World’s attempt to foster peace in Middle East with the rest of the world remains a challenge in the 21st century. While the US remains optimistic in the realization of this peace, its relationship with the region gradually threatens the global peace. Studies reveal that the US approaches and strategies of peace building are viably inapplicable for the region. Based on ‘Shank and Schirch’ reading, the essay argues to justify the arts-based strategy as the ideal mechanism for peace building in the Middle East.
Studies show that arts such as music, art, and theater provide a wide range of resources for peace building. Communication, organization, education, and training are some of the tools for peace building, which arts satisfactorily provide. As one of the regions, which highly uphold culture, arts would successfully serve as the efficient communication tool for peace builders in the Middle East. Through performances, artists such as musicians communicate the messages of peace to the society.
In fact, according to Shank and Schirch, Artists have used arts “for centuries to communicate human experience” (218). It can as well build peace in most of these regions. Since most parts of the world uphold music, the Middle East inclusive, the message content would reach widespread groups of people and hence promote peace within the region. Therefore, the US should embrace arts as a tool for embracing of peace rather than the military attacks to the region.
Secondly, arts result into organizations that act as vehicles of peace. Although Hip-hop music dates its roots in America, it has spread to all over the world with the artists ‘virtually organized’ to wage war against political conflicts. African artists have used Hip-hop music to organize and instigate changes within their societies.
Ghanaians for example, through their Highlife form of Hip-hop, continue to raise awareness to positive results on issues such as poverty, AIDS, and corruption. Organization of youth through arts would reduce the number of those involved in violent acts and hence promoting peace in the region.
Thirdly, arts act as a form of education to the society. Shank and Schirch point out various ways of presenting art and among them are illustrations, fictions, and performance. Art forms such as carvings, which depict the effects of violent acts, offer insights of conflicts to the society.
The message content of music and themes of the theater performances could provide a useful base for education and training to the society on peace building. The peace builders in Middle East should take the advantage of love for culture in the region and use cultural arts such as carving, theater to educate and hence nurture peace.
Finally, people who lack self-confidence use violence to express their grievances. Conflict resolution experts assert that music and theater performances provide self-confidence to the people. As Shank and Schirch note, “Artists can use visual, literary, performance and movement art as capacity-building mechanisms to build self-confidence” (226). Arts can therefore provide self-confidence for one’s expression.
The Middle East people ‘feel’ shortsighted by the US and thus in order to express their anger therefore, they attack the US and their affiliates. The peace builders should promote arts in order to create confidence within the region. This will enable the people in that region to express confidence rather than engaging in attacks.
The contribution of the Hip-hop music to peace building in the US is what I found interesting in the reading. From this text, it is vivid that the black people used Hip-hop to struggle for their freedom hence promoting peace in the US. Opponents of military attacks in the Middle East use Hip-hop to protest to the government. What is interesting is that most current Hip-hop music contains love and sexual information rather than peace. Is this Hip-hop or a different kind of art?
Shank, Micheal, and Schirch, Lisa. “Strategic Arts-based Peacebuilding.” Peace and
Change: a Journal of Peace Research 33.2 (2008): 217-242. Web. 22 March 2011.