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            Johan
Galtung wrote about the difference between negative peace and positive peace.
For Galtung, the first only implies the cessation of violence, while the second
refers to the resolution of the underlying causes that led to the conflict.
Although this understanding is perhaps too binary, which is clear in Sierra
Leone is that, although there is indeed security, it is not understood how the
injustices and complaints that sustained the conflict have not been addressed
in any way. Instead of building peace, it seems that the current model is best
described as a peacemaking mode. Instead of security and sustainable
development, Sierra Leone seems to have only security and misery. (Negative versus Positive Peace) I believe that more investment
in basic social services would be a much more pressing priority than rely
solely on security, democracy and markets to deal with issues that are
fundamentally linked to unequal distribution of resources. Education could play
a much more positive role in post-conflict reconstruction, but remains
marginalized among the current UN approaches.

            Education
has not been unscathed to this destruction. It is calculated that up to 70% of
the school-age population had little or no access to education during the war,
leaving the legacy of a lost generation. The World Bank estimated that in 2001,
only 13% of the schools in Sierra Leone remained usable. Thousands of teachers
and children were killed, mutilated or displaced, and many more were recruited
by force or voluntarily into the ranks of the different warring parties. While
the soldiers of the United Nations were instructed to ensure peace, a process
of post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation was initiated. Some
resources were directed towards education, but most of the international aid
was to ensure security, facilitating democracy and creating a positive climate
for international investment. This triad of security, elections and markets has
become the standard recipe for the construction of peace promoted by the UN and
is generally known as the Liberal peace thesis. (Liberal Peace and
Peace-Building)

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            Underlying
conflict are decades of colonial mismanagement and post-colonial and corruption
in one of the world’s poorest countries. The immediate catalyst for the war was
a structural adjustment plan, imposed by the International Monetary Fund and
the World Bank, which decimated the public expenditure which was formerly
directed to social services. URF has found ample support between a marginalized
population, particularly in the areas of the east of the country. The war was
bloody and cruel, with all the sides to commit atrocities, without any one
could win. At the beginning of 2002, the war was officially declared
terminated, without winners and with an unstable peace. Between 50,000-75,000
people were killed and more than half of the country’s population was
displaced. (The Causes of the Sierra Leone Civil War)

            The
war in Sierra Leone began in 1991, when United Revolutionary Front (URF)
members attacked cities near the border with Liberia. URF claimed that its
mission was to overthrow the single party regime of the Congress of all people,
which were in power since 1968, and to deploy democracy. (The Causes of the
Sierra Leone Civil War)

– Eleven years after the end of
the civil war in Sierra Leone, the country is a successful case of the United
Nations and the international intervention.

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