According to the International Network of Museums for Peace (INNP), Museums for Peace are educational institutions that help in cultivating the culture of peace through the collection, displaying, and more significantly interpretation of peace-related artifacts (Tamashiro & Furnari, 2015). More often than not, they always create awareness among the public about the devastating effects of war and the need to ensure that non-violent conflict resolutions mechanisms are adopted by the warring countries. Notably, Museums for Peace play an integral role in promoting peace around the world as they convey memories related to war and presenting the much-needed historical truth which aids in the fast-tracking reconciliation process, and hence peaceful co-existence for future generations (Cento Bull, Hansen, Kansteiner, & Parish, 2019). Despite the known negative effects of atomic bombs, especially in Japan during the Second World War, many countries are still engaged in making nuclear weapons, which have the capacity to result in great destruction to mankind. The paper will focus on the instrumental role played by the Museums for Peace in promoting world peace through the conveyance of war memory to future generations.
Devastating Effects of War
Undoubtedly, war always results in great destruction not only to the properties of the lives of many innocent civilians. For instance, the detonation of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima in 1945 resulted in a massive loss of lives of civilians (Van den Dungen & Yamane, 2015). It should be noted that many people often feel the destruction effect ranging from direct victims to other people in the community. Also, there are other problems associated with war, such as sexual violence and hunger, which affect many people. Moreover, most of the survivors always experience psychological effects after the war, as there are always traces of destruction left after the end of the war. Understandably, post-traumatic stress disorders, anxiety, and depression are some of the adverse effects which affect both civilians and soldiers (Cento Bull et al., 2019). Furthermore, war often results in socio-economic challenges to most countries as the influx of refugees always creates a strain on available resources, which can ultimately create more conflict with the hosting country. More critically, countries always strive to get an edge in a warfare, and this involves increasing military expenditure, which stifles other vital sectors such as manufacturing and agricultural the much-needed resources for sustainable development. Additionally, the destruction of infrastructures, such as transportation systems and electricity and water supplies, often bring negative impacts to the livelihood of the people (Kingston, 2014).
Future Generations as Agents of Peace
History has shown that the burdens of war are often bestowed on young people across the world. More often than not, youths are always recruited as military personnel to participate in warfare, and most of them always get killed, thus depriving the warring countries of the productive people who would otherwise ensure the progress of the society (Van den Dungen & Yamane, 2015). In light of this, some reputable non-governmental organizations across the world, such as the Optional Protocol to the Convention, have made significant strides in addressing the problem of involving youths in war. Equally still, international legal norms have been embedded in different sectors to ensure that the involvement of youths in war is curtailed (Herborn, 2014). Further, peace education programs have been initiated to ensure that the essence of peace is instilled in children to discourage them from participating in warfare. Notably, the convergence of certain cultural, social, political, and economic factors have created hostility among the youth and some societies often use them to further their selfish interest in the event of aggression with other countries (Cento Bull et al., 2019). However, youth can be effectively used as the agents of peace as making them aware of the effects of war will help in shaping their behavior and embracing the concept of building peace across the world.
Furthermore, the opening of International Year of the Youth in 2010 by UNESCO at the Vienna International Center highlighted the significant role played by youths in effecting positive change, spurring technological innovation, and, more importantly, promoting world peace (Tamashiro & Furnari, 2015). Evidence has revealed that the past wars adversely affected the young children where their parents were brutally killed, their properties destroyed, and their lives thrown into great despair, which impeded their development. After the Second World War which adversely affected the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, different programs were initiated to ensure that the memory of war is utilized to create awareness among the people about the destructive effects of war and encouraging the people to maintain peace for the benefit of future generations (Van den Dungen & Yamane, 2015). Moreover, there has been a general view that the youth should not be seen as only the beneficiaries of peace but as the agents who have the capacity to promote peaceful co-existence across the world. Additionally, considering the fact that the youth make a significant portion of the world population, they should be encouraged to direct their energy towards the development of their countries rather than engaging in a war, which ultimately will affect their progress.
