Life is said to be the characteristics that distinguish physical entities with biological processes from those that do not. Also, life is a process, not a substance, and so, several things determine how life is well-lived or not. It is essential also to note that several forms of life exist. According to McKay’s words, life is considered characteristics of something that preserves, furthers or reinforces its existence in the given environment. This definition of what life is further proves the point that Peace, peaceful co-existence and peace development is what everyone must embrace to enjoy optimum health. It becomes imperative for everyone across the board to ensure that Peace is sustained at all times.
What then is Peace?
In the word of the wise, Albert Einstein said: “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” Often, the word peace is tagged as relative, and there is a truism in it. For example, a particular town can be relatively peaceful while the cities or communities surrounding the same is experiencing war. Peace as it is, means to be free from rancour, disturbances, and a period where there is no war. In a broader form, Peace is a concept of societal harmony and friendship in which there is no hostility and violence of any kind. Peace can be experienced between persons, and it could be between groups (such as villages, communities, towns and even countries). What matters is that there is an absence of war, conflict and disturbance.
In her own words, Carol A. Grojean posited that Peace is not the absence of conflict. Still, the absence of violence and she opines that what creates and sustains Peace are those attitudes, information, and structures that support a communal society in which all people have equal rights and access to basic needs. She maintained that the most significant cause of violence is the perceived gap between the haves and have nots. Whether the have nots are our forefathers wanting freedom of oppression from the king or those in poverty seeking a better life. When the perception of upward mobility is not there and when the actions of our leaders are no longer matching the morals of the people, then peace moves towards conflict and eventual violence—if not assuaged. Civil resistance is a leading indicator of impending lower Peace, and Peace is a prerequisite for survival.
Carol gave the five stages of conflict as follows:
- Durable Peace
- Stable Peace – Peacetime diplomacy
- Unstable Peace – Preventative diplomacy
- Crisis – Crisis management
- Violence – Cease-fire negotiations.
From the preceding, you will agree with me that there are factors that propel Peace; these factors, as contained in Carol’s work, is tagged as “8 factors of positive peace.” It is advised that humans focus on achieving this to have a sustainable and reasonable level of Peace. These are:
- Well-functioning government
- Equitable division of resources
- Free flow of information
- Good relations with neighbours
- High levels of human capital which increases life expectancy and increases literacy
- Acceptance of the rights of others
- Low-level corruption
- Sound Business environment
When Peace is missing
When there is no peace at a place, the effect is always catastrophic! The effect on the general health and well-being of nations and affected people is not pleasant. Conflict and violent of any kind, irrespective of what causes it results in more mortality and disability than any significant disease. It leads to the destruction of communities and families and often disrupts the development of nations’ social and economic set-up. Other effects of war-ridden areas include long-term physical and psychological harm to children and adults, as well as reduction in material and human capital.
Peace in relation to life development
There is nothing as good and productive as having a peaceful environment! The human minds function at its best, manpower and productivity are enhanced, and there is always human and capital development at the time of Peace compared to when Peace is missing.
Peace is essential for development as it creates an enabling environment for the fundamentals of a society’s progress: human capital formation, infrastructure development, markets subject to the rule of law, and so on. In the absence of Peace, education and health structures break down, systems to provide infrastructure disintegrates, and legal commerce is crippled. Critically, Peace also frees up resources, both financial and human, that would otherwise be diverted to controlling (or creating) violence.
Intuitively, we’ve long known that Peace and development go hand in hand – generally speaking, the more peaceful a society, the more prosperous and stable.
Peace in relation to Optimum health
The absence of peace subjects people to horrible health conditions. The health care system becomes threatened, and there is always an increase in morbidity and mortality rate. Women, children and other vulnerable groups become more susceptible to an inimical situation. War, violence, and conflict is not something anyone should desire as the quality of life becomes reduced, and the effect is longer than imagined. We must all put in our very best to build a peaceful relationship in our villages, communities, cities and nation. By doing this, we are preserving our health which will in turn give a boost to our overall health and well-being.
At Life and Peace Development Organization LAPDO, we are putting all our efforts together to ensure that we have a stable social, economic, and political environment with quality life and secured Peace for all Nigerians. This is evident in our past, present, and even future engagements, and so we enjoin all to embrace Peace at all time!