WHAT IS PEACE?
Peace has been described as the absence of war. This is not entirely true in most cases. For example, you live in a compound with other tenants and you don’t trust each other, you malign amongst yourselves but you still greet each other. Will you say that there is peace in your Compound? Certainly not. You see that there is no war but peace is elusive. Will you say there is peace in most countries with miscarriages of justice and the rich oppress the poor? Albeit, there is no existing war, peace is not in place.
The concept of peace bothers on the philosophical, Sociological and Political view. The philosophical view of peace suggests the state of existence of man when he desired little. Under this condition, man was naturally good (John Jacques R.). Sociological, peace is seen as a state with no social conflicts and individuals can meet their needs and expectations. That is, peace can exist in a classless society. The Political concept of peace, views peace as a state where justice is possible.
QUEST FOR PEACE
After the outbreak of World War I in 1918, efforts were made for future generations to never witness the human and resources waste ordeal. The League of Nations was formed during the Paris peace Conference of 1919. However, these efforts were not strong enough to hold the minds of men. Little wonder Professor Marie Pauline Eboh said in her poem, WORLD PEACE,
Peace and rest refresh the mind
But the mind conceives terror
Terror instills fear in the mind
And minds are ill at ease
Minds flee from home
Neighbors shot their doors
Lest their lives be disorganized
But be disorganized they will
Secure Nations today
Displaced people tomorrow
Who is next?
In 1939, World War II broke out with the Allied and Axis being the two rival alliance. In January 1 1942, President Franklin D Roosevelt first used the word, United Nations (Allied) and in October 24, 1945 at San Francisco-California, the United Nations (UN) was formally established. The aim was simple; an international organization whose stated aims are to facilitate cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achieving world peace.
The quest for peace has made Political and Social thinkers to establish institutions of peace with the aim of developing special concept and techniques to combat Conflicts and foster peace with the reduction of wars. The international Peace Research Association, IPRA formed in 1964 is one of such institutions. In 2001, the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) was formed with members from around the world. These institutions organize and host conferences that present papers on the studies of peace. In most School, Peace and Conflict Resolution is taught with the aim of enlightening the young generation of the adverse effects of Conflict and the immeasurable hush of peace.
With the above listed efforts and more, why is the world still without peace? Many have attributed it to overpopulation but I don’t agree, the earth has enough room for everyone and can provide for all. Let us think for a moment, Boko Haram- Nigeria, ISIS attacks, War in Syria, auto crashes here and there, hearses and wailing sirens, very frequent and terminal illnesses on the rise, etc. With these occurrences, I personally think the world is not overpopulated. However, for those who think the world is still overpopulated, well, I know the antidote to help them. Assuming you are in a crowded room and you are suffocating, what will you do? Leaving the room is the best option. But with the world it is impossible, so, we manage the crisis within, with the goal of achieving peace.
Our pursuit for peace since centuries ago tells us of the very nature of peace- a journey and not a state. From 1919 to present, efforts are made to achieve world peace but we are not there, because, achieving peace is a process that must be continually pursued. Individuals and groups with their own interest will often tend to disrupt a society or the world scene, because man is a perpetual flux. When this happen, the process of achieving peace must be embarked swiftly. This is geared towards restoring peace, because the restoration of peace is a constant journey. However, over the years, the following have strangled our quest for peace:
- Illiteracy and poverty have obstructed the realization of peace. This is very dominant in developing societies like Africa. The youths who are the leaders and prime movers of TODAY lack basic formal education and as such they are easily enticed by the rich and cruel individuals with money. This has been the case, especially during election period in most African countries.
- The existence of powerful individuals, groups and countries have made the process of achieving peace hazy. These powerful figures lack trust amongst themselves. They say one thing and do another. How can the super-powers who are the strong advocates of world peace turn out to be the strong producers of Nuclear Weapon? – The cry for peace from their mouths becomes a display of hypocrisy and the quest for Peace entirely becomes a Placebo. The call for denuclearization is made but nuclear weapons are manufactured consistently by these nations. Why are they manufacturing them? Maybe they are preparing for alien invasion as portrayed in some movies like Independence Day: Resurgence.
