Involving the People

On the MOP Facebook page Dr. Handelman asks if the negotiations with Iran are wise or silly.  He asserts that we don’t know the answer yet.  But we do know the outcome regardless: The people will pay the price for agreements made or not made by their leaders.

Coincidentally, the apartheid regime in South Africa was formalized in 1948, the same year that five nations attacked Israel the morning after statehood was granted by the United Nations.  Nevertheless, amid much protest, South Africa began to negotiate to end apartheid in 1990. National elections in 1994 brought it to an end.

Dr. Handelman often refers to South Africa as a model for the Minds of Peace project. Much of the success of that conflict which was also steeped in violence, is attributed to the involvement of the people.  Indeed, a 2002 report on South African participation says, “Despite its limitations – dealing with the symptoms of violence rather than its causes and lacking legal force – the NPA (National Peace Accord) helped contain violence, altered the attitude of the security forces and introduced an element of public accountability and pressure for peace.  Author Chris Spies reports that “The exposure of tens of thousands of people to conflict resolution methodologies made a difference in the way many chose to respond to conflict”

More recently, the South African National Peace Project was set up by Ms Patrys Wolmarans to involve the people in bringing peace and equality to South Africa.  She says, “The Peace Project belongs to the people of South Africa. They have to make it happen.” 

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