Health and Peace

Posted on August 23, 2013 by

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The current Editor’s Pick article, titled “Peace Through a Healing Transformation of Human Dignity Possibilities and Dilemmas in Global Health and Peace” addresses the challenges of the premise that health is a bridge for peace.  The author, Donna J. Perry, PhD, RN, uses her research within the Israeli-Palentinian conflict as an exemplar of these challenges.  She provided this commentary on her work:

We needn’t look far to see the devastating effects of collective violence.  The daily headlines are filled with tragedies of war across the globe.  Harder to find are the stories of countless acts of peacemakers, struggling to build communities of good relations.  These groups often do not receive the recognition or support that they deserve.  Their actions are sometimes unrecognized and even disparaged because they challenge the very paradigms that perpetuate violence. Yet they continue the struggle for peace, despite obstacles and risks.One such example is the group Combatants for Peace which I discuss in my article.  The Combatants for Peace movement was started by Israelis and Palestinians who had been actively involved in the cycle of violence and who chose to renounce violence and work for peace. These photos from the Combatants for Peace web site illustrate some of their activities.”  I conducted a qualitative study with members of this inspirational group a few years ago that is reported in the book, The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Movement: Combatants for Peace. 

The research study with Combatants for Peace illustrated that members of the group experienced their own transformation and the transformation of those around them.  It was in their personal experiences of change that hope was born and kept alive.  This awareness of the possibilities for human transformation for peace is expressed in the words of one of the Palestinian members of CFP (Perry, 2011, p. 233).

“If I changed . . . the way that I’m thinking, maybe I could change others. . . I feel more powerful.  Really.  Because the power of the human being is in his mind and his ideas. . . if you could change somebody maybe you give him more power . . . He could be a better person.”We in nursing need to be part of this human transformation to build a healthier society.  My doctoral studies were inspired by the conviction that the knowledge gained would help me to help others in a new way.  Led by a concern for the many social problems impacting health, such as violent conflict, social injustices and human rights abuses, I felt that it was important to bring a nursing lens to increase understanding of these issues.  Through research, solidarity and advocacy we, as nurses, can partner with communities to help them create change that advances human dignity.

You can download and read this article at no cost while it is featured on our web site!

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