CAGAYAN DE ORO

Sunio: Peace campaigns for the privileged, mostly

Touché

ARE the poor barbaric? Uncouth? Violent?

Schools already have in their curricula peace and understanding lessons, cultural acceptance, and tolerance towards people of different statuses, culture, or religion.

A lot of tarpaulins, media messages, and public campaigns have also started to propel to forward these causes.

Unfortunately, such campaigns seemed to have not stretched to the majority yet. It is still mostly heard and taught to the privileged -- not to the people who need it the most, yet.

You may expect that these discussions on values are more "refined" among privileged schools and are barely present in depressed areas, yet.

The paradox about poor communities goes like this: some communities are poor because poverty and crime rates are high there while literacy is low. It was also said that poverty and crime rates are high and that literacy remains low that is why there is poverty. People can't seem to be certain which one is the real cause.

In the end, the poor are deprived of the chance to be reformed and become people of character.

What are the most expected results of the lack of values education? Crime, theft, violence, deception, treachery, among others. In depressed and deprived communities, this may be common.

So was it because of their being poor?

I've seen too many peace campaigns already. I've seen them in schools, bustling cities, and decent communities. Some of them, I may have already taken for granted.

I've seen well-dressed kids talk about sharing, love, and peace.

On the other hand, it's rare to see people in the lower strata talk about this. Others would reason out that it was because they did not have education, or that they are too busy surviving to bother themselves of such matters.

Has the peace campaigns already toiled enough to sincerely reach the people who may have needed their messages the most?

Most of the peace messages I've seen in Marawi City alone is written in English. While it is just a matter of "language," accommodation plays a big part in reaching the hearts of your target.

Unfortunately, by merely writing it in English, a subtle implication of the campaign being elitist and not inclusive is already there.

The peace campaigns have yet to wade their way into the farthest municipalities, to places with no schools, to people who are finding it difficult to get by day by day.

The "scariest" and most dangerous places are the ones that need it the most.

As much as the need to survive is there, like finding steady sources of income and food for their families, peace education is also equally important to everyone-and that includes poor families.

It is said that people turn to committing crimes and hurting others not always because of rage, but also because of poverty. There was a need to survive, that is why there is a need to kill or steal.

Others also argue that vices and bad habits also fuel the will of some to commit misconducts, like extortion or deception.

Even with the presence of poverty, better peace and values campaigns may curb or inhibit anyone's -- not just the poor -- propensity to turn to underhanded or corrupt methods.

Or perhaps, it may also be that a community remains poor because of the lack of values and messages of peace-something that is mostly heard by only the privileged.

rizsunio@gmail.com


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