JohanGaltung wrote about the difference between negative peace and positive peace.For Galtung, the first only implies the cessation of violence, while the secondrefers to the resolution of the underlying causes that led to the conflict.

Although this understanding is perhaps too binary, which is clear in SierraLeone is that, although there is indeed security, it is not understood how theinjustices and complaints that sustained the conflict have not been addressedin any way. Instead of building peace, it seems that the current model is bestdescribed as a peacemaking mode. Instead of security and sustainabledevelopment, Sierra Leone seems to have only security and misery. (Negative versus Positive Peace) I believe that more investmentin basic social services would be a much more pressing priority than relysolely on security, democracy and markets to deal with issues that arefundamentally linked to unequal distribution of resources. Education could playa much more positive role in post-conflict reconstruction, but remainsmarginalized among the current UN approaches.

            Educationhas not been unscathed to this destruction. It is calculated that up to 70% ofthe school-age population had little or no access to education during the war,leaving the legacy of a lost generation. The World Bank estimated that in 2001,only 13% of the schools in Sierra Leone remained usable. Thousands of teachersand children were killed, mutilated or displaced, and many more were recruitedby force or voluntarily into the ranks of the different warring parties. Whilethe soldiers of the United Nations were instructed to ensure peace, a processof post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation was initiated.

Someresources were directed towards education, but most of the international aidwas to ensure security, facilitating democracy and creating a positive climatefor international investment. This triad of security, elections and markets hasbecome the standard recipe for the construction of peace promoted by the UN andis generally known as the Liberal peace thesis. (Liberal Peace andPeace-Building)            Underlyingconflict are decades of colonial mismanagement and post-colonial and corruptionin one of the world’s poorest countries. The immediate catalyst for the war wasa structural adjustment plan, imposed by the International Monetary Fund andthe World Bank, which decimated the public expenditure which was formerlydirected to social services.

URF has found ample support between a marginalizedpopulation, particularly in the areas of the east of the country. The war wasbloody and cruel, with all the sides to commit atrocities, without any onecould win. At the beginning of 2002, the war was officially declaredterminated, without winners and with an unstable peace. Between 50,000-75,000people were killed and more than half of the country’s population wasdisplaced.

(The Causes of the Sierra Leone Civil War)            Thewar in Sierra Leone began in 1991, when United Revolutionary Front (URF)members attacked cities near the border with Liberia. URF claimed that itsmission was to overthrow the single party regime of the Congress of all people,which were in power since 1968, and to deploy democracy. (The Causes of theSierra Leone Civil War)- Eleven years after the end ofthe civil war in Sierra Leone, the country is a successful case of the UnitedNations and the international intervention.


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