The world is different now; with the introduction of democracies and the United Nations, our thoughts about wars and diplomacy have progressed. Intolerance of ethnic and racial differences has diminished considerably in this century, and, most importantly, people are beginning to understand that nations don’t cause wars; it is us as individuals who suppress peace and democracy. I have learned to fully understand that as individuals, we are responsible for the preservation of world peace and democracy.
As I grew up in Zimbabwe, I had a general assumption that issues pertaining to peace and democracy were the politicians’ duty. In a country that is infested with political violence, corrupt government officials and suppression of human rights, Zimbabwe made headlines around the world as a “failed state” with the worst hyperinflation in history, even more than in 1923 Germany.
I always felt that something was seriously wrong, but under the lens of my society, there was nothing wrong at all. The political violence that haunted my country had been normalized.
I read the news, and in most of the headlines I could see war and terror, images of dead people in Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and other parts of the world.
We are all responsible for the current state of our societies and the world catastrophes that we are facing. Society shapes how children will behave when they became adults. The odds are high that children assimilate to and recreate values we expose them to, because that’s all they know.
Just as Crandall R. Kline states in “Peace within Our Grasp,” there are fundamental moral rules that society can implement to attain a peaceful global community. Although we may take it for granted, we need to emphasize nonviolence, the understanding that no one has the right to kill or harm anyone else. This can be further strengthened by educating society that lives and land are sacred. No nation has the right to invade another, kill the people or take the land. Citizens must withdraw support for any leader that violates human rights. Groups of people have no more right to kill than individuals have. Governments have no right to kill anyone. Not only do we need the right rules, but we need enough people who understand them and who are concerned enough to speak up and demand that the governments and policy makers implement them. These people are the young adults, youths and children. This generation needs intense education, exemplary leaders and most importantly – intact families.
I strongly believe peace can be attained if we as a global community invest in teaching and demonstrating nonviolent ways of resolving conflict to the younger generations. If families, society, legislators and national leaders show nonviolence to the children, then the seed of hate, intolerance and oppression which leads to violence will slowly dwindle.
Howard Mukanda is a Sophomore Student from Zimbabwe. He is Double Majoring in Business Management Information Systems and Global Studies. His Involvement with International Students, Peer Mentorship and International Admissions echoes his immense interest in Cultural Diversity.
Howard is also intrigued by Global issues concerning Peace, Justice and Democracy.