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Developed Countries Should Change Mentality to Establish World Peace

  • A.K.M. Atiqur Rahman
  • 22nd September, 2022 04:33:29 PM
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Yesterday was the International Day of Peace. Though the day was celebrated on the third Tuesday of September every year from 1982 to 2001, but it has been celebrated on 21 September since 2002. Like other countries, the people of Bangladesh also celebrate this day every year. Due to the improvement of the COVID-19 situation, this year's event was a little wider. Apart from the government, various programs were chalked out to celebrate the day by various institutions and non-governmental organisations. However, every organisation has given importance to the purpose for which the day is celebrated, i.e. to make the people aware of the establishment of world peace.

A theme is chosen every year to make the observance of the day meaningful. This year's theme is 'End Racism. Build Peace.' In order to establish peace in the world, every person in the world must come forward to strengthen the ideals of peace through practicing of non-violence. We must address hate speech and violence directed at racial minorities and backward people. We must come together to speak out against hate speech and continue our efforts to promote anti-racism. We need to strengthen the bond of harmony existing among different groups of people in our society. This year's celebration was supposed to emphasize particularly this issue along with others.

Even though the severity of the COVID-19 epidemic has come down, the world is still not free from this. On the other hand, the Russia-Ukraine war is creating another disaster in people's lives. No one knows when people will be freed from the current state of life and livelihood. If the purpose of developed world i.e. rich countries is for financial gain, it will be impossible for developing or poor countries to handle any economic disaster. The Russia-Ukraine war is taking the people of the world to such a destination that the thought of peace is far away, the poor people do not know that they might fall under the grip of famine before the celebration of Peace Day next year. If the world leaders think about the expansion of power or the sale of weapons without thinking about peace, how will peace be established in the world? Can the tree be saved by cutting the root of the tree and pouring water on the tip? Will not the world political equation ever allow us to walk along the path of peace?

The big obstacle in the way of establishing peace in the world is the attitude and mentality of the developed countries. If the people of those countries do not see the people of developing or underdeveloped countries with respect and honour, then the dream of world peace will never be realized. No matter how much we talk about peace, a world of peace can never be established unless we can eliminate the dehumanizing hatred of the poor people of the poor countries and the racially discriminatory behaviour and mentality of the rich people. In this regard, the change in the attitude of the people of the developed world is very important and urgent. We do not know whether it will be possible to make any fundamental changes in this regard.

In this context, I would like to mention a small incident. Once the 'Spouses Association' of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia organised a charity fair to help poor children in which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia and all embassies in the country participated. We also got a stall. Our stall was located in a place where fair visitors can easily find it. On the other hand, the Australian stall was not well located. The Australian High Commissioner (despite being a good friend of mine) complained about how we were given a stall in such an attractive location, while they were given a stall difficult to find. As the authorities allotted the stalls through lottery, Australian Embassy had nothing to do. In fact, they thought Bangladesh was a small country compared to Australia, far behind them economically or in power. This was an expression of the arrogance or jealousy of the white High Commissioner. His malicious behaviour caused us grief that day. How can the world be flooded with peace with such a mindset?

Tensions and conflicts, racism, denial of the right to self-determination had been going on for many years in the world. Even fifty years back, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman understood the severity of the discrimination among people. That’s why, he spoke strongly about the freedom and rights of those people who were victims of racism and deprived of the right to self-determination. He knew that efforts to bring peace in the world would be meaningless if there were disparity or deprivation. Therefore, he called upon the people of the world to forget all differences, hatred, violence, hostilities and conflicts, and come forward under the same flag with firm conviction of establishing peace.

We, the common people, people of all countries, rich or poor, wherever we live in the world, want to live in peace. Only a few people, who are leading us, are creating all problems against peace. Those power-lovers are not allowing us to rest in peace while implementing their strategies to establish global dominance. This trend continues as before. No matter how many words of peace we see emanating from the mouths of those leaders, they are nothing but a form of hypocrisy. Otherwise, since 1982, every country in the world has been promising to establish peace, but sowing the seeds of unrest has never stopped. If world leaders wanted to establish peace, why is there still so much conflict, hatred and war in the world? Why are there the waves of unrests or sufferings in Palestine, Syria, South Sudan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Lebanon, Afghanistan and other parts of the world?

What are we actually observing? The leaders of the world are piling up a sea of words in the name of promises or pledges while celebrating the International Day of Peace every year. But within a few days, they again back to their old habits of domination. The rays of peace are clouded by wars, political and economic exploitation, religious hatred, racial discrimination and deprivation of self-determination. It goes without saying that even in this case, the strategy of preserving political and economic dominance and expanding influence of powerful countries is working. If they were sincere in their words and deeds, they could have changed the image of the world. But the wind of peace did never blow in the world. The lust for power has engulfed them. World leaders would one day realise and take responsibility for their failure. Common people never want any disturbance.

People are not well in the corona epidemic. The situation in poor countries is even worse. With the direction the world economy is headed, no one can guarantee that economic disaster will not happen in the coming years. It cannot be said at the moment how much people can be protected from the scourge of the epidemic named famine, but one can guess the extent of that. Ensuring a sustainable and inclusive global economic base can avert that crisis, smoothing the way to peace. Establishment of peace would be easier, if economic and social security could be provided to the neglected people, wherever they live in the world, irrespective of caste and creed.

Peace involves understanding each other and working together to find acceptable solutions to problems. Peace means freedom from any disturbance or disorder. And a prerequisite for peace is mutual respect and trust in the vision of solidarity. The programmes adopted to celebrate the day this year must make people aware of these issues and pave the way for their practical implementation. People from every stratum of our society should be motivated to come forward.

If peace cannot be established in the world, overall development and welfare of mankind will never be possible. Everyone should act as if the world is a family. The world should forget the differences between rich and poor, developed and underdeveloped countries and adopt a humanistic perspective. We don't know whether the day will come when the mentality of the people of developed countries, especially the leadership, will change and the people of all the countries of the world will respect each other regardless of caste and creed. Without looking at anyone, let us continue our efforts and raise our voice. The people of every country must be serious in pressing their leaders to stop wars and to do whatever necessary to establish peace in the world permanently. One day surely this collective effort of all will bring success; a world of peace will be established.

The writer is a former Ambassador and Secretary