Peace in Our Time as the UN marks International Peace Day
“Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples…This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace…”.
In 1981 the United Nations by the aforementioned declaration established the International Day of Peace.
September 21 was therefore designated as the permanent Day of Peace by the General Assembly of the U.N. in 2001 thereby affording Governments, individuals and organizations the opportunity to fashion ways and means of fostering peaceful co-existence, harmony and better relations devoid of conflict whether armed or otherwise.
NAS as a responsible organization supports the commemoration of this day as being in line with our mission statement with specific reference to fostering humanistic ideals and putting humanity at the center of our consciousness. We note with satisfaction that though the world cannot be said to be at total peace with itself, this year has marked a slight departure in terms of reduced conflict.
We wish to acknowledge that the World will continue to face challenges in the area of peace, and firmly believe that it is the shared responsibility of all peoples to work towards making the planet a safer place to inhabit. There is therefore an urgent need if the world is to benefit from the fallout of peaceful co-existence, for leaders of today’s emerging and ever changing globe; to maintain fairness at all times irrespective of who is involved. An essential ingredient of a peace is a world regime based on fairness and justice. It is therefore necessary that international law be administered in a uniform non partisan manner. If we are to strive under a peaceful, stable atmosphere without discontent and agitations then relations among nations should be based on acceptable policies grounded upon justice and fairness without fear or favor at the various global flashpoints Keen observers of world politics are alive to the palpable and consistent application of different standards of international behavior depending on who is involved and on which side of the divide nation states find themselves. The perpetual crisis in different regions of the world presents a scenario of global turbulence. Also, the politics of possession or non possession of nuclear materials (especially Nuclear Energy for peaceful purposes) is another such case of global injustice that has continued to breed discontent and tensions amongst nations. Also agitations against environment pollution, green house emissions and deliberate exploitation and appropriation of natural resources are visible signs of an unjust world.
The now raging military conflict between the Nigerian Security Forces and the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in the Delta Region of Nigeria is of grave concern to us. The beleaguered people of the Niger Delta deserve a break from this un-ending vicious cycle of violence. The conflict spirals out of control and the locals face total disruption of their daily lives. Businesses are at a standstill and jobs out sourced to other peaceful and stable regions of the world. The entire region is enveloped in dark uncertainty. War and armed conflict have never solved any problems. It merely deepens the wound and festers resentment. The federal govt should ensure that its military and security leaders tone down the rhetoric. This can only exacerbate and inflame an already charged situation. This has become necessary if the government policy of constructive engagement with the recent creation of a Niger Delta Ministry can deliver the greatest happiness for the greater number to the citizens of this region.
A peaceful and stable Niger Delta is a pre-requisite for a stable and progressive Nigeria. It is therefore impossible to witness economic and political growth without peace in any given socio-political and economic landscape. The National Association of Seadogs (NAS) welcomes the creation of a ministry for the Niger Delta and views this as a constructive, pragmatic and positive government policy which if collaborated with other policies for the region shall engender the much elusive. Peace necessary for national development.
The only real solution to any conflict is voluntary peaceful resolution. We therefore urge MEND and the Nigerian government to use the occasion of this year’s International Peace Day to seek a negotiated peaceful settlement of their dispute. That is the only Resolution that can bring closure to the Niger Delta Question.
On the African continent, news of the peaceful resolution of the volatile political situation in Zimbabwe could not have come at a more auspicious moment. The dedicated effort of President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and the three disputing Zimbabwean politicians, President Robert Mugabe, Movement for Democratic Change’s, Morgan Tsvangarai, and Arthur Mutambara must be acknowledged. NAS still remains worried that whatever gains that may have been made with the sharing of political power might still be sabotaged at some point by President Robert Mugabe who has a history of going back on agreements reached with other parties.
The success of the peaceful diffusion of these two dangerous situations should infuse more impetus into finding a lasting peaceful resolution of the Darfur conflict in Sudan. The people of Darfur have suffered for too long and have lost so much for the World to remain indifferent to their plight. This year’s United Nations “International Peace Day” should be a rededication of sustained efforts to transfer the Darfur conflict into the column of resolved challenge. The United Nations in concert with NATO,the African Union and the European Union should bring pressure to bear on all the parties to the conflict to come to the table and ensure that Darfur becomes a peaceful, free and safe region for its citizens and residents before the end of this year.
The recent peaceful resolution of the armed conflict between the Georgian Republic and Russia over the Georgian breakaway regions is a good omen for peace proponents. Credit for this milestone goes to the European Union and its current President. Sarkozzy of France. However NAS notes with caution, the verbal rhetoric between Russia and the West especially the United States, during this crisis which potentially raised the specter of another Cold War era.
We wish to highlight areas where further challenges are being met with specific reference to the Middle East conflict and the wider threat to world peace posed by acts of terrorism. The latest attack on the embassy of the United States in Yemen during which 16 persons were reported to have been killed, underscores the need to further address the fundamentals of peace missing from the region and to separate the rationale for terrorism from the yearnings of the peoples of that part of the world.
There should be a rethink by the US in respect of its foreign policy with regards to its war on Terror. This has become necessary because counter insurgency cannot be won by large scale military operations. A different approach is needed. The down side to the current US approach is palpable economic retrogression the world over as the global economy ties one country with the others as a result of interdependence. The war on terror looks like a war that cannot be won and therefore the need for a holistic re-appraisal by the next US President cannot be over emphasized. The United States leadership should realize the truism that “might is not always right” and neither does it always prevail.
NAS also enjoins that this year’s International Peace Day should be a clarion call to the United States, the European Union and the Arab League to find a lasting and sustainable solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and to find ways of settling the greater Arab/Israeli disputes. Palestinians deserve a homeland and must have the opportunity to live in peace with their neighbors. The nation of Israel also deserves to exist in peace and collaborative relationship with its Arab neighbors. The entire region deserves a break from this disruptive and destructive conflict. The region and its residents deserve peace and prosperity as her children yearn to grow up in a safe and loving environment.
Currently the world map , still remains dotted with wars/conflicts from Africa, Middle East, Burma, Cashmere region (India),Pakistan, Afghanistan, Farc Separatist (Colombia), to Belfast (Northern Ireland).
On the occasion of this year’s World Peace Day, the National Association of Seadogs enjoins that Peace be allowed to reign in our time.
Mr. Emmanuel Bassey
National Association of Seadogs (NAS)
September 21, 2008