Monday, March 5, 2012

control the weapons or the mind?

Elections are an important part of a free society. When the people have trust in the system to choose who is going to be the leader, that feeling expands into everyday life of the people. Right now we have an election process taking place in Burma. This process is taking place after years of harsh political censorship and control.
The ability of a government to control the people in such a manner (as has happened in Burma), usually employs violence. As a country begins to come out of that situation of violence and fear there is still the threat of violence. Mainly the threat continues because the old power structure is still fighting. To decrease the violence there needs to be a concerted effort to eliminate the flow of weapons.
We are witnessing this flow of weapons in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and many other countries as well. The flow of weapons keeps the society destabilized and in fear. To combat the destabilization of society, disrupt the flow of weapons and bring peace is a multi-level task.
The problem is international in scope.  During July 2012, UN member states will meet to negotiate a legally binding international instrument governing the transfer of conventional arms: the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The problem is, will this stop the weapons trade?
The war in Sierra Leone and Liberia was fuelled by diamonds and timber. As the war became as savage as a war has ever been, the world took measures to end the trade in “blood diamonds”. The measure taken is known as the Kimberely Process. This process did stem the flow of diamonds for a time. What we have to realize is that the people engaged in trading diamonds for weapons are criminals.  They will continue to work outside of treaties and laws.
The concern is that we must know the Arms Trade Treaty will not end the illegal trade of weapons. Of course having these laws is better than not. The largest demon in all of this is the desire to grab power/control through the use of fear, violence and oppression. The quick demise of peace in Cote D’ivoire is another example in the use of fear, weapons and oppression.
The battle of human relations is the largest demon we have to tackle. All the weapons in the world will have no bearing if the people who own them have no desire to use them. However, we live in a world where insanity is present, people will kill for power and build weapons to instil fear.
The positive element rests in the balance of peace. Most of us are peaceful. We wish to trust each other and enjoy the many differences of the world. We enjoy the process of debate, the camaraderie of sport and the challenge of opposition. Elections are filled with such elements. Furthermore, All of these elements in society are positives. It stops to be positive when fear, violence and oppression are used to gain power and control over another and that is where war begins to be fought ultimately  in the mind.

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