- Belief assertion and psychological needs have also halted the realization of peace. Belief assertion is when a person stick to his or her belief system and sees it as the best- so cultural purity transcends against the desire for world peace. This is because, people find solace in their culture even when it threatens the existence of humanity. This undermines the quest for world peace and unnecessary exultation of cultural ties even in the face of social odds. Psychologically, when a person is deprived of love and affection, he tends to be very aggressive and frustrated. In North Korea, Christians, and any people of faith, must remain hidden. Christians who are caught attempting to serve the spiritual needs of their struggling communities are punished with imprisonment, labor camp sentences and even death. This action depicts barbarianism and does not support the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Yet, this is both the ridiculous political and cultural values upheld in that country to the neglect of human rights and comfort.
A PROSPECTIVE GLANCE
Until we realize that we need to sincerely pursue peace and let love rule, we go no further. Let love, trust and sincerity be the guiding principles of our quest for peace then it becomes attainable. Just imagine, your parents instruct you not to watch porn but through their bedroom windows you always see them watch porn. How will you see them- Hypocrites? Yes, true hypocrites. The principle of Do-What-I-DO has always been the best way to run a family and since we are one big family, then we should adopt that principle. The powerful individuals, groups and countries should set the examples and let others follow without doubts. The cry for world peace by super powers should reflect in their actions and make the concept of peace realizable when it is set in motion. Realizing that the quest for peace is a journey and not a state, constant checks on the methods of achieving it and the possible threats of its realization should constantly and timely be reappraised.
United Nations understands the role of education and poverty in the quest for peace and that is why in its seventeen Sustainable development goals, Education and poverty is included. Wealth is created by learned humans. The path of wealth creation is traced by human, the prime mover of any economy. Leaders, especially African leaders should establish a booming economy by giving attention to Human development resources which will include formal education for all sex- geared towards shaping the mind positively, teach students how to think and make High school leavers to easily express their thoughts verbally and in writing. Encourage apprenticeship schemes that will help to develop the younger generation to acquire useful technological skills that will help them to be both mentally and psychologically independent. Which are the basis for sustainability. When this is done, numerous career opportunity should be in place for these high school leavers. Economic and infrastructure development will set in. The citizens will not want to leave their comfort zones to other countries that are most likely full of uncertainties. And if by chance the youths are enticed with money by greedy individuals to carry out gory missions, they are more likely to refuse such offers and possibly ask those greedy individuals to let their children carry out those missions. This is the beauty and the glory of quality education which individuals and countries desire to attain- rational thinking.
We live in a free world as free moral agents. We choose the kind of belief that will build us. No one has the right to force anyone to accept a certain belief system. It is horrifying to know that in this era, persons are still imprisoned for their belief system even when they do not breed violence. All should be captured in the society especially when the belief system does not threat the existence of the inheritors but if it does, there is all moral obligation that it should be discarded for humanity to continue and peace be realized. We should never make anyone feel left out either in words or in action. The process of governance and decision making should take into consideration the needs and effects it will have on the citizens and the existing belief system.
Nothing good comes easy but little by little, we can achieve peace. Albeit, the days of little beginning can be frustrating but we should not despise it. The number of times we stumbled does not matter and it will never. As Winston Churchill said, ‘… failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts’. Little by little we forge, as a ship moves heavily and slowly we will clear all barricades. In this quest, we need all the joules of energy we can get from the old ones and especially, from the young ones. For a peaceful and sustainable society to be attained, all must honestly get committed into the struggle with open hands and sincerity devoid of hypocritical declarations of peace.
Allan, B. D. (2014). Peace and Conflict Studies. Lagos: KennyBright Creations.pages 12-19,47-48 & 65-68.
Marie Pauline Eboh. (2015). Philosophic Thought & Gynist Deconstruction of Gender. Port Harcourt: PEARL PUBLISHERS INTERNATIONAL LTD.pages 5-6.
 ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.