Speech to 53rd annual United Nations NGO/ DPI Annual Conference

Humanitarian intervention: the role of civil society and building bridges through global peace

I am not a politician or a policymaker but I am practical and have dedicated my life to humanitarian causes and as a spiritual person I take active role in the well-being of my society, local and global. This is a perfect time, where at the beginning of a new century, we have a chance to re-evaluate our past and re-examine what we are offering to our next generation. This is perhaps the most worthy of all humanitarian intervention. The twentieth century was abundant with advancements and inventions and, at the same time, earned the title of the bloodiest century. History has witnessed the destruction of humanity under the footsteps of wars, conflict and oppositions. We have failed to protect the lives of our human family while we proudly assume great roles and human bloodshed and in destruction of human lives. We have failed in wisdom, when sacrificing lives, peace, justice and morality, under the footsteps of our greed and corruption we present logical arguments, to make ourselves feel better.

If we are to leave a better world for our next generation, if we are disappointed at ourselves, we must take a look at our present world and pinpoint the conflict areas.  We may need to understand and review the actual and more realistic causes of conflict and learn from our past failings, in order to propose wiser and more practical solutions for our future, so that our next generations would appreciate our efforts and dedication for leaving behind a peaceful world.

Economy has been one of the greatest participants in creating war and conflict; the greater the wealth, the greater the power, the greater the imbalance, the greater the conflict. One’s persons or one’s gigantic wealth will cause the death of many smaller families or smaller nations. We live in an era when only a few have the power to change our lives, and such absolute power is a doorway towards the destruction of the smaller communities. The financial and economical imbalance between nations and between people, is an excellent ground for conflict and destruction.

Another important factor is the advancement of technology, a titanic force indifferent to human lives, and, at the present time almost out of control. The less fortunate nations, their lands, their natural resources, and their people are the sources and nourishment for this machine of technology and the greed of economy. They will provide energy for technology to advance and to bring a better life for the wealthy, while being robbed from their lives, from the wealth of their natural resources, and will be left behind in poverty, malnutrition and frustration.

When the powerful becomes more powerful and the less fortunate are vanished from the face of the earth–especially when we choose to ignore the simple law: everyone has the right to be–then we are all willful participants in bringing misery to our fellow human beings. In an order such as this what can be said about humanitarian intervention?

Perhaps one of the ways that international peacemaking institutions, such as United Nations, may take under consideration is to stand as an independent institution, a true union of nations.  Nation is a body of people, and government is a body of politicians, there it is, an immense difference between the two.

We have seen that people, grassroots groups, you and I, help each other when disaster strikes. We do come together to protect each other against a greater enemy. How will we protect each other against the titanic wheel of technology and economy that is growing stronger and more powerful, becoming like a hurricane ready to explode?  And we know that once this hurricane explodes, it will destroy the lower grounds, the less fortunate nations by its force. Will we come together to protect each other against such destruction?

The question remains: In order to provide peaceful, practical humanitarian intervention between conflicting communities, how can we recognize the actual causes of conflict, so perhaps we may prevent conflict before it arises? Or have a better understanding of the conflict, at hand?

Was the battle in Sierra Leone, Africa, the result of civil conflict or diamond mines? Where lives sacrificed in East Timor for national conflict or uranium resources?  Is the saga of the middle-east religiously-based or nourished by oil and other natural resources? I wonder.

Is it possible to create an international advisory board whose members are dedicated humanitarian people of all nations, and not politicians and people who seek power disguised as peacemaking devout!?

Is it possible to organize conferences to teach peaceful humanitarian intervention in different parts of the world by these dedicated people?

Is it possible to organize conferences to teach peaceful, humanitarian intervention in different parts of the world so all nations share the benefits of every nation’s wisdom and wealth?

So people and nations may begin to trust the peacemaker institutions such as UN and its peaceful interventions. And do not take such magnificent institutions as the agent of a third party, but an institution of people, people who are dedicating their lives to protect the rights of others?  So perhaps a ground of trust and understanding will begin to enfold.

Perhaps it is time that to protect the lives of the needy, young, and elderly of all nations becomes an important priority for such institutions.

Perhaps it is time we become a union of nations, of people, of human beings, so we learn to listen to one another on a trustworthy ground, where everyone has the rights, and all rights are protected and honored by this union.

Then perhaps we can truly, and in actuality, claim that we invite humanitarian interveners to intervene when conflict arises, we will listen and trust our voice of wisdom, deliver what we promise, then build bridges through a global peace.

Excerpt from Dr. Angha’s talk delivered at the United Nations 53rd NGO/ DPI annual conference (2000)


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