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Give peace a chance

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Never in my living memory has there been an Easter weekend as fraught with the threat to global peace and security as the one we have just experienced. While hundreds of millions of Christians were reflecting on the Crucifixion and celebrating the Resurrection, in the Far East there was much of what is called sabre-rattling, as mighty armadas sailed the high seas and all kinds of weapons of mass destruction were being revealed for us all to contemplate what fate awaits the peoples of the world.

The danger still hangs over our heads, for even though physically far removed for the probable war theatre, such is the danger of nuclear weapons and related missiles designed for a Doomsday scenario, that war on the Korean peninsula has implications for all humankind. It is not only the presence of navies, armies and air forces, all equipped with deadly missiles, but also the threats emanating from the White House and an unpredictable ruler in North Korea, bent on meeting the challenge head-on, with potentially devastating consequences for not only all the people of the Korean peninsula, but far beyond that as well.

It is of little comfort that those occupying the seats of power in the most powerful country on earth, and in whose hands lie the fate of hundreds of millions, are not exactly any less predictable as well. There are not many countries and nations which are comfortable with the actions of the regime in North Korea, but how one deals with it is a far different matter. The old ‘big stick’ methods are unsuitable for such a volatile situation and while some may rejoice in the threat to “teach Kim a lesson”, it is at what cost to the peace and stability of the Far East and to the devastating consequences of a military confrontation in that part of the world.

The origins of the Korean conflict go back many years and, whether one agrees or not, it cannot be ignored that since the Korean war of the early fifties, those in North Korea also perceive threats from the big western protector of South Korea. Take sides if one must, but there is too much to lose from letting geopolitics take precedence over the fate of so many.

To add to the danger, the US military has just launched two serious attacks in Syria and Afghanistan and the Trump administration is now even reviewing an agreement reached with Iran, with talk of revocation and sanctions, even though it admits that Iran has abided by the terms of that agreement. When in the mix, you add the turmoil in Venezuela, including unethical attempts to use a multilateral institution, the Organization of American States (OAS), to further narrow political interests, there is indeed cause for great global concern.

There will always be different visions of how society ought to be organized, huge differences as to how best democracy and the rule of law ought to be exercised, but respect for peace, for the rights and freedoms of all people, and for the sovereignty of nations must always be foremost. It is all well for generals in their bunkers, whether in the East or West, to be willing to unleash their destructive arsenals. But, in the long run, who suffers most? Who have been the biggest victims of the war in Syria? Who have suffered most from terrorism worldwide? It has not been the presidents, the generals or the owners of the corporations which profit from the mighty military machines they make. It is always ordinary people, the poor, the vulnerable, the children, the women.

Before we jump off the edge, it is critical to try and resolve differences by peaceful means and to GIVE PEACE A CHANCE.

Renwick Rose is a community activist and social commentator.

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