Huffpost Impact
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Doug Noll Headshot

The Power of Peace

Posted: Updated:
Print

A lot of people are cynical about peace. They believe that peace is weak. Peace is for the lefties. Peace is not possible against evil. Peace is an artifact of wishful thinking of the faithful. These people believe that in power there is strength. In military might, there is security. In real realpolitik diplomacy, there is only room for collaboration if it benefits one's own interests. These people talk loudly about peace, but practice war and violence.

However, a group of women, part of a very select part of human society, are proving how wrong these "serious" thinkers are. They work in one of the darkest, most violent environments on the planet. They themselves have been both victims and perpetrators of violence. They have learned that violence is not the solution to conflict.

These women have proven that the hard work of peace pays off. At first, they were, like many people, skeptical. In fact, they had reason to be skeptical. In their community, violence was a way of life. To be passive was to invite harassment, exploitation, and misery. Only the tough and the violent thrived.

They learned they were wrong. They learned the power of peace. And in their work, they have significantly reduced violence in their community.

They have made their homes and their community safer, more pleasant, and more joyful. They have themselves transformed from rough, violent, cold, uncaring, humans to loving, compassionate, patient, and wise beings.

They haven't done it by singing "Kumbaya" around the campfire. They haven't done through prayer or yoga or any other old age or new age spiritual practice. They haven't done it through sit-ins, protests, advocacy, lawsuits, or war.

They have done it by hard, courageous work. They have taken on the most difficult work a human can be called to perform; they have become real, on-the-ground, in-the-dirt peacemakers. They step into conflicts that would make the most seasoned international diplomat quail. They have stopped riots, prevented vengeance, and worked with evil.

Who are these remarkable women?

They are convicted killers serving life sentences in the largest, most violent women's prison in the world. They have reduced violence in the prison. In doing their work, they have turned life sentences into lives of service.

I say to you Mr. Obama, Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Assad and the rest of the world leaders who profess peace and practice war, learn from these lowest outcasts of society. Maybe these murderers can teach you the power of peace.

For if they can be effective, powerful, transformative peacemakers, so can you. But don't take my word for it. Check out this YouTube video, POP Mediators Speak, and let them tell you themselves.