In a world scarred by violent conflicts and ideological confrontations, made worse by religious misinterpretations and cultural extremism and bigotry, the global community is threatened with endless conflicts and wars. The United Nations, set up to prevent wars and to achieve peaceful solutions to world conflicts has been denigrated by the very nations which founded it. Now peace is getting even further from becoming a reality. We are still primitive beacuse we believe in killing people to solve our problems.
While the United Nations may be emasculated, it is still the only hope of mankind. Setting up another institution would do no better. Like it or not, humanity must once again make a commitment to the UN. We need to appeal to the ordinary people in every country to reject leaders who ignore the UN and who reject its mission.
We now have this Declaration of the International Day of Peace every 21st day of september, which “is meant to be a day of global ceasefire, when all countries and all people stop hostilities for the entire day…” If the leaders will not, then the people should. They should for one day in a year stop all hostilities. The media should cease for one day from inflaming passions and hatred in the name of peace.
In modern war, leaders and generals stay far behind the lines and are in no danger of getting killed or wounded. The supreme sacrifice must be made by the young people. Knowing this, the leaders and generals still see war as an option in settling conflicts between nations. By their soldiers ceasing hostilities for one day, the leaders and generals will be forced to appreciate that they have no right to sacrifice young peopl in wars which will solve nothing.
If this annual International Day of Peace could be a small step forward in addressing and raising global awareness on the inhuman afflictions caused by war, it would certainly be a most laudable endeavour. If this UN call for cessation of hostilities for just one day on September 21st is observed by all warring factions in the world, then we can say that the global peace agenda is starting to get dividends. Of course the ultimate objective is for all nations and their leaders to one day agree that for mankind to survive, for modern civilization to be meaningful, there must be a unified effot to criminalize all wars!
Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad
Global Peace Forum
20 September 2006