The main true antigen to the violence of conflicts and wars, lies in its opposite, ‘the solidarity of humanity’ understood not merely as a hypocritical virtue or disguise.
Solidarity is the power to stop pain, evil, suffering, and keep alive the seed of Peace; it is a dynamic and lively virtue, it defends and promotes the inestimable dignity of the person and takes care of the common good. It is the guardian of the relations between individuals and peoples, and a solid commitment to tenderness and another human being calls us; it is an abandoned and injured face, dumb and a victim of violence.
This power is great and it is not specific only to governments, armies and diplomatic corps. There is a ‘third big way’ in the prevention and management of conflicts, it is still largely unexplored and undervalued by the institutions, but it exists, and it is the heritage of many experiences in the world.
“The role civilians might play in preventing and managing conflicts is largely underestimated and it “absolutely has to change” (Alexander Langer). Living together with those who live in war zones is the beginning of every direct action to tackle violence.
Civilians’ antigen of non-violence, as a serum against every war today, is already active today in several direct experiences: this injection is being there and sharing with the victims of the conflict. Because conflicts need to be inhabited and civilians have decided to no longer be victims, but the protagonists of peace, building and living with those who experience war in first person is a very powerful form of energy, much more powerful than that of (nuclear) arms, it is an injection of humanity that keeps the heart of Peace alive.
The active non-violent and creative force of the civilians has resulted in intervention operations, accompaniment, mediation, complaint, protection, reconciliation, animation and is characterized by closeness: sharing life with all the victims on several fronts of the conflict, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, and political affiliation. The peacekeeping and peacemaking activities of the civilians is based not on the coercive security as peace warranty, but on building peace starting from the bottom, as a safety shield.
The process of inclusion of unarmed interventions, which are nonviolent in peacekeeping operations on an institutional level, has only started a few years ago. Nonetheless, there are projects and pilot schemes within civil society initiatives and non-governmental organizations. We mention some of the most significant Italian experiences such as those related to the idea of the White Helmets, translated into a draft national civil service conducted by several accredited bodies and by the ”Operation Dove ‘, with interventions in Lebanon, Palestine, Colombia, Albania, and other countries.
Civil Defense is the active contribution the citizens can make to the security of their country, opposing attempts to aggression, invasion or infiltration at the hand of States, groups, or external powers, and strengthening coexistence and of the democratic institutions of a country, protecting them from the risks of internal implosion. (…) It is grounded in two scientific assumptions: 1. The defensive ability of a people is different from its destructive abilities; 2. In today’s complex societies, the defense of civil and political institutions is more important than the mere defense of the territory’. Signs of the times require the establishment of a new ministry, the Ministry of Peace.