(Picture -Attending a Press Conference with Ukrainian Afghanistan War Veterans)
This year is the centenary of the war that was supposed to end all wars, yet it appears it was only the precursor of what was to come. It seems that humans have been at war since they first became aware of differences that are innate in the human psyche.
While we talk of remembrance, especially at this time of year, the reality is that over time, the memories have been diluted by historians and others seeking advantage and by the absence of those who have personally experienced it.
Yet people everywhere yearn for peace, or I should say the majority of people, as there are some who see advantage in war and upheaval.
Having just returned from another extended stint in Ukraine observing their parliamentary elections it amazes me the resilience of people in their search for democracy and peace. Ukraine’s maturation and progress in managing a fledgling democratic process in the midst of a war can provide lessons for older democracies such as ours.
The desire for democratic freedom burns ever brighter, driven by an even deeper longing for peace in the midst of aggression and turmoil on the country’s eastern and southern borders. Albeit the fighting is focused in this area of the country, everyone has been affected by the loss of family, friends and neigbours who have gone to fight in a war that has been forced upon them.
This desire is most intense among the youth and is fueled by an innate human need to be free from suppression, which Ukrainians understand having experienced it for generations.
But I digress from my main thought that of the search for peace. Ukraine is but a microcosm of the world today.
This search is a human passion rooted deep within the soul of the majority of people who inhabit this planet. It is a singular quest and a communal quest, evident I would suggest even in the first every human conflict that happened when two people realized that they disagreed.
We are also aware that there are a minority of people, whose souls are twisted either through birth, personal experience or perceived grievances. They seek war either in anger, from alienation, to control or for wealth.
People with these characteristics are very evident and prominent in the leadership of today’s world. Strife, conflict and war are prevalent and human and societal destruction are most evident. Thus the numbers aggrieved are growing, and as a result, so are the conflicts.
These disputes range from political discord and dysfunction to all out war. The results, albeit different, cause chaos and destruction and are evident in even developed countries.
The results can be traced at its roots to the human condition that exists in the world at a particular point in time in history.
The ripples of dissatisfaction and unease have been growing, as the repression, economic imbalance and subsequent anger has increased.
People have become tired and fed up at the arrogance of the minority who possess wealth, power or both. This dissatisfaction is most evident within the ranks of the youth.
One could point to the root of all the world’s ills to the aspect of the human psyche that needs to be right, to own and to control. Certainly, the inhumanity of one to another in any society has its basis in individual thought and not collective wisdom. Albeit, it often plays out differently because some are able to control and manipulate others.
The search for peace is an individual issue, but a societal need and has to be the starting point of a rejuvenation of the human world order. Without this, it is apparent that it is only a matter of time when some group or other will gain access to the world’s most powerful weapons and will, without hesitation, use them.
The starting point has to be a transition from a world of money and power to one of humanness and compassion. Politics has to shift from destructive competition to that of genuine sensitivity and consideration for the well being of all who are to be governed.
This will not be an easy transition, but it is an imperative, requiring not only new leaders but a whole new style of leadership and a major shift in thought.
Most of all it will require the engagement and participation of youth, for the future belongs to them, while history is vested with all of us.
It is not just enough to remember. It requires action as well, in order that the next generations will have something different to remember, other than the death and destruction of war and the untold waste of human life.
Written by Bill Pardy
November 13th, 2014