Christmas reflections on peace, and peacekeeping

Kind of on the funny side: Spending my holidays in the wonderful and relatively peaceful environment of Maine.
Why “relatively”? Well, the local newspaper “The Bridgton News” always publishes items on the Bridgton Police Department Blotter. It’s an entire account of the past days’ activities of Brighton’s Finest. It’s our absolute favorite when we are here.

My best ones this time: “1:18 p.m. A car parked near the power lines on the Harrington Road turned out to belong to an environmental worker.”, followed by “4:33 p.m. An intoxicated patient came into the Emergency Room at Bridgton Hospital and then just walked out.”

My favorite early 2000 in Pristina, Kosovo, a little less than a year after the war of Milosevic against the Kosovo Liberation Army was ended through a NATO intervention: “Two cars were involved in a traffic accident downtown Pristina. The drivers accused each other of violating the traffic rules. Subsequently, one driver grabbed a rocket propelled grenade launcher from the trunk of his car and fired an RPG towards the other person. The RPG hit a building behind the car and caused major structural damage. NATO soldiers locked the area down. Investigations ongoing.”

Peace, and the disturbances of peace, are a very relative thing. I got used to news like the above, I have uncounted numbers of stories which, today, even sound funny, taken out of the severe context in which they happen.
Like the Bridgton police news do sound funny to me. Well, that’s relative too. It may well be that they sound funny to any guy visiting from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, New York.
Oh yes, I will never forget about the international police officer who woke up one morning, just finding an entry hole and an exit hole in two adjacent walls of his living room. A grenade had passed through during the night, without exploding. It was an intimidation of somebody targeting his landlord.

What I always struggled with is the fact that people who enjoy peace (including the profound type of peace in Bridgton…) have difficulties to accept that engaging in peacekeeping in areas where rocket propelled grenades are used to settle conflicts is necessary and requires engagement abroad.

Happy holidays, enjoy, everybody, where ever you are.

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