It is hard to look at the news nowadays. Our eyes sting with fury at the sight of bloodshed and gunfire, yet we curse at humanity and sometimes ourselves for our powerlessness in these issues that surround our foreign brothers. Over and over again they have happened, from the Yugoslav Wars to the Israel-Palestine conflicts that continue to this day. Indeed, talks of unification and the dissolution of conflicts have gotten excessive, it is hard to believe if anything has progressed, even as humanity has taken great strides in combating any traces of primitiveness that may otherwise regress civilisation.
Yet it is impermissible to watch most news go untold as we take to the keyboards on the wars occurring in Syria or Israel/Palestine. We cannot deny that the predominance of Western (American) culture has influenced the way the world revolves, more specifically to the topic we’re discussing, how we view the world. To put things even more specifically, we have to open our eyes to the fact that what we absorb through the television or the phone or YouTube have been, in some way or another, Americanised. The creation of said media will, in definite terms, rewire the minds of viewers to the extent of accepting what is beneficial to Western countries politically and socially is the just and right notion. It also creates a loophole in the system. While the Western powers haggle over international stages and forums about world peace and harmony, more often than not, they have been the ones establishing the foundations of the problem while diverting any attention that may seem to peer over the edge of what they try to hide. When we talk about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, do we see news sources such as the BBC covering what actually went on in history? That leaves the general public uninformed. How about the US’ involvement in the Middle East that has led to power vacuums plaguing the region, or NATO’s intervention in Libya that dug a political grave right smack in the middle of Tripoli? Pertaining to untold conflicts, how many of us truly know about the ongoing Cyprus conflict that in no way brings benefits nor harms to Western powers and the UN?
Indeed, scholarly supporters of the West view this as intimately instrumental to the survival of the West, and may even go as far as to bring up the point of the reliance of the world on Western economies. However, what they do not see is that empty words do not make the world revolve. In other words, the same can be asked about their intentions. Do they truly believe in the art of peace and harmony Western politicians so often spew? Do they promulgate the subtle hypocrisy going on in the General Assembly or the Security Council? On a much larger scale, what is then the point of the existence of the United Nations, if it is just going to be a useless replica of the League of Nations?
What they fail to notice at the same time is how congealed the world is when it comes to international peace. If peace to them means the end of conflicts, they are sorely wrong. The end to conflicts will never come because humans are bound to possess ideological differences. What scholars and politicians must therefore realise is the creation of a public forum to address these differences, allowing every faction to test and be tested on a non-violent platform. It is even more crucial to accept these differences, yet continue efforts to dissolve stereotypes and thoroughly disseminate informative dialogues on scientific evidence and statistical trends that can break misinformation that can otherwise set global predicaments on a serious deterioration.
That said, it is still naïve to assume that most participants to such discourses will adhere to this scheme. There are many who stand to gain or lose in the competitive scheme of things globally. This has given rise to a sudden prevalence of populism globally. In the US, we have a raving President who vows to give us great economic deals and to protect our borders. In reality, his claims have only been prevarications to further dangerous causes such as American protectionism and reticence. Even as evidences pile up against Trump’s claims, he remains intransigent, unaccepting and unyielding to facts. What is even more worrying is the level of misinformation in the media that has propagated to the point of an ill-informed society that can put such discourses at risk of turning into keyboard wars of insults instead of constrictive criticisms. The entire goal of public discourse becomes misconstrued. In the end, such platforms will yet again descend into the hands of selfish manipulators.
Then this begs the question: What else can we do to stop international conflicts and bring about peace?
Really, to tackle this question is no easy feat. Tackling this question also deals with ironies.
The first step to this is to establish a social notion of peace while ensuring that this goal leads to a long-term solution. This does not disqualify the rights of oneself to determine what he/she thinks peace should be defined. My personal definition of peace implies the very eradication of global violent conflicts and problems through the establishment of public discourse and general education to ensure that humanity takes greater strides in ensuring that differences are dealt with through pen and paper and not with guns and missiles, promoting the betterment of this world through greater technological and social advancements. The establishment of this unified social notion may seem constricted at first, but only with a unified goal can peace be fulfilled for it gives a concrete direction to follow through, policies and all.
The next step is to accept that absolute peace cannot be attained. It is simply naïve to think that absolute peace can ever be the main rule. Time and time again, human nature has prevailed over efforts in peace. That was shown throughout history, one of the most notable events being the Russian Revolution and the aftermath of the new communist administration. Ironic as it may seem, accepting this fact brings humanity closer to this end goal of non-violence and civilised advancement as it accentuates current humanly limits, pushing for political and social evolutions. Furthermore, the acceptance of this limit casts into question the conventional authority that is governments and their smaller units, politicians. This enables the people themselves to question those who represent or rule over them, as well as question the integrity and legitimacy of the powers that govern both nationally and globally. As a starter, simply questioning the relation between the government and the media goes a long way.
The third step involves making certain sacrifices to both personal and social safety within home countries itself by all global citizens, from the common worker to even politicians themselves. Transgressive movements can be made against establishments that can serve to degrade criticality against common authorities. Articles like this should be made to even question the very media that houses it.
The fourth and last is to reach out to victims of the aforementioned establishments, such as refugees from the Middle Eastern crisis. It is absolutely important to educate them about their rights as global citizens as well as learn from their experiences. This unity in diversity is crucial in enabling political cultures and experiences to remain ubiquitous instead of staying confined to the borders of a country. If the tangible have their borders, the intangible ideas should be limitless.
However, I question the nature of myself and humanity. Even as I write what I have written above and emphasise on them, I cannot shake off that primal fear of putting myself at risk, much less that of the others. Believing in a cause is one issue. Combating the limits set simply by the existence of human nature is another. Simply put, it is almost impossible for anyone to transcend human nature. Still, it is important to put into question the integrity and effectiveness of global powers such as the UN or the West, the intentions of rising powers such as China and the truthfulness of local governments when they promise national prosperity and peace. Any international discourse by politicians on peace is almost always bullshit. They have effectively shown a hierarchy that threatens the bedrock of local, regional and global peace. If peace is the goal, seeing government and citizenry as equals should come as a start.