“Never before in the history of the world has there been a global, visible, public, viable, open dialogue and conversation about the very legitimacy of war.”
These were the words from Dr. Robert Muller, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, now Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Peace in Costa Rica. He was one of the people who witnessed the founding of the UN and has worked for its support ever since. Recently he was in San Francisco to be honored for his service to the world through the UN and through his writings and teachings for peace. At age eighty, Dr. Muller surprised the audience with his positive assessment of where the world stands now regarding war and peace.
He began by saying: “The whole world is now having this critical and historic dialogue, listening to all kinds of points of view and positions about going to war or not going to war. In a huge global public conversation the world is asking, “Is war legitimate? Is it illegitimate? Is there enough evidence to warrant an attack or not? What will be the consequences? The costs? What will happen after a war? How will this set off other conflicts? What might be peaceful alternatives? What kind of negotiations are we not thinking of? What are the real intentions for declaring war?”
He went on to say, “No matter what happens, history will record that this is a new era. The 21st century has been initiated with the world in a global dialogue looking deeply, profoundly and responsibly as a global community at the legitimacy of the actions of a nation that is desperate to go to war. Through these global peace-waging efforts, the leaders of that nation are being engaged in further dialogue, forcing them to rethink, and allowing all nations to participate in the serious and horrific decision to go to war or not.”
Dr. Muller also made reference to a recent New York Times article that pointed out that up until now there has been just one superpower ñ the United States, and that that has created a kind of blindness in the vision of the US But now, Dr. Muller asserts, there are two superpowers: the United States and the merging, surging voice of the people of the world. We have left writing this comment column in Positive News until the very last minute but as we send the paper to the printers today, MPs are taking a vote in Parliament on whether it is right to go to war or not. Whatever the outcome, there is a profound sense that the world has already changed and this is only the start of something, not the end. As Robert Muller says all around the world people are waging peace.
“Be the change you want to see in the world” ñ Mahatma Gandhi
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