TO THOSE of us who have lived through the Second World War, and subsequent “smaller” wars, war is the ultimate evil – any war.
War is the solution of small minds with big egos and bigger arsenals. War is the choice of those who cannot or will not think of peaceful alternatives.
Today we are on the brink of a war, a Third World War. It is not just a “small war” between the United States and Iraq. This will only be the fuse to worldwide conflagaration: George W. Bush’s ambition is beyond Iraq.
This is because of the turn of events subsequent to a unipolar world. While the US as the sole superpower had the opportunity to act as the school prefect, it chose instead to be the school bully.
The chilling words of Bush that “either you are with us, or against us” brings the politics of the world into sharp focus. This superpower brooks no difference of opinion, not even indifference. It demands, and expects to get, total obedience.
It sets its own standards, morals, ethics, and allows itself the liberty to change them to suit its own agenda. It has become bellicose, even downright belligerent.
In these circumstances therefore, the rest of the world can either accept the realities of “might is right” and submit to pressures that are military or commercial (bordering on the mercenary), or resist.
But how can anyone resist without being branded “yellowbellied”, “bleeding hearts”, “terrorist lovers”, or whatever, by the very powerful spin doctors of these hawks?
Most painfully, how can anyone resist and convince the rest of the world that we hate war as much as terrorism? In fact war, any war, is terrorism in its extreme form.
With modern technology, the machine of war can reduce any country to ashes and return it to the Stone Age – just look at Afghanistan today.
The world’s population has protested against war as never before. Some have protested against their own governments in countries where the leaders (but not the people) have signed up with the school bully.
Some, brave souls, have travelled to Iraq to act as human shields. But these people who are willing to die for peace have been dismissed by the machinery of war as “speed bumps” (Time magazine, March 3 issue). How typical!
These “speed bumps” were perhaps dismissed because the people who volunteered to die for peace were ordinary people. If “speed bumps” were high-profile enough, then they could be effective in stopping the war monster.
The strategy then is to persuade high-profile people to reinforce the “speed bumps”. Imagine if a Council for Peace, headed by the Pope with the participation of others who are against the war, were to be convened in Iraq.
World icons could include the Archbishop of Canterbury, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, even Prince Charles, and many more icons from the media and entertainment world, who are opposed to this war.
This Council for Peace could sit in Iraq until the threat of war is over, or till after the 2004 US presidential election. These high-profile participants can take turns, by rotation, to be in Iraq as human shields.
This strategy will send a very powerful message to the hawks of this world and hopefully stop the war. The council could also be part of the United Nations effort to allow its weapons inspectors to work free from undue pressures from the US.
The more important consequence of this act, I believe, is the most unique message of love and brotherhood amongst all races and religions.
If the heads of Christianity were to put their own lives at stake to protect the men, women and children of a Muslim country, it would at one stroke break down the barriers and suspicions separating them today.
The Muslim world cannot but reciprocate similarly. This would also show the world that there is no place for acts of aggression, terrorism, pre-emp-tive strikes, etc.
CHAKR SRI NA NAGARA, Ipoh. (via e-mail)