A common vision: The abolition of militarism
an article by Mairead Maguire speaking at the Sarajevo Peace Event, reprinted by Open Democracy
We are all aware that this is the 100th anniversary of the
assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo which led to the
start of the First World War in l9l4. What started here in Sarajevo
was a century of two global wars, a Cold War, a century of immense,
rapid explosion of death and destruction technology, all extremely
costly, and extremely risky.
click on photo to enlarge
A huge step in the history of war, but also a decisive turning point
in the history of peace. The peace movement has never been as
strong politically as in the last three decades before the break-out
of WWl. It was a factor in political life, literature, organization, and
planning, the Hague Peace Conferences, the Hague Peace Palace
and the International Court of Arbitration, the bestseller of Bertha
von Suttner, ‘Lay Down your Arms’. The
optimism was high as to what this ‘new science’ of peace could
mean to humankind. Parliaments, Kings, and Emperors, great
cultural and business personalities involved themselves. The great
strength of the movement was that it did not limit itself to civilizing
and slowing down militarism, it demanded its total abolition.
People were presented with an alternative, and they saw common
interest in this alternative road forward for humankind. What
happened in Sarajevo a hundred years ago was a devastating blow
to these ideas, and we never really recovered. Now, a hundred
years later, must be the time for a thorough reappraisal of what we
had with this vision of disarmament, and what we have done
without it, and the need for a recommitment, and a new ambitious
start offering new hope to a humanity suffering under the scourge
of militarism and wars.
People are tired of armaments and war. They have seen that they
release uncontrollable forces of tribalism and nationalism. These
are dangerous and murderous forms of identity and above which we
need to take steps to transcend, lest we unleash further dreadful
violence upon the world. To do this, we need to acknowledge that
our common humanity and human dignity is more important than
our different traditions. We need to recognize our life and the lives
of others are sacred and we can solve our problems without killing
each other. We need to accept and celebrate diversity and
otherness. We need to work to heal the ‘old’ divisions and
misunderstandings, give and accept forgiveness, and choose
nonkilling and nonviolence as ways to solve our problems. So too
as we disarm our hearts and minds, we can also disarm our
countries and our world.
We are also challenged to build structures through which we can
co-operate and which reflect our interconnected and
interdependent relationships. The vision of the European Union
founders to link countries together economically, in order to lessen
the likelihood of war amongst the nations, is a worthy endeavour.
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LATEST READER COMMENT:
Can NATO be abolished?
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Unfortunately, instead of putting more energy into providing help for EU citizens, we are witnessing the growing militarization of Europe, its role as a driving force for armaments, and its dangerous path, under the leadership of the USA/NATO, towards a new ‘cold’ war and military aggression. The European Union and many of its countries, who used to take initiatives in the UN for peaceful settlements of conflicts, particularly allegedly peaceful countries, like Norway and Sweden, are now one of the US/NATO most important war assets. The EU is a threat to the survival of neutrality. Many nations have been drawn into being complicit in breaking international law through US/UK/NATO wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.
I believe NATO should be abolished. The United Nations should be reformed and strengthened, and we should get rid of the veto in the Security Council so that it is a fair vote and we don’t have one power ruling over us. The UN should actively take up its mandate to save the world from the scourge of war.
But there is hope. People are mobilizing and resisting non-violently. They are saying no to militarism and war and insisting on disarmament. . ...more.