Role of Museums for Peace
Wars always leave a trail of destruction and loss of lives to the people, and there is a need to ensure that such memories are preserved through museums to help the people relive the violent conflicts and evoke the desire of the future generation to uphold peace across the world. The establishment of Museums of Peace has helped in providing chronological happenings before, during, and after the war, which will inevitably convey the effects of war to the future generations (Tamashiro & Furnari, 2015). Further, the museums have integrated education and entertainment programs that have significantly instilled the benefits of peace to the people, and more particularly, to the children. Moreover, the Museums for Peace have provided a wide range of opportunities to the youth to make them consider themselves as an integral group in curtailing the devastating effects of war depicted by the collected war artifacts (Kingston, 2014). Better still, the museums, through their curators, always ensure that they promote interactive exhibitions and infusing personal experience to make the future generation learn more deeply about the past wars and the need to curb them from occurring again.
Moreover, Museums for Peace have used the special exhibition to highlight the effects of war and developing an understanding of the ability of some deadly weapons such as atomic and nuclear bombs to cause great destruction to the people, including their lives. For instance, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum has helped in conveying the inhumane and horrific nature of nuclear bombs and other weapons (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 2019). The conveyed memory of the war has significantly contributed to increased awareness among the youth about the effects of war, and this has been reinforced by the "No more Hiroshimas" message. In the Main Building of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the reality of atomic bombing has been demonstrated while in the East Building, the devastating effects of nuclear weapons have been highlighted which inevitably help the youth in understanding the effects of war to the society and the world in general (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 2019). Additionally, the museum often oversees a Peace Memorial Ceremony that encourages countries across the world to abolish nuclear weapons to ensure that lasting world peace is achieved. It is worth noting that world peace is anchored on future generations, and this has led to the need to ensure that war memory is embedded in their minds to make them champions of peaceful co-existence.
Museums for Peace always strive to incorporate information to the collected war artifacts to ensure that children are engaged in understanding the past memories of war. Regarding Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, "Kids peace station" has been established to ensure that the young children are adequately provided with war memory through the use of illustration charts and animation concerning the realities of atomic bombing that affected a significant number of people (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 2019). Furthermore, the Atomic Bomb Dome (Gengaku Dome) has been preserved to ensure that it provides memory about the destructive effects of war and encouraging youths to embrace peace across the world. More significantly, Museums for Peace are utilized by foreign NGOs and other reputable international organizations to ensure that reconstruction is initiated to ensure that the future generations are not affected. The museums often use their collections in demonstrating their cultural and historical nature and how they can be instrumental in promoting social reconstruction after the war (Van den Dungen & Yamane, 2015). Also, the museums always initiate training programs to their staff to enhance their awareness about the cultural beliefs and awareness of the people and shaping their teachings that can be effectively adopted by the people for conflict resolutions to avert the occurrence of violent war that always bring adverse effects.
Also, the Memorial Cenotaph in Hiroshima has played an integral role in conveying war memory. It is inscribed with the words, "Let all the souls rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil" (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 2019). These words are instrumental in reminding the future generation of the devastating effects of war and the need to learn from them by desisting future involvement in the war. In the central stone vault of the Memorial Cenotaph, all the names of the war victims have been inscribed regardless of their nationalities, which inform the people that war knows no nationality, and therefore people should embrace peace across the world. Moreover, the monuments for children, such as the Peace Memorial Mailbox and Children's Peace Monuments, evoke war memory among the children, which makes them understand that they are always adversely affected during the war (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, 2019). Therefore, the conveyed war memory helps them in taking an active role in ensuring that non-violent conflict resolutions are embraced to avoid the negative effects of war. It should be noted that Museums for Peace take into consideration the evolving nature of the world, where it always infuses modern training techniques to enhance their curatorial services to result in a deep understanding of the collected objects in their storehouses.
More importantly, Museums for Peace help in providing peace tourism where the message can be conveyed to all people across the world about the effects of war and increasing their desire to promote peaceful co-existence. Additionally, the museums create some activities such as folding of paper cranes and engaging in fieldwork to inscribe in their minds the war memory (Morris-Suzuki, 2013). Women and children always bear the brunt of war during warfare between different countries. They are often immersed in the state of psychological distress and physical violence, which may ultimately result in economic burdens on them as they strive to seek medication. Notably, it may be difficult for the future generation to gain a deep understanding of the effects of war, especially when the p...
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