Dreaming for a peaceful world
Syed Mustafa Ahmad
The concept of peace has the distinction of always having been relevant, whatever the age. It is inseparably entwined with the issue of human existence. Peace basically means harmony. It not only is among nature’s creations but between nature and man as well. With the passage of time, the concept of peace has gone through many changes. The concept of existence has widened to embrace global existence while isolated nationalism was discarded in favor of the independent existence.
In the present circumstances, the need of peace has increased manifold. At present, we are facing a lot of problems. Global warming, human rights violations, gender disparity, ethnic cleansing, etc., are the evils that are staring at us.
These problems have the potential to set the ground for a ferocious war. Today’s age is the age of innovation. Nuclear arsenals can be disastrous, if not used properly. So, in this situation, the necessity of every kind of peace can hardly be overlooked. It should be clear that a war is not a sign of a civilized nation.
In the onward march of civilization, the biggest threat to peace has been an inclination towards aggressive nationalism. Man was pitted against man since progress was linked to a particular regional identity, narrowly defined by physical borders. It is called regionalism. It was only after the two World Wars and the dropping of two atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that it began to dawn on us what lack of peace meant.
The destruction left by the “hot wars” made us to think that it was of no use for the sake of a particular region. The mutual coexistence could be a better option. In the process of things, the “hot wars” were replaced by a Cold War. The World was divided between two superpower rival camps. The USA on the one side and the erstwhile USSR on the other. It lasted for 45 years. This Cold War, like the previous two wars, threatened the World peace on a large scale. The concept of deterrence stopped them from engaging in a hot war. The arenas of the Cold War like Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, etc., made it clear that Europe was again heading for a collateral damage. It is only now that we have begun to grasp the fact that peace is not merely lack of war but positive concept in itself. It is multifaceted and includes political, social, economic components and all other issues involving man. It is a holistic concept that can’t be fragmented and viewed.
The League of Nations was formed to promote the World peace. But it spectacularly failed in achieving this. It must be noted here that both the World Wars were fought for the sake of peace. The First World War was fought for “making the World safe” and the Second World war was fought” for implementing President Wilson’s 14 points”. It was after the Second World war that we achieved limited success in managing peace by the setting up of the UNO.
Although it has been dominated by the big powers, it has done some commendable work in giving every nation an equal voice. There is one country- one vote principle in the General Assembly. It has also realized its goal in resolving certain conflicts during the Cold War like the Korean War. But overall the UN in the present conditions have failed to resolve many issues. The Palestine issue, the Kashmir issue, the Rohingyas, The Tamils, the Arab Spring, etc., to name a few.
Some issues among the above-mentioned problems can set the whole World on fire. We are witnessing it with each passing day when a nuclear capable country incites another nuclear country for a war. In between, the helpless nations become the soft target. Until and unless, the grass root problems are not addressed, the achievement of global peace is a distant dream. Issues like poverty, global warming, female infanticide, genocide, loot of free market economy, fascism in the garb of democracy, etc., should be addressed on a war footing basis. For this to happen, everyone has to come forward for the sale of beautiful and tendering nature.
If global peace is to be achieved as an objective, we must discard piecemeal measures and go to the root of the problem. It is a world that is divided into the ‘ haves’ and ‘have nots’. Until a balance is achieved between the two, there will always be disequilibrium and hence, a threat to world peace. The distribution of wealth and power is in favor of the industrially developed nations and until we redress this anomaly, there will continue to be disruptions in peace.
The industrially developed Nations must develop their responsibilities towards developing band under developed nations. The under developed nations must also inculcate a culture of self-help rather than expecting anything from the international organisations.
Cultural invasion must be restrained since it breeds a sense of insecurity among minority communities and religions. Fundamentalism of extreme type should be stopped at any cost. It is this mindset that proves very destructive for the global peace. Superpowers must also give the temptation of mistaking their interests for the interests of the world in general.
Regional groupings can play an instrument role in standing up to big power dominance and promoting their own agenda of peace. The Non-Aligned Movement was the best exams let in this regard. It tried to mitigate the rivalry between the two super powers and put forth their own agenda of global peace, however that itself is mired by the paradoxes. SAARC, BRICS, RCEP and OIC can also play a decisive role in establishing to the global peace. Among them, SAARC has a large role to play, particularly in the South Asia. There are two nuclear weapons states in this group. They can act as a deterrent in the wake of any threat to the global peace. The change of mindset and living in a continuous mutual coexistence can help a lot.
World peace and ecological stability are related since only peace can bring the focus back to preserving the earth, rather than destroying it. Both concepts appeal to the natural and stable instincts in man and are the two sides of sustainable development. Only if nations stop viewing each other with suspicion, they can divert resources towards creating a healthier environment, rather than simply defending a system and a way of life, which is no longer sustainable.
Last but not the least, global peace is not a matter of policy. It is about survival. If we choose peace, we choose life and if we reject peace, we reject life. This painful experience has come to us after we have lost innumerable people. It is not too late to act. There is a change in the future. We can pledge that our actions should be in the direction of peace and not vice versa. We are hopeful that after a bloody battle, peace will embrace us. The only need is to be careful whatever we do. Before pointing at other person’s fault, we should look at ourselves. There should be a balanced world order. Inequality should be removed at the earliest. Let us walk hand in hand and make it our concern that we should be equal in the world of inequalities.
(The author is a teacher and can be reached at [email protected])