PeaceTherapy: promoting awareness and a culture of peace

In contemporary wars, 90% of victims is civils: women, children, men in the wrong place at the wrong time. During the First World War, dead and damaged civils were around the 10% of total victims and the conflict happened mostly on the field. In the following conflicts, villages have become the “front”, houses the trenches. During Second World War, two out of three victims result being civils, the nature of war had changed and cities razed to the ground.

Not only combats and bombings make victims. Entire countries are still disseminated with landmines at risk of explosion that can change or break a life in the split of a second, a car passing the street, a kid collecting from the ground what he thinks being a toy, the hit of a hoe while cultivating the land. And victims are not only soldiers, one civil out of ten at the beginning of the Nineteenth century became nine out of ten in proximity of year two thousand, at the cost of 25 millions of human lives.

Those are the injured that every day enter Emergency hospitals and to which the mission and concrete action of the organization is addressed. Starting from the consciousness about “war disasters” and their implications, from the experience of the social tragedy that affects the regions devastated by wars and from the almost complete lack of sanitary structures in those areas, the organization has begun treating victims and building hospitals from Ruanda in 1994 to other 17 countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Cambogia, Sierra Leone, Libia, Central African Republic, promoting medical care based on human rights and the principles of Equality, Quality and Social Responsibility.

Receiving cure is a fundamental human right, to be recognized to and made accessible by any individual, and the way and environment in which treatments are delivered should not only be functional and effective, but able to give back to victims, physically and psychologically injured by war and pain, their dignity and their own life.

And it is from the stories of patients cured in Emergency centres that begins the journey of a project called PeaceTherapy – Recovering from war is possible. PeaceTherapy is a “virtual” hospital, a space in which through visual recordings, images, augmented reality viewers and Emergency medical personnel, people taking part in the initiative will be brought closer to the daily reality of an hospital placed and operating in emergency areas and delivering help to the victims of war, landmines and poverty. The stories of those who recovered from wars are told, many others cannot be shared, and the personnel operating on the field has the duty to convey its personal experience and provide information and technical explanations concerning the way hospitals, surgical centres, sanitary centres, first aid posts or maternity centres are conceived, placed and managed in emergency contexts.

The project is obviously aimed at telling and spreading the activity of the association, to encourage more people to get in touch with EMERGENCY and its actions and support them, by bringing participants at the heart of the mission through the hypothetical route of a patient in an hospital. A concept easily subject to discussion on the appropriateness of such an approach to sensible topics as war and, ultimately, human life. At the same time, a strong initiative involving users first-hand with the final aim of raising awareness, knowledge and consciousness about the tragic conflictual situation and the enormous needs in terms of medical assistance of either countries which have been affected by wars for decades or others which are barely known.

Afghanistan, where in more than forty years conflicts have caused one million and a half deaths, hundreds of thousands injured and more than four millions refugees, where the war that began in 2001 still hurts, kills and destroys, is still covered with the “heredity” from past conflicts, landmines and unexploded devices that keep mutilating children, adults, civils. More than five million and a half treated people from 1999 by the organization, around one person out of six with respect to the total population.

But also Central African Republic, which has experienced several coup d'etat and civil wars, is still in an instable situation and in a context in which the access to cure for population, already undercut by shortcomings in infrastructures and in the sanitary system, has become more difficult.

Along with the humanitarian activity, promoting a culture of peace becomes a powerful tool in order to spread consciousness about the daily reality of countries affected by wars and poverty and also of others in which rights and access to sanitary systems are usable on paper but huge “grey areas” still prevent a large portion of the population from actual eligibility. Conferences, documentaries, exhibitions, books, theatre representation, interactive events involving participants in an emotional and educational experience but ultimately dedicated to those paying the price of the war might then really work as a PeaceTherapy.

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