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The Peacemakers Conference

This page is to give information about the Peacemakers discussion forum. "Peacemakers" is a BBS conference, also available by e-mail mailing list, for discussing the promotion of peace and reconciliation in situations of violence and conflict.

If you aren't interested in this topic, perhaps some of these others may interest you more:

Contents

  1. Current conflicts
  2. The war in Yugoslavia
  3. How to connect
  4. Links
  5. Sign our guest book

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Current conflicts

At the moment most of the news items and discussions in the Peacemakers conference are concerned with the Middle Eastern war of the USA against Afghanistan and Iraq. There has been some news and discussion about civil wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan, the European war of Nato against Yugoslavia and its aftermath and other conflicts.

There are also low-intensity conflicts in various parts of the world. There are ethnic conflicts in Sri Lanka, East Timor and Turkey.

Some of the news items and discussions in the Peacemakers conference deal with some of these other conflicts. There is not space to give details of all of them here, but we have links to other Web sites dealing with peace and conflict resolution, and many of those links will lead to more background information, and of course we hope you will also contribute your own knowledge and experience in the discussion forum.

The Peacemakers discussion forum is intended primarily as a Christian discussion forum, though you don't have to be a Christian to participate. It is intended to be a place where Christians can share something about their own ministry of peacemaking and conflict resolution, and to ask for, and give help to others who are facing situations of conflict.

Even if you don't want to participate in the discussions, please sign our guest book and leave a peace message!

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The war in Yugoslavia

Some personal introductory comments by Steve Hayes

The war in Yugoslavia was one of the bigger conflicts in the last decade - the biggest since the Gulf War, which still continues, though it has largely dropped from the news. After Tito's death in 1980, the Yugoslavia he created after the Second World War began to crumble, leading to civil war in the 1990s, and eventually to many of the republics leaving the federation.

Many people outside the Balkans have tried to interpret this disintegration simplistically, and have looked for the "good guys" and the "bad guys". The Western media have generally settled on the idea that "the Serbs" are the bad guys. And since Nato started bombing Yugoslavia in March 1990, this propaganda has escalated into an all-out hate campaign, with a few dissenting voices here and there. One result of this propaganda is that many people in Western countries think that if one doesn't hate Serbs, then one must be wanting to commit genocide on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Others have given up even trying to understand the situation. The history is too complex and the place names are too unpronouncable. So they ascribe the conflicts there to "ancient ethnic hatreds" and say that outsiders cannot do anything about them, and so should rather leave the people there to fight it out. Such people have a point. In the last ten years, outside intervention and outside interests have tended to exacerbate the problems, culminating in the Nato intervention, which has been self-defeating and entirely destructive. It would indeed have been better not to have intervened at all than to have intervened in the way that Nato did. Many people respond to criticism of Nato's intervention by saying "What alternative did Nato have?" But that is a rhetorical question, because they reject the obvious answer. The alternative Nato had was to do nothing, and it would have been better to have done nothing than to have done what they did.

But it is also a cop out to attribute what has happened in the former Yugoslavia to "ancient hatreds" and to give up trying to understand it. A lot of what has happened has been due to modern political power broking, and unscrupulous politicians stirring up new ethnic hatreds (and other things) to gain or maintain power. As one speaker at the Orthodoxy 2000 conference in Athens in May 2000 said, to applause, "It is not ancient hatreds that cause war, it is war that causes ancient hatreds."

In my own country, South Africa, we were in a similar situation. What is now the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa was in a way the Kosovo of South Africa, and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) was, like the KLA in Kosovo, trying to gain autonomy, or even independence, by violence. Fortunately for South Africa, at the last minute the leader of the IFP relented and agreed to participate in the country's first democratic election in 1994. Also, even more fortunately for South Africa, we had Nelson Mandela and not Slobodan Milosevic, and there was a general will to try to safeguard everyone's rights in a democratic constitution.

We also had the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The TRC has had its problems, and has been criticised by many, but it seems to have had a better chance at bringing about some form of reconciliation than either war crimes tribunals on the one hand, or an endless cycle of revenge on the other. Could such a thing work in Yugoslavia, or in the Balkans generally? I don't know, but that is one of the things that I personally would like to discuss in the Peacemakers conference. If you have any ideas or suggestions, or questions of your own, come and join us.

But even if you don't want to participate in the discussions, please sign our guest book and leave a peace message!

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How to connect to the Peacemakers conference

There are two ways of connecting to the PEACEMAKERS conference - by e-mail mailing list, or through the FamilyNet BBS network.

1. MAILING LIST

To SUBSCRIBE to the PEACEMAKERS conference

you need to send a message to:

Peacemakers

To send a message to the list, send an e-mail message to: family.peacemakers@family-bbs.net

2. FamilyNet BBSs

You can also link by calling a FamilyNet BBS

You can try calling right from your web browser

http://www.family-bbs.net/

If you do, you will reach a log-in screen, and if it your first call you will need to log in as a new user. Then click on "Join conferences", and wait for the list to load (it's quite long). Scroll down till you find FAMILY PEACEMAKERS and maerk it (and any others that interest you), and then scroll on to the bottom of the page and join the conferences you have marked. You will then see a display of the conferences you have joined, and you can click on them to read, reply or enter new messages.

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Links

The Peace Torch links a number of web pages in various parts of the world which promote a commitment to world peace.

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Sign our visitors book!

You are visitor number Counter to this page since 12 February 1998

If the message boards aren't working you may sign one of our guest books instead

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You may also search these web pages for other topics that interest you:

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Created: 1998-09-29
Updated: 16 May 2009

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