Reflection on “Peacebuilding: Women in International Perspective”

In our society today to resolve a major problem we go through the judicial system and settle the situations in the court of law. This is the fundamental way that our country has always done things and I personally do not seeing it changing at anytime in the near future because that is what we are used, and as we know and have seen rapidly throughout this semester one of people biggest fears is the unknown and change. However the first section of chapter nine brings up an excellent point about this system “ In the courtroom there is no real opportunity for empathy and recognition or apology and forgiveness. There is no real encounter or dialogue between the parties. The system does not work to heal people or relationships. Lawsuits almost always exacerbate anger, wounds, divisions and desire for revenge. (P.120)”. I am personally someone that has always taken the side of the traditional way of justice and the wrong doers should get what they deserve, equal to the harm that they have done. However while reading this chapter in Porters book I took a step back and eliminated my biases, I realized what a great point he was making. I could personally not think of one example were both parties of opposition have walked out of a court room and their relationship has gotten better, with out any hard feelings about what had occurred previously to the court hearing. The reason for this I feel is because that is what our system set us up to do it clearly does not lead to any sort of mutual understanding and forgiveness between the two sides. This is a huge issue because all of these issues are never going to be settled between the people involved, yes they may be they are settled “legally” but what does that truly even mean shouldn’t we be more interested in enhancing the lives of the people involved in the conflict oppose to trying to find the wrong doer guilty. The best-case scenario that I could see occurring would be some sort of integration between our justice system and some sort of truth commission that we have seen occur around the world.

Restorative Justice could be the answer for the objective viewpoint that our justice system has. The advantages of restorative justice compared to the traditional retributive justice is that restorative is not focused on solely trying to find and “winner” and a “loser”, which leads to a clear split between the two parties. What restorative justice does is try to bring the two sides together and collaborate some sort of mutual understanding and agreement to make the relationship better. Its not necessarily looking to specifically punish someone rather identifying the problems that caused the wrongdoing and what could be done to prevent or stop this problem from reoccurring. The another thing that is does that I find to be the most important is “restorative justice is able to see the offender in context, but, more importantly, gives the offender the chance to take personal responsibility for the action that harmed another human-being to make things right (P.123)”. I think that this is the most important thing because I feel like in our society most people that commit a crime or do something wrong spend most of the time trying to run away from the situation to avoid any sort of punishment, appose to stepping up as a person and admitting to their wrong doings. This is the only way that conflicts can truly be resolved when people realize what they have done is wrong and that their actions have impacted the lives of others and or the society that they live in, in a negative way. However as much as I do agree with this restorative justice I still believe that this can alone could not be our only way to approach justice for crimes that people have committed. I think that there still must be some sort of retributive justice so that the people that have harmed others to receive some sort of punishments. A confession and an apology could not be their only consequence for the crimes that they have committed. Like I said earlier in this paper we must find and perfect balance between retributive and restorative justice and then that I believe would lead to a perfect legal system that not only punishes people but also makes sure that the conflicts between the parties are corrected and can both leave the court room feeling as one appose to enemies.

The final chapter of Porters books discusses something that I brought up in my last reflection paper and we discussed a few classes ago. Which I find to be essentially one of the most important things, if peacebuilding has any hope of being a world wide thing and for all people to come together to work out problems in hope for becoming one. That is having a central place for people to go and have these meeting of peace and discussion on how we could make worldwide peace a reality. The largest difficulty with this is finding somewhere that no matter who you are race, ethnicity or religion can go and feel absolutely zero threat where you can truly open up and speak about your true feelings. His example of Holy Communion is a great one because any one who experiences that same ritual will feel that deeper that human connection with one another and that is when we can truly find peace with one another. The best part about is that every single Christian has experienced it and truly could understand how powerful taking that communion truly is. “I am going to share with all my friends the deepest lessons of my journey in faith as a Christian, believing that this is the greatest gift I can offer, knowing that others will share with me the rituals where they find the deepest meaning (P.132)”. I completely agree with him that every single person that is Christian will know exactly what he means, however I see one huge problem. How about everyone else throughout the world that is not Christian? How are they truly going to relate to something that they have never experienced? Yes maybe they can understand the surface level of what you feel because they also go through similar rituals in their religion however they will not connect with you at the level in which a fellow Christian will connect with him on. That’s is why I feel like there must be something else and another place. Somewhere where everyone comes together no matter what his or her religion might be. Somewhere where you go through similar rituals with people that you would have never seen your self-having a connection with. True peace throughout humanity will never be reached until we truly have a situation like this. However I do understand how difficult and large scale a proposition like is, however I do truly believe we will never become one until that is reached.


Porter, Elisabeth J. Peacebuilding: Women in International Perspective. London: Routledge, 2007. Print.


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