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Howard's End: Peace Message Clear To World Govts

Howard's End: Peace Message Clear To World Govts

A million marched in Rome, 1.3 milion paraded in Barcelona, two million in Madrid, a half million in London, 250,000 in New York. From Canberra to Cape Town, from Karachi to Chicago, from Wellington to Warsaw, millions of stern, defiant, impassioned and vocal people turned out across the world on Saturday urging peace not war. Maree Howard writes.

"You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can't bomb it into peace," one placard among hundreds of thousands across the world admonished as demonstrators, mostly orderly, said no to war.

"I hope the Muslim people realise it is government's that want war, not the people," one young demonstrator told Scoop in Greymouth on the South Island's West Coast.

This global and impassioned plea was clear to any world leader ready and willing to listen.

The people of the world are sick of war, fed-up with the more than forty active conflicts presently raging around the globe, disgusted with leaders who march to their own agenda, and outraged with injustice.

What all conflicts had in common, until now, is that more and more of them were settled by negotiation.

Traditionally, wars usually ended by a decision on the battlefield or peace came through mutual exhaustion. During the Cold War, for example, the world got into the habit of trying to stop local conflicts before they escalated out of control and risked drawing in the major powers.

Soviet and American diplomats spent almost as much time damping down troubles as their respective intelligence agencies spent fomenting it - peace making had become a profession, but not anymore.

What the world needs now is love certainly but, more than ever, there must be someone who will step up to the plate and say to Hussein, Bush, Blair and others, "let's talk" - in other words, the power of one.

The UN obviously can't do it, the skilled mediators of the past are carrying too much baggage and politicians and Government's of today simply lie, or don't tell the whole truth.

A bad peace, like the appeasement of Hitler at Munich in 1938, may simply postpone an even wider war. Peace can always be had at a price but it is not peace at all.

There simply has to be an impartial someone in this whole world of ours, rich or poor, important or unimportant, diplomat or not, who genuinely sees injustice and the imbalance of power, that the nature of the conflict is about ethnicity, culture, religion, psychological, sociological, anthropological roots and, crucially, about competition for resources.

Make no mistake, it is a conflict about all of those things and no durable Middle East peace will be possible until they are addressed firmly and resolutely.

Indeed, Saddam Hussein has told an envoy of Pope John Paul that the United States wanted to attack Iraq because it is a Muslim country. So religion is to the forefront of his concerns.

Therefore, in our attempt to obtain a sustainable and peaceful Middle East resolution we need to look at who the parties really are, rather than their media acting abilities. That is discoverable information.

Our global mediator will be even handed with the parties who are clearly unequal in their bargaining power. He or she will help the parties to truly identify their concerns, assisting in the development of options and considering consequences and, most importantly, to see that all the necessary relevant information is available to all parties.

That way an equitable peace settlement will be reached that each party will perceive as reasonable and therefore more apt to honour its terms. We cannot smother the peace process, we must open it up.

We should no longer accept that violence can be met with violence; we can no longer tolerate anyone sabotaging a peace settlement process; we can no longer tolerate those espousing peace when what they really want is a piece of this or a piece of that.

A just and durable Middle East peace is possible - but first we have to find that neutral someone - the power of one - who will step-up to the plate and say: "Let's talk, please open the door."

© Scoop Media

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