No nation, no matter how rich, is an island, and no country, no matter how strong, is a fortress. We live in increasingly interconnected interdependent world. We cannot afford to be indifferent to each other’s concerns and suffering or unengaged in each other’s problems and dilemmas. Every conflict and every disaster now has global implications. The sooner we understand that the better for us all.We can no longer manage with each people fending on their own. We need a roadmap for coming together as a single human race with diverse cultures and opinions sharing the same space. This is now an existential must.
“Our actions and inactions have global impact now, and we cannot afford to keep making them haphazardly and independently of each other.”
No. I am not calling for organizing some sort of a collective love-fest, but for developing more practical coexistence arrangements, including conflict resolution mechanisms and peacebuilding missions, that could consign genocide and mass slaughter to the darkest recesses of our past, and allow us to tackle together certain developmental and environmental challenges in order for whatever remedies we can propose to prove effective and lasting and not mere Band-Aids.
Our actions and inactions have global impact now, and we cannot afford to keep making them haphazardly and independently of each other. Let the power centers around the world compete to their hearts’ content, but let them do so politically and within an agreed system of global governance, rather than these maddening proxy wars, these unending cycles of violence, and those macabre genocidal ventures that keep staining or collective souls.
We cannot look at Syria, and the evil that has arisen from the ashes of indecision, and think this is not the lowest point in the world’s inability to protect and defend the innocent.
United Nations Security Council (7433rd Meeting), Open Briefing on the Humanitarian Situation in Syria, Remarks by Angelina Jolie Pitt, UNHCR Special Envoy for Refugee Issues. New York, 24 April 2015. Remarks at the UN Security Council.
The “g-word” has considerable power. If mass slaughter is recognised as genocide when it is happening, it is harder for outside forces to sit idly by. When it is over, official recognition that it was genocide can give the survivors some grim satisfaction. But when that recognition is withheld, whether because of a technicality or political expediency, it can feel like the final insult.
The 20th century was bloody and violent, and while some horrors are at least relatively well-known – the Holocaust or the genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia, for example – others have become mere footnotes in history.
The Washington Post: It wasn’t just the Armenians: The other 20th century massacres we ignore.