David Evans, South Australia and Northern Territory Region Meeting

Positive Peace

 War in the Pacific ended in 1945 when I was nine years old, and as a stamp collector I bought blocks of four of the new Peace stamps; the two and ha’penny; three and ha’penny; and the five and ha’penny. We were all happy the war was over. However, as I reflect back now, dropping atomic bombs and calling it Peace is a unilateral one-sided declaration of Peace, Negative Peace.

For lack of better words Negative Peace includes ceasefires and ending violence.

On 8 May, 2020, the City of Berlin enjoyed a one-day holiday, a Day of Liberation celebrating the 75th anniversary of the ending of the War in Europe and an end to the Third Reich. Writing for American Studies Virtual University, Kai-Arne Zimny in an article entitled “May 8 – Celebrating the End of World War II as a German” writes.[1]

75 years ago, the world sighed in relief. After six gruesome years and over 70 million lost lives, World War II was finally over. May 8, 1945, marked both the end of a ruthless regime and the war in Europe….. At 11:01 p.m., the war in Europe was officially over. In the U.S. and the UK, the day is celebrated as “Victory in Europe Day,” and for decades, May 8 (and in some cases May 9) has been a holiday in various European countries – but not in Germany. However, for its 75th anniversary, the Day of Liberation has been declared a one-time holiday in Berlin.

Day of Liberation, Berlin

Personally, I can remember feeling discomfort talking with German people. One of those I have met recently left her home in Germany aged 9, and says, “I was twenty-five before I got over the embarrassment of

being German”. Change of attitude and thinking is a long-term process. However changes do come, and I feel Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, is one of many inspiring leaders of Positive Peace.


Merrikiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs

On the table for our present government is Makaratta.  How long will it take for us to move forward together?

Makaratta is a complex Yolngu word describing a process of conflict resolution, peacemaking and justice.

“Makarrata has so many layers of meaning,” says Merrikiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs, a Gumatj woman and principal of Arnhem Land’s Yirrkala School.

“The first one, and the main one, is peace after a dispute.

“It can be a negotiation of peace, or a negotiation and an agreement where both parties agree to one thing so that there is no dispute or no other bad feeling,” says Ms Ganambarr-Stubbs.[2]

The “Australian Frontier Wars”

. . . is a term applied by some historians to violent conflicts between Indigenous Australians (including both Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders) and non-Indigenous settlers during the British colonisation of Australia. The first fighting took place several months after the landing of the First Fleet in January 1788 and the last clashes occurred in the early 20th century, as late as 1934. A minimum of 40,000 Indigenous Australians and between 2,000 and 2,500 settlers died in the wars. (Wikipedia)

If 1934 was the last of these lethal battles, it is now more than 75 years since the killing stopped. A Makaratta Peace Settlement is overdue and a Constitutional Permanent Place for the Indigenous Embassy established, financed by the Australian Government. A Hall of Fame for Notable Indigenous Persons might be included.

It is not a question of whether a referendum is needed for this change to take place but rather how many referendums are needed before the answer is YES. A necessary step forward for Positive Peace.


[1] http://blog.asjournal.org/may-8-celebrating-the-end-of-world-war-ii-as-a-german/

[2] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-10/makarrata-explainer-yolngu-word-more-than-synonym-for-treaty/8790452

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