[wwpoenglish] Request for Comments on "Communcation in Peacebuilding"

  • From: Bruce Cook <cookcomm@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "wwpoenglish@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <wwpoenglish@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:53:32 -0600

Greetings to everyone,

I would like to request comments on an abstract I'm preparing for Laj
Utreja concerning the role of communication in peace.Specifically, I'd

   - any revisions you may suggest and, further,
   - any examples you can offer regarding past or present uses of
   communication in an effort to bring peace into the world.

Thank you,


*Communication and Peacebuilding: The Role of Social Media and Publicity*

*By Bruce L. Cook, Ph.D.*


This study suggests that communication may constitute the new means
of peacebuilding. In this light, communication can make traditional weapons
of war obsolete. Such an assertion seems preposterous and idealistic, but a
study of international communication finds that the seeds of this welcome
transformation are already visible.

In this study, communication is seen to have the potential to threaten
oppressors - those seeking power for its own sake – for example, Hitler,
the “Big Men” of African governance, and ISIS.

This study assumes that all oppressors intimidate their subjects, using
inhumane acts and journalistic censorship to engender fear and therefore
submission. When the world sees that an oppressor successfully controls a
large population, the oppressor thrills in commanding a feeling of
universal respect, however falsely gained. This study suggests that peace
will come after using peaceful methods to afflict oppressors with enough
fear that they will become convinced to change their mind.

At this point in studying the process, two forms of communication are seen
to have a discernable effect – free expression and social media.

*Free Expression*. First, as seen in the USSR after the cold war,
“Glasnost” (openness) replaced censorship because it included people in the
political process through freedom of expression. As a result, writers and
journalists could expose news of government corruption and the depressed
condition of the Soviet people. This was one means of crippling the
oppressive power system which existed. This opened the culture to peaceful
means of expression, justice, and means of economic production. In the same
way, removal or crippling of journalistic censorship can engender fear in
the oppressor, for it is essential for oppressors to have their own freedom
to operate in secret.

*Social Media*. The second form of communication was social media, whose
effect became evident when, for example, in Iran, victims of oppression.
They used the Internet to reveal the secrets of oppression employed by
oppressors who, like many power-seekers, used religion as a ruse to justify
their quest for power. Despite desperate efforts by the oppressors in Iran,
the truth was successfully exposed via social media at a grass roots level.
This move came as a blow to Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, who was
eventually forced to take a more liberal stance towards the use of social

Both strands of communication – free expression and social media – are
needed to create panic and fear in oppressors. Indeed, if the inhumane
actions of oppressors are known to a worldwide audience, then the
oppressors are viewed with universal disgust rather than the universal
respect they thirst for. In this way, communication can undermine the
oppressors without firing a shot.

This study will present several current and past examples where free
communication and social media have successfully presented a credible
threat to those in power. It is expected that future developments in
communication accessibility will prove the premise that communication can
render traditional weapons obsolete.

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