Friday, December 30, 2011

Working For Peace In 2012

On Humanity

Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy,
and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.

Thomas Jefferson

If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.
Moshe Dayan

Eleanor Roosevelt, seen here holding the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Spanish, says: "It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it."
Source: Wikipedia

Last year, I wrote a simple post, A Message of Peace and Hope. Another year has passed, and my sentiments or views have not changed, notably on this important subject. Much has taken place in the last year, including the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East.  Whether or not you agree with what has happened in the last year, it signals a new era in that region: change is certain. Whether it will bring democracy to some of the Arab nations is uncertain. Some remain optimistic.

The eyes of the world are watching, in particular, the naked brutality of Syria's government and Iran's decision and bold ambitions to continue its nuclear program, the latter with the stated purpose of destroying Israel. It's madness, of course, which we have witnessed before. How does one stop a madman or two intent on bringing about destruction, including on their own people?

Both nations have in common leaders who care little about their own citizens, not an uncommon characteristic for many of the world's leaders, yet in their case the brutality is naked and unchecked. As for Egypt, the hopes and aspirations for a working democracy for that ancient nation have yet to materialize; if democracy and all the markings of a democratic state is to happen, it will take time.

Europe has been busy with its own problems, labelled the Euro Crisis, the continent beset by an financial and economic crisis. It is saddled with too much debt and too little new and original answers. The middle class and the poor are expected to bear much of the consequences of poor financial and political management. Not surprising, people, notably the shrinking middle class are vociferously unhappy by the unfairness of it all. It's been a year of protest and demonstrations.

The various occupy movements, led by Occupy Wall Street in New York City, have sent a message to government leaders that our democracy is also in peril when a small elite group has too much say in government decisions. Let's hope for change in the West, as well, one that strengthens the lot of democracy, of humanity and of individual liberty.

Democracy is a fragile institution, strengthened by the participation of its citizens. In Russia, citizens are participating in greater numbers, led to a large part by social media networks. Russia and Russians have long suffered authoritarian rule, and as much as many citizens report that it what they want, an equal number say they thirst for more freedom and openness within an ordered and law-abiding society. What happens in Russia in the next few months is worth watching, and will play an important part in shaping the world. Presidential elections are scheduled for March 4. Some historians expect a second Russian Revolution, but a peaceful one brought about social-networking technology.

To repeat what I said last year, and it bears repeating, peace is the objective of all sane people. Peace can be built by taking small measures to connect with people, including one's enemies at the appropriate time. Such takes the right measure of courage and wisdom, the mark of great statesmen.

It will take overcoming fear, not an easy task in the best of times. It will take a will to build a lasting trust. It will take great hope and a strong belief in peace. In Winning the War on War, Joshua S. Goldstein, a political scientist, argues in accordance with Eleanor Roosevelt's dictum" "If you want peace, work for peace."

My hope is for everyone to have a peaceful and inspiring 2012.

Symbol of Peace: 
Artist Credit: Gerald Holtom, 1958
Source: Wikipedia



I am taking some time off from this blog to devote myself to a few other interests and to take a much needed rest. Happy New Year to all. I plan to return in February 2012 with new essays, articles and musical posts. If you have any ideas for articles, or would like to submit something, please drop me a line.