Surrey, BC, January 1, 2015– The world is plagued with violent conflicts, not one or two, but many. The Israel – Palestine conflict, civil wars in Syria, Iraqi insurgency, South Sudan ethnic conflict, Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, civil war in Somalia, Islamist insurgency in Nigeria, war in North-West Pakistan, Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan are some of the highlights. Together, they have claimed millions of human lives over the years.
No doubt all the parties to all these conflicts are doing their best to bring them to a closure, sooner than later. For this, they continue to depend on a common strategy of eliminating the enemy, instead of the enmity between the rival parties. Unfortunately, this is NOT a strategy that can bring about lasting peace among fighting groups in any situation. Instead, it is a strategy that only further escalates the tension between the rival parties, and in the world. In fact, it is this strategy that finally set the stage for past world wars: WWI and WWII. And, it is now becoming more and more evident that history is going to repeat itself. Some may think that global catastrophes like world wars will inevitably come and go and are even a necessity as a means of correction to the ever growing human population and other forms of life on the planet.
According to historians, the human death tolls in WWI and WWII were as high as 15 million and 60 million, respectively. However, these figures would simply be viewed as scanty when compared to what could happen in the next world war, WWIII. It is poised to be fought with nuclear and other non-conventional weapons. That may be why Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) once said, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV would be fought with sticks and stones.”
It is not a secret that the amount of nuclear weapons alone already stockpiled on the surface of Earth is more than enough to turn the entire humanity to ashes in seconds. The expert opinion is that such weapons will certainly be used in any future world war. For example, the Russell – Einstein Manifesto of 1955 stated, “In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind.” Only we ourselves are to be blamed if the impending calamity is not prevented by taking whatever remedial action necessary, not after the fact, but NOW.
This is perhaps the biggest ever challenge to modern civilization. The remedial action needed to meet the challenge is basically two fold. First, there is a need to stop all ongoing activities that contribute to rising global tension. Second, the parties to ongoing violent conflicts need to go away from the failed strategy of eliminating the enemy and look for new ways to resolve them.
The activities that contribute to the rising global tension are numerous and varied. Unilateral global policing by powerful nations, War on Terror in all its manifestations, and the buildup of nuclear and other forms of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) appear to be the main concerns. The powers that be need to heed to this call and stop immediately their direct and indirect involvement in all these areas. On the issue of WMDs, the mere reduction of existing arsenals is not good enough. Instead, all the nations that possess WMDs need to evolve a formula, preferably under the auspices of the UN, to get rid of all such weapons.
Any new approach to conflict resolution should primarily aim at the elimination of the enmity, instead of the enemy. A quick look at the past and present major conflicts in the world shows the nature and extent of enmity among the concerned conflicting parties. Practically in every conflict, one group of people have coalesced on the basis of their racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, or ideological identity to fight a similarly coalesced group conceived to be an enemy. Humans will, indeed, continue to remain diverse with such identifiable differences. However, it is a blatant fact that all humans, irrespective of such identifiable differences, have the same basic needs and aspirations in life. We also share knowingly or unknowingly a common value system, which, in fact, has been the basis of what we all look up to as the universal human rights.
All this simply means that our ability to end enmity among ourselves in whatever shape or form depends on our preparedness to accept and celebrate – instead of despising – the diversity among us, respect our common values and to treat the wellbeing and happiness of all just as one’s own. Is this something we can ever do? Yes, we can. For this, we only need to unleash our inherent forces of love, kindness and compassion towards our fellow beings. Every human is capable of doing this. If all this sounds new to anyone, NOW is the best time to begin the process. After all, “we must be the change we wish to see in the world,” as also once asserted by Mahatma Ghandi.
The above equally applies to powerful nations resorting to war tactics as a means to resolve conflicts outside their own jurisdictions. The western military intervention in the ongoing violent conflicts in the Middle East is a case in point. All those who play a role in such outside intervention only make things worse by becoming part of the problem, and not the solution. In this regard, the decision of Canada to join the US war against ISIS in the Middle East appears far-fetched and unproductive. Such decisions of Canada in the recent past have begun to tarnish its image as an exemplary peacekeeper and a humanitarian aid provider across the world. It is time for Canada to reverse this trend and play a global leadership role in building a world of lasting peace, not wars, for our future generations. Thank you. Viva Canada! Viva the world!
- May everyone care for the needs of others and share what is available in a more equitable manner.
- May no one take vengeance for past wrongs of others.
- May everyone always act responsibly in a trustworthy and reliable manner.
- May everyone appreciate the wellbeing and happiness of all humans, just as one’s own – irrespective of any identifiable differences.
For more details | interviews:
R.B. (RB) Herath, PhD
President | Global Peace Alliance, Surrey Society
8972 Fleetwood Way, #301
Surrey BC V3R 0T5
Tel: 604-583-6767 (R) | 604-753-7496 (C)