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Canada's Conservative government has embraced the bicentennial as a chance to inspire and inform, calling it 'the Battle for Canada', and devoting $28 million (3 years of funding, ending March 31, 2014) to commemorations, re-enactments and education. See the official website : 1812.gc.ca
Why do we have to keep glorifying war, disguised as education to promote tourism? What about celebrating our pioneer farming history and the history of people who used their hands and efforts here in Canada to make our country what it is? We could learn some real lessons from that kind of history. We don't learn too much that is useful from glorifying war.
Here are 2 recent aticles which annoy me:
- Canada Day 2012 to salute War of 1812, The Canadian Press, Jan 8, 2012 — Details of the War of 1812
- Defence Department Looking to Buy New Uniforms….from the War of 1812, Otawa Citizen, Jan 12, 2012 — How the Harper government plans to dress 20 Royal Military College students in historic uniforms.
More and more concerned people of the world are speaking out for the creation of a new way of thinking. The January 19th, 2012 the United Nations DPI/ NGO Briefing: Culture of Peace: Amplifying the Unseen and Unheard Voices of Peace (2 hour video) examined the role of the culture of peace in today's interconnected world as a vehicle for human development and for ultimately realising the 8 Millennium Development Goals.
As defined by the UN, the culture of peace is 'a set of values, attitudes, modes of behavior and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiations among individuals, groups, and nations.' That concept encompasses tolerance, disarmament, sustainable economic and social development, democratic participation, gender equality, freedom of expression, and respect for human rights.
The transition from a culture of war to a culture of peace requires the transformation of individual modes of behavior and institutional practises. Learning to live with peace and harmony is a long-term process which begins with inner peace and nurturing of attitudes and practises that promote the expansion of peaceful principles. Education plays a key role in this process.
In looking at Canada's role in this transformation, here are some things that our leaders and ourselves could do to create a safer peaceful world:
- Cease the warrior mentality such as the development of $15 billion F-35 stealth fighter-bombers, and instead concentrate on building capabilities for rescue work, fighting fires and crime.
- Urge world leaders to stop the development of intercontinental missiles, atomic and other weapons of mass destruction including land mines and soldier-robots.
- Create a cabinet-level Department of Peace for Canada, with full support for training peace professionals.
- Develop a generously-funded program in schools, universities and libraries honouring the real heroes of the country esp. in agriculture, settlement history, education, medicine, science, industry, literature, culture, humanities, sports, and politics.
- Stop buying violent toys for children. Consider purchasing co-operative games where everyone works together to win.
- Ultimately, declare that war is a crime against humanity. The new mantra ought to be the creation of a nonkilling society. Peace is the way of the future — for our children and our children's children.