By Johan Galtung
World Forum on Urban Violence, Madrid, 19-21 April 2017
Mayors from around the world, Ladies and Gentlemen!
To reduce direct violence in cities we have to move from urban violence culture to an urban peace culture and from urban structural violence to a structure of peace. The center of a city should not be a place of shame reeking of the Inquisition. And urbanization should not be justified as modern, seeing smaller town and villages, less violent, as traditional.
Street names should not glorify wars and violent heroes but peace and their heroines, often women. Move warrior on horseback monuments close to the cemetery for symbolic burial. Sculptors could glorify the peace in a sweet family having breakfast, caressing each other–.
And Oslo where I grew up? The police report a different kind violence, by younger perpetrators, even children, unrelated to poor vs rich wards (KK 17 Mar 2017). But the main street celebrates a French general who as King of Sweden and Norway became a bastion of neutrality.
The media matter, indeed–pathologically attracted to violence–they have to reinvent themselves. The cities offer anonymity and places to hide. Media must report violence, but less, and less prominently. Big cities produce the best arts-science-business and the worst violence and exploitation; less in towns, villages and isolated farms. However, violence reporting can be scaled down, be less upfront.
The media must learn to report peace more, and more prominently, focusing not only on violent but on the peaceful wards, exploring why. Thus, the local police and others may offer local deals to gangs, like stopping violence against impunity. Or the whole context may be more peaceful, to be explored and reported upfront.
Media could be rated on violence vs peace reporting, and NGOs could boycott violent and support peaceful media, sustained by prominent actors. Needed, because peaceful media may be economically weak, e.g. run by peace-minded women, in still patriarchic societies.
Families matter, indeed, and Read More »