Representing Peace in Our Media and Arts

Everyday in the newspapers and on the television, we can get bombarded with negative images and a lot of things that are out of our control.  It is easy for those working in the media, to forget about the struggles of everyday men and women, especially in the SAARC region.  How do real people surviving in more difficult circumstances, manage to find peace and happiness in their everyday routines?  How do the special community members bring represent peace in the stories they have, or the songs they sing?

When a traveler from the United States clicks on some article in the “International” section and reads about tensions between some two countries, one could just form early judgments that are ignorant to real people that are finding ways to keep going everyday.  If   those people made their arts and medias about the little but thoughtful things they do to find happiness and peace of mind; then those readers sitting in easy comfortable spaces could see that there is always more than one story to define a nation.

Hopefully, the international section of a newspaper will have more coverage of people’s songs or real stories rather than be an opinion.  Sure, a history buff may be more inclined to search for coverage of a particular story from multiple countries’ media coverage, but these cases are not like the groups of people who voice their views the loudest amongst casual readers.

In order to achieve peace, an important step will be creating a greater variety of awareness in the different types of people involved, to readers who may form early or biased views.  Because most humans on the planet, quite honestly, would rather live their lives peace, happily, and quietly.  When one person who is being interviewed from a comfortable or cushy filming location, by saying one specific country is an instigator, is miscommunication and can lead to everyone becoming confused.  But we can be ready for this journey to friendlier relationships as we collectively spread information and discuss peace.

How to De-escalate

When we encounter a potentially threatening situation, a lot of times we lack the confidence to handle it any other way except for the fight or flight method.  But one of the most useful tools anyone could have in preventing something from escalating into a possibly violent conflict, is the ability to de-escalate the intense flow of emotions of those involved.  Remember, both of the parties will have a much better chance of getting their needs heard and goals addressed if everyone can first discuss things calmly and in an organized fashion.  Let there always be a turn for someone to speak, and those listening should also be able to calmly disagree if that is the case.

But where do you even begin in learning how to chill out folks who may even have angry, flushed faces?  It can be very intimidating at first, but being observant is the first step.  It will help to know the habits of a person when they are nervous.  The sooner you can recognize signs of anxiety in its beginning stages, the better.  If you cannot understand exactly what it is important to that person, then asking clarifying questions (not telling him or her what to do) will help so they know that you really are listening and paying attention to his or her needs.

In any case, preparing for a potential crisis before it happens will be the most beneficial.  Especially having more than one of you to mediate will mean that attention to give will not be in short supply.  Thanks for reading and have a great day.


Realistic Worries

Sometimes when life’s moments seem too difficult to handle, one can forget even the colors or sounds of the things they encounter everyday.  It can take a lot of strength just to start each task with a fresh and clear mind.  A bad beginning to one day can potentially set off a cycle of other poor starts to all the things that need to be completed in one day.  Most of the time your worries are realistic because danger means one mess-up won’t mean getting just a slap on the wrist.  But if you cannot set realistic goals and remember them when things go wrong, those worries could be what hinders your growth as a person.

To organize your thoughts and help plan better for the future, a great first step is to just pause.  For a lot of folks under the many stresses of common life, this is a lot easier said than done.  One of the simplest ways of getting over that first hurdle is enlisting the help of a totem.  When you have a small, personal object to keep on you at all times, remember to look at it during stressful situations and observe its details:  how heavy does it feel in your hand right at this very moment?  What kind of shadow does it cast on your palm in this lighting?  Focusing on this familiar thing, but searching for a different perspective each time can help bring you back to real time with a clearer mind.

Food and Friendship

Anyone who is still alive today has eaten food at some point in time– that is a guarantee.  A lot of us who have been privileged in our dining experiences can take for granted the  cultural importance of what we eat.  If you were to ask American teenagers what they think is the favorite food of adolescents, they would probably respond with “pizza” or “french fries.”  On the global scale though, we could observe how the favorite food of most teens would most likely be rice or grain.  But what can a simple question like that open the door to creating friendships worldwide?

Eating a meal together with others can begin friendships by bringing together individuals who want to accomplish the same thing:  putting that food into the belly.  Each person may do things just a little bit differently or like certain things more as an individual, but could you ever Especially when eating off of the same plate, there is a certain degree of respect that one must have for their fellow hungry man/woman.  Sharing is important and should be done with consideration and care for others.

When we come together to discuss greater scale problems outside of home, we see it as an exciting opportunity to meet with minds unique to our own.  The lasting friendships that we form at SAARC-sic conferences, while they might not be considered “everyday,” are still based in the spirit of hospitality and friendliness one has while sharing a meal.

Understanding Conflict Made Simpler

These days, it seems like there are so many issues to tackle on the global stage, it is a wonder there are people out there who dedicate their efforts to solving them without getting overwhelmed.  So maybe not all of us are a part of the political sphere. However, taking initiative and a sense of responsibility when smaller, everyday obstacles happen can create better relationships within one’s community.  For even a normal person, great problem solving skills for any situation can begin with understanding what leads to escalation in a potential conflict, and how to de-escalate tensions.

But how exactly do we know when we are seeing a conflict or one potentially?  Strangely enough for most of us we tend to experience the need for this skill, at first, when we are children.  How many of you can remember in your childhood, a few family members who seemed to have more than just a disagreement; or a team of sport players who wanted to take more time being defensive and feeling threatened, than practicing when they lost a game?

Many conflicts can not be resolved right away.  Sometimes it will take patience and empathy, on your part, to understand the parties involved.

What does this mean and why is it important?  Take for instance, difficulties that arise between domestic house cats that are new roommates.  At first, it is very frustrating for most humans to understand why the involved felines may perceive a threat.  But then, if you empathize with each cat’s individual personality, and try to perceive the pain and fears they’ve come across in their lifespans, then it would be clear to see that there are trust issues that will come with respecting each other over time.  And even then, the cats may not form a close relationship– that is something entirely up to them as individuals.

Now, take every instance in the last paragraph where “cat” was used, and replace it with the word “person.”  This is one of the building blocks to understanding what conflict is.