Monday, October 22, 2007

Vision of Humanity: What Creates Peace?

I found this fascinating:

Brazil and the US are both ranked as having Low states of peace. Not surprising.

South Africa and Zimbabwe, two of Mozambique's neighbors, are glaringly red with Very Low states of peace. Again, no surprise here, especially with the violence in South Africa and the political and economic meltdown of Zimbabwe.

Mozambique, one of the world's poorest countries where a brutal civil war was fought between 1975 and 1992, has a Medium peace ranking.

I find this fascinating, and it helps answer the question that Ricardo and I so often struggle to answer: Why do you live in Mozambique if you have "better" (read: more developed and comfortable) options elsewhere?

We choose to stay here, among other reasons, because we have a quality of life that is unparallelled in any of our other potential homes. Not to say we won't eventually live elsewhere, it's simply that the outside perception of what life in Mozambique is like is quite different from reality.

I don't think I'll ever cease to be amused when a carioca asks, with a shocked expression and genuine concern for our well-being, "But isn't it awfully violent in Mozambique?"

For more information on the Vision of Humanity, visit here.


Masd said...

Dreadful to see Pakistan among very low peace index countries. I understand that we are living in a country in the midst of extremism and violence. Pakistan is one of the most beautiful and tranquil country to live but unfortunately our heaven has been turned into hell by the violence all around us. Have a nice time and Mozambique.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

I think if you've never lived or visited a developing nation it's easy to super-impose impressions of what a biased media caricture the place as.

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

This is *very* interesting .... I see one reason why I'm drawn to certain blue places. Peace, JP/deb

Ali la Loca said...

~Masd - I imagine it must be very difficult to see your own country being affected by violence around you. I am often amazed that there isn't more spillover here in Moz from South Africa and Zimbabwe...

~Monkey - For sure! But then again, Brazil is a developing nation and many Brazilians complain that the perception of their country is all poverty/sex/samba/rainforest/violence. And yet, there is massive ignorance on the part of many people there about Africa! You'd think there would be mutual understanding among the developing nations that media isn't faithful to reality!

~Jane Poe - There are a few light blue countries I found fascinating. If you click on the site you can get the breakdown of why each country received a particular score.

Shades of Blue said...

Can you define "quality of life"?

Ali la Loca said...

~Shades of Blue - Great question!

For me it is basically the following:

- level of stress
- level of paranoia that comes from environment (directly linked to violence, for me)
- ease of finding employment
- wages relative to cost of life
- ease of travel and access to leisure activities
- proximity to beautiful places
- proximity to family (the one area in which Moz scores super low!!)
- feeling of well-being and "acceptedness" in society

Does that begin to answer your question??

Safiya said...

Hmm, I'm not really convinced by their statistics. For example, they place a heavy emphasis on prision population, but in a lot of countries many people are being unoffically detained.

Likewise, the numbers of firearms are very difficult to gauge.

Many countries are very secretive about such things, so I think it is difficult to know the true picture.

Abzdragon said...

Wow, that site is really interesting. Thanks for posting this... :)

Shades of Blue said...

Yes. Now I'm intrigued by the word "acceptedness". What doe sthat mean to you?

Ali la Loca said...

~Safiya - You have a very good point. It is hard to get reliable statistics about these things.

~Abzdragon - Glad you found it interesting.

~Shades of Blue - Oooh, this is fun. I feel like I'm at an interview!

Okay. Let's see... "Acceptedness" or perhaps the more standard-English "Acceptance" (my brain is working better tonight)...

To me it is the degree to which I feel free and comfortable expressing myself in public and among peers. This can include how I physically present myself (clothes, hair, amount of skin showing), how comfortable I feel doing things as a woman by herself (shopping, going for a beer, walking around the city), how at ease I feel to share my opinions about things both controversial and lighthearted, if I am discriminated against for my race/gender/nationality/etc.

Did this answer it for you? Basically how comfortable I feel being *me*!

Alina Popescu said...

I don't know how reliable the statistics are, but you're point is really good: people always have deformed opinions on things they don't really know. It's the same when it comes to safety, quality of life, possibilities and technology. This attitude you mention towards Mozambique does not seem far from what happened 5-6 years after the Revolution in Romania (against communism): Western Europeans or US citizens were wondering if we'd ever seen a tv. This when Romanian programmers were starting to get famous...

Shades of Blue said...

Got it ...

Ali la Loca said...

~Alina - So I'm assuming that the misperceptions about Romania have changed, then? Or at least become less frequent?

I find the flip side to this interesting as well: misperceptions about the US, or any other "developed" country where people tend to have these skewed opinions about the poor, underdeveloped Other.

I can't tell you how many times I've become a fierce defendant of the US, assuring my Brazilian friends that no, not everybody eats fast food for each meal, not everybody is overweight, and yes, some of us receive world-quality educations. :)

~Shades of Blue - Thanks for your questions. You made me think about my own assumptions and criteria for these things.

jenica said...

this is cool to see it mapped out like that. is it any surprise that both canada and australia are highly peaceful places. maybe it's just an attitude thing for them?

El Erik said...

Although the statistics and variables they use can always be discussed (and cant they ALWAYS when it comes to people...?) the site is cool exactly because of what it engenders in this site: a discussion and reflection both of why a place should/would score low, and why one sown place scores high.
Personally, I love Colombia, the most splendid wonderful country ever, but understand partly why it scores as the highest. This should not blind people to its beauty!
On the same line, I understand why Denmark scores as peaceful, but it shouldnt blind people that added to its marvelous society, there is a lot of bigotry, xenophobia and violence in it.
It is always relative, a personal experience, but we should never cease being aware and reflecting about it, or it can never change!


Ali la Loca said...

~Jenica - Definitely not a surprise to see them as blue countries. If it is an attitude thing, then how do we change ours??

~El Erik - My friend, you've nailed it! I can imagine it must be fascinating having two countries on the extremes such as Denmark and Colombia as your heritage. I can definitely see the positive points to both, albeit with negative underbellies in each case. Thanks for this insight.