Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 4th 2015 Contents A22
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt October 4, 2015
of producing non-exploitative outcomes.
We are seeing now an emergence of a new
legal mindset, one which encourages dialogue
and empathic engagement, which is better able
to secure the sorts of peaceable resolutions to
legal disputes that individuals most desire. But
this ethic of care is one that should permeate
every level of society. It must dominate our rela-
tionship in our family life.
In our first week in mediation month, we will
be looking at our family life. Families are now
going through a radical transformation. The
mother is no longer in the traditional role of the
caregiver. The disputes between young couples.
If we have an ethic of care we will understand
the needs of the husband the wife and the child.
That the child s future depends upon weaning
on the milk of compassion and co-operation,
not the poison of violence and hate.
An ethic of care in our communities will see
stronger communities finding ways to creatively
resolve disputes, creating safe zones for its mem-
bers to talk, to communicate, to deal construc-
tively with issues facing the community.
To step into the lives of its constituents to
counsel and advise, and to be that village that
once raised children. An ethic of care will see
us be more compassionate for our environment.
For companies in our communities it calls upon
them to contribute to the development of com-
munities, to engage in acts of compassionate
We will focus on mediation in communities
in our second week. What will such an ethic of
care do for our teachers, lawyers, doctors, politi-
cians? Our institutions will continue to fail us
if they remain unreceptive to this ethic of care.
An ethic of care will see us re-think our view
of criminality. Not to adopt a we-and-them
approach which only see us isolating ourselves
in ghettoes of gated communities with a false
sense of security. Hoping that the dens of vice
will burn itself out.
Our problem with crime is that we have
adopted an elitist approach of we and them.
Speaking from our experience, criminality was
viewed as collateral damage, the preserve of a
select few miscreants, so that if law abiding cit-
izens simply avoid the hot spots we can ignore
the problem. It was a view taken some years
ago to our detriment, leading right to our doorstep
to the bloody assassination of our sister Dana
Seetahal, a champion of restorative justice and
mediation in the criminal process.
Crime is not a banner that is placed on the
lamp posts to define a hot spot or cold spot. It
is a societal deficiency. It is not their problem,
it is our problem. It is a society in conflict, and
if we do not take leadership roles in transforming
this conflict it will envelop our societies and
create a new culture of zombies, unfeeling souls
feeding on each other to survive, the antithesis
of community. That is not what an ethic of care
calls for. It calls for understanding our common
bond of humanity. If we want to put an end to
recividism in this society we must take a more
mature look at our offenders. They too must be
equipped to understand their actions to be
engaged in a process of healing, and for rein-
tegration of both the victim and the offender in
With this ethic of care we can overcome evil
and attain peace. Peace must not be seen as
some esoteric surreal concept. It is very much
a prerequisite for nation building and productivity.
In the Global Peace Index the economic impact
of violence on the global economy was US$14.3
trillion in 2014, which represents 13.4 per cent
of world GDP. This is equivalent to the combined
economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany,
Spain and the United Kingdom. If global violence
were to decrease by ten per cent uniformly, an
additional US$1.43 trillion would effectively be
added to the world economy each year.
This is more than six times the total value of
Greece s bailout and loans from the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank
(ECB), and other Eurozone countries combined:
"The benefits of peace extend beyond the
absence of violence. This also includes the cre-
ation of institutions and structures that encourage
greater resilience and foster human development.
"Encouraging peace through the development
of the appropriate attitudes, institutions and
structures which create and sustain peaceful
societies both reduces violence containment
expenditure and supports the optimum envi-
ronment for human potential to flourish."
The Report continued: "Humanity is facing
challenges unparalleled in its history. The most
urgent are global in nature, such as climate
change, ever decreasing bio-diversity and natural
resources, increasing migration and overpopu-
lation..., finding solutions to these unprecedented
challenges fundamentally requires new think-
ing...Peace is an essential prerequisite; without
peace, it will not be possible to achieve the levels
of cooperation, trust and inclusiveness necessary
to solve our challenges, let alone empower the
international institutions and organisations nec-
essary to address them...this effort is complex
and calls for a shift to new ways of thinking
"The global village is engaged in thinking
about peace in an active and innovative way. We
are quickly being underdeveloped if we are unable
to create the peaceful environment to deal with
the more serious challenges facing our society
such as global warming, alternative, energy,
health and education."
'Peace begins with me'
An ethic of care means that peace must begin
with me. For this reason, it is important that we
understand that we can empower ourselves. We
can be the advocates of peace and the agents
of change. As a people we must change, we
must become more human. The indigenous
Maori of New Zealand have a traditional greeting
which is not the shaking of hands but the rubbing
of the forehead and noses together. It s a beautiful
symbol of our interconnectivity, that human
touch which I think we have lost but which is
within us. What can this community do to
empower itself to make peace cities? As an agent
of change we at the Mediation Board challenge
the churches to reach out to the broken homes,
to challenged youth, comfort the victim, to
understand the offender, to reintegrate them into
a society...into a more productive relationship.
Not to accept our culture of hate and indifference.
Not to persist in lateral thinking, that if it is so
T&T. To become leaders in peacemaking. Let
us think what can we do differently. To achieve
social justice we have to realise our ability to
heal our own wounds to make peace with our
neighbour, to create the environment for peace
and to creatively and responsibly assert our rights
by accommodating the needs of all. This calls
for the sacrifice of self and egos for an ethic of
care and a deeper understanding of our common
Rabindranath Tagore, that famous Indian poet
and philosopher reminds us that:
"I find that thy will knows no end in me.
And when old words die out on the tongue,
new melodies break forth from the heart;
and where the old tracks are lost,
a new country is revealed with its wonders."
He was talking about regeneration. We have
it within ourselves and in our own creativity to
recreate, to regenerate, and when the old worlds
of the mediocre, unfeeling world die on our
tongues that new melodies of a collaborative
compassionate co-existence may leap forth. It
is the essence of change agents that we can
rethink our purpose, imagine "what if...." and
breathe life to a vision of achieving social justice,
and where old tracks were lost a new country
will be revealed with its wonders.
(Continuing on October 7)
'As a people we must change,
we must become more human'
From Page A9
In our first week
month, we will be
looking at our
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