectations projected on the word ‘Peace’.

The project is a coproduction of ICIP and the journalist group Contrast. People from different backgrounds and countries speak out their answer to the question:What is peace to you? according to their own experience living in a country under a conflict situation or to their commitment against war and in favor of peace.

Starting with the trailer video of the project, which was premiered on Sept 20th, ICIP will upload a new capsule every week on its website. The 52 video capsules that will be published in one year will be available on this website and on the ICIP YouTube channel.

Peace Capsules has its origins in the project Després de la Pau / After Peace, created and produced by Fora de Quadre and Contrast in 2010. By means of a documentary series, After Peace is a work in progress project that aims at explaining and comparing different ways to peace. Thinking of countries which had been through conflict situations such as Bosnia, Lebanon, Rwanda or Guatemala, we wondered if victims and murderers can really live together in peace when the conflict is “officially” considered to be over and, if so, how they manage to do so. We wanted to analyze the processes undertaken by different political, cultural and religious communities, paying special attention to four basic concepts for reconciliation in a peace framework: truth, forgiveness, justice and reparation. Then, we tried to compare how these peace processes develop depending on the political context and the idiosyncrasy of the people (culture, manners, beliefs, judicial systems, rituals and practices, conflict management, etc.) in each country.

Precisely, from getting to know such diverse realities from the very first shooting, we were presented with the best of opportunities to ask each of the persons we interviewed what peace meant for them. Members of victims associations, protagonists of the conflicts, forensic investigators, historians, and psychologists, among others, had all very different responses. Some answered with great determination, some others after a long silence.

At first sight, peace can easily seem a universal concept to which we all agree. However, as we deepen into peacebuilding or reconciliation processes, the conceptualization of peace adopts different shades and may even become a term of debate as well as of resistance because of its polysemy and subjectivization. Peace Capsules is the result of asking the question “What does peace mean to you?” to actors of several armed conflicts, experts on peace and activists from all around the world. Their responses prove that the meaning of peace varies depending on the personal, cultural and historical experiences of each of them. Nonetheless, the answers complement each other and together form a complete and desirable peace; one with no direct violence, but also with no structural nor cultural violence.

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