By Juliet Rogers,
How can we thrive as humans without pacifism? Peace therefore is that indispensable ingredient to civilized living, through which and by which a country can achieve peaceful co-existence of such a kind that can accelerate national development. It is the complete absence of violence that facilitates progress and development.
Because of the absence of peace and the lack of the political will by our leaders to achieve a peaceful, just and an egalitarian society devoid of tribalism, it is perspicuous that development has been stalled. There is a much used saying that “Without peace, there can be no development.” In all the major civilizations the world over, it has been observed that the development strides which they have made is only because of the peaceful atmosphere under which they have operated.
With this actualization, it is an undisputed fact that peace is an essential catalyst for the development of mankind. The opposite of peace is war. As Africans, it is luculent that, our strength lies in our togetherness. Therefore, unity like peace are the indispensable conditions by which socio-political development and eventually economic advancement could be achieved in any nation.
Biblically, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ on whose shoulders the Government of the world is deemed has been decribed as “The Prince of Peace.” The muslims on the other hand, whenever they refer to their Prophet, don’t forget to add “May peace be unto him.”
In Psalms 133:1 of the Holy Bible, King David asserts that “It is pleasant for brethren to be together in peace and unity.” There is no doubt therefore that God in His wisdom has brought Peace on Earth and goodwill to all men as His own personal gift through which and by which His own creation which incidently refers to us, human beings made in his image and likeness will be able not only to posses but also subdue the Earth, which happens to be our habitat.
There have been over 9.5 million refugees and hundreds and thousands of people have been slaughtered in Africa as a result of wars and conflicts, (Kegley & Blanton, 2011)._( 1)
Power transition theorists argue that most internal crises are conflicts erupted when states were locked in internal power transitions usually characterised by new state formation, political revolution, or efforts to democratize autocratic regimes, (Cederman 1994). Sierra Leone like every other sovereign nation became independent since the 27th April, I961. By then, it was hoped that as an independent nation, we will be able to break away from the shackles of neocolonialism. Indeed, there have been several selfless efforts to promote democracy, human rights until the eleven years hostile rebel war which did reverse the social, economic and political gains which have been made by our by our leaders over those few years. Nationalism, ditatorship, ethnic and religious conflicts and hegemonic ambitions caused Third World Countries to use physical violence, (Chari 2008).”We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power,” declared Williams Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), the erstwhile British stateman of the Liberal Party. “Then will our world know the blessings of peace.”
“Democracy is an objective. Democratization is a process. Democratization serves the cause of peace because it offers the possibility of justice and a progressive change without force,” as put forward by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the sixth Secretary General of the United Nations.
In the meantime, reflect on these words:
“It is a good moment to repeat that a war is never won. Never mind that history books tell us the opposite. The psychological and material costs of war are so high that any triumph is a pyrrhic victory. Only peace can be won and winning peace means not only avoiding armed conflict but finding ways of eradicating the causes of individual and collective violence: injustice and oppression, ignorance and poverty, intolerance and discrimination. We must construct a new set of values and attitudes to replace the culture of war which, for centuries, has been influencing the course of civilization. Winning peace means the triumph of our pledge to establish, on a democratic basis, a new social framework of tolerance and generosity from which no one will feel excluded.” _(2)
It has been clearly postulated that peace is the general absence of war or violence of any kind. It is also an undisputed fact that the selfish and different shades of opinion of people also usually results in disagreement which is best solved by peaceful means like dialogue instead of violence. A key reason for violence which is the opposite of peace is the demonstration of selfishness or egoism of the individual contrary to the norms, ethics, practices or procedures of a particular society.
My honest opinion is that, we must not let politics, religion or tribalism affect our cohesion and unity which are also basic hallmarks of peace and stability. Social ills which normally prevent peaceful co-existence include inflation, human rights violations, corruption, lawlessness, inequality, tribalism, regionalism and other allied social ills which have been plaguing our socities. ‘A truly free society must not include a “peace” which oppresses us. We must learn on our own terms what peace and freedom mean together. There can be no peace if there is social injustice and suppression of human rights, because external and internal peace are inseparable. Peace is not just the absence of mass destruction, but a positive internal and external condition in which people are free so that they can grow to their full potential,’ said Petra Karin Kelly (1947-1992), the German Green politician and activist.
Also, politics used as an instrument of self aggrandisement usually proves inimical to the peace of the citizens and mostly results in anarchy. Without freedom and justice, it would be very impossible to achieve a just and peaceful society. Also, social and economic changes by political leaders without the knowledge, consent and approval of the citizens also prove antagonistic to national development.
In the Bible, it is evident that the peace of the world was threatened by the sin committed by Adam and Eve. Through the Fall of Adam and Eve, the harmony of creation was also destroyed. If we read the Book of Genesis, we see how Adam and Eve became aware of their sinful condition, were driven out of the Garden of Eden, and were forced to live by the sweat of their brow. The beauty and harmony of God’s creative plan was disrupted. This was not the way it was meant to be. Once sin entered into life and into our world, all harmony with God, with self, with each other, and with the world around us was shattered. We call the Fall and its results “Original Sin.”
“The goal toward which all history tends is peace, not peace through the medium of war, not peace through a process of universal intimidation, not peace through a program of mutual impoverishment, not peace by any means that leaves the world too weak or too frightened to go on fighting, but peace pure and simple based on that will to peace which has animated the overwhelming majority of mankind through countless ages,” said Robert Maynard Hutchins (1899-1977). “This will to peace does not arise out of a cowardly desire to preserve one’s life and property, but out of conviction that the fullest development of the highest powers of men can be achieved only in a world of peace.”
In conclusion, there is no doubt that nations which have remained peaceful over the years have received a reasonable degree of socio-political advancement. It is therefore true that while peace ushers in development, wars are normally attributed to destruction, and under-development and therefore should be completely unheeded. As Mohandas Gandhi has written: “Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed.”
(1)__Chari C. (2008) war, peace & hegemony in a globalized world: Changing the balance of power. London: Routledge Kalinovsk A.M & Radechenko (2011).
(2)__ Federico Mayor’s quote.
© Juliet Rogers,
Sociètal Engineer, Life & Emotional Intelligence Coach.