Threats to peace in 2012
Peace Oasis mural 2011
If crucial lessons are to be learned out of the many mistakes which have been made so far, then everything should be done not to fall victim to simple or even at times very sophisticated propraganda tricks.
At the same time, there is a need to take position when injustices are inflicted.
Given a general attitude towards politics which can be described best as following just one school of thought, namely 'anti politics' (as has been anticipated by Heinrich Böll when discussing with Kopelew 'Anti Communism in East and West*), the very fragmentation of politic shall make governance even harder.
Clearly one task of any peace movement should be to contribute to world governance by ensuring the parameters needed to uphold peace are kept intact. That means primarily staying in dialogue with reality.
World governance is far from being assured by inter state and inter governmental actions. The Security Council of the United Nations keeps failing repeatedly to secure peace in the world.
A famous case is when US Secretary of State Powell did not tell the truth when asked by the Security Council of the UN what proof he has that Saddam Hussein is in possession of weapons of mass destruction. He lied by claiming that he had convincing proof of Saddam Hussein was indeed in possession of weapons of mass destruction. His lie legitimized the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, with all the horrid consequences which followed for above all innocent civilians.
The same practice of 'mendacity' (Martin Jay) holds for Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Also the humanistic dilemma (Maya Fischer) can be best described by use of the term 'collatoral damage' when it is stated that the war is a matter of 'security', even it means in reality a violation of Human Rights and the killing of innocent lives.
In 2012, the failure of Security Council is again demonstrated by not coming to an agreement about Syria. Here Russia and China have positioned themselves in a way that casts the West into a negative instigator while Russia continues to supply Syria with weapons. The same can be said about the West. It is always about retaining or enlarging spheres of influences. Hardly ever is there such a notion of world peace worthwhile to think of. More important, it seems as if everything is determined by what the global economy needs and what makes all kinds of businesses, including weapons trade, around the globe possible.
Of interest is what consequences the Arabic spring has for countries like Tunesia and Egypt. Equally the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to simmer on but is kept largely at bay due to the construction of the wall. Still, the question of the settlements on Palestinian territories remains as a main thorn, the question of Jerusalem as historical pivot point not easily resolvable. There are made various claims which lead to a concept of a Holy City in a Holy Land which seems unable to accommodate different religions and what they need to have a future.
Alone the bombing of a bus in Bulgaria in July 2012 is a reminder that a powder keg can go off anytime, anywhere. Given certain immediate reactions and accusations, it can leave the confrontation between Israel and Iran without an alternative but to go to war. It will not be declared as such but Israeli has reserved itself the Right for a First Strike, in order to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. It is feared that such a strike shall come close to the American elections and thereby upset all predictions whether or not President Obama has a chance of being re-elected. The prospect of Israel striking Iran has keep diplomats on the run, whether they will find a solution before it is too late, that is most doubtful.
All this and more has many more unseen consequences for above all the children who have to grow up in such a world. One answer to all of this is, however, the mural done in Oasis of Peace: Wahat al-Salam/Neve Shalom 2011
Still there is a need to have a mural created by bringing together Palestinian and Israeli children / youth as was the case when Peace Waves and Poiein kai Prattein organized in 2005 a youth festival and one mural was painted which had as participants youth from both parts. And there is afterall this amazing orchestra of Barenboim.
Aside from the Middle East, attention must also be given to Latin America. For instance, Colombia tries to free itself from an 'invisible' war which has left nearly 1 million dead, and this is shown by architects building new buildings and public spaces in Medellin to fight violence.
Unfortunately in this part of the world, societies are still a long way off from securing peace and this means primarily freedom from all kinds of violence in daily lives. Such violence is often the outcome of a drug related war, for example in Mexico. Such a war has hit home with women becoming next to their children much preferred targets.
Then, at world level, there is a huge weapons trade going on! That business with weapons is both irresponsible and unethical yet those involved do not care about what consequences it has. They seek to make money and by doing so, they become themselves entangled in all kinds of 'dirty' business deals.
As shown once again by the Olympic Games held in London 2012, security is a highly elusive concept and can justify almost everything, including highly fraudalent behaviour.
Barack Obama has changed the US foreign policy, the killing of Bin Laden just one example thereof. He has turned to use of drones. It poses even more of a huge ethical challenge for humanity.
All of this takes place in when constantly natural disasters require huge desaster relieves and responses, may that be the earthquake in Haiti or the earthquake related nuclear desaster in Japan with Fukushima standing out as name for a catastrophy similar to what took place in Chernobly in 1986.
There is as well the financial and economic crisis which leaves member states of the European Union confronted by xenophobic forces which want to chase out of their territorities the key figure of the 21st century, namely the migrant.
Baudelaire reminds of another factor threatening peace, namely vanity:
Remember! Souviens-toi! Esto memor!
(My metal throat can speak all languages.)
Minutes, blithesome mortal, are bits of ore
That you must not release without extracting the gold!
Remember, Time is a greedy player
Who wins without cheating, every round! It's the law.
The daylight wanes; the night deepens; remember!
The abyss thirsts always; the water-clock runs low.
Soon will sound the hour when divine Chance,
When august Virtue, your still virgin wife,
When even Repentance (the very last of inns!),
When all will say: Die, old coward! it is too late!"
- Charles Baudelaire -
Athens 20.7.2012 (updated 29.11.2014)