No more wars and a ban on nuclear weapons

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“Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.”  Pres. John F. Kennedy, October 1963

“The real conflict is between the powers that use people and countries by manipulating, oppressing and pitting them against each other for profit and gain… The future will be without war or not at all.” Rafael de la Rubia, April 2022

Editor’s Introduction: The Practical Necessity of Abolishing War

If anything constructive comes from the disasters of Ukraine, it may be the turning up of the volume on the call for the abolition of war. Long given lip service as the ultimate goal of multiple and often inconsistent steps toward peace taken to end particular conflicts, as a slogan hyping popular support for a “war to end all war;” as a vision that has informed diplomacy and peace movements since the eighteenth century, as the theme of The Hague Agenda for Peace and Justice in the 21st Century, and as a suggestion in the recently posted statement on Ukraine by the Teachers College Columbia University Afghan Advocacy team, the concept and goal of abolition are now moving from the periphery of idealist fantasy to the discourse of practical necessity.

That practical necessity, presciently noted in President John F Kennedy’s 1963 address to the United Nations, is vigorously reiterated within the context of responsibility for the Ukraine disasters in this recent article by Rafael de la Rubia. We believe both statements should be read and seriously discussed in terms of the present realities of the many armed conflicts and the nuclear threat that may bring an end to human society. All who believe that peace is possible, if human will and action make it probable, should confront this challenge. What do we need to learn and to achieve to make the possible probable?  (BAR – April 11, 2022)

No more wars and a ban on nuclear weapons

By Rafael de la Rubia

Who is responsible for the conflict?

It is not known how many Ukrainians have died, nor how many young Russians were forced to fight. Looking at the pictures, it will be in the thousands, if we add the physically disabled, the emotionally disabled, those affected with serious existential fractures and the horrors that this Ukrainian war is producing. Thousands of buildings destroyed, homes, schools and spaces for coexistence annihilated. Countless lives and projects cut short, as well as relationships broken by the war. The number of displaced persons and refugees is already in the millions. But it does not end there. Hundreds of millions are already affected by the rising cost of living around the world, and billions more may be affected.

Many of these human beings were contemporaries at the dawn of life. They did not know each other, but they struggled until their lives were cut short. Or, like many young Ukrainians, they hide so as not to be called to war “… I am too young to die and to kill…” they say. In addition, there are many children, old people and women whose lives are being fractured by a war that, it is said, nobody wanted.

Who do we point to as responsible for such crimes? The one who pulled the trigger or fired the missile? The one who gave the order to attack? The one who made the weapon, the one who sold it or the one who donated it? The one who designed the software to track the missile? The one who with his speech inflamed the blood or the one who sowed tares? The one who with his articles and false information created the breeding ground for hatred? The one who prepared false attacks and false war crimes to blame the other side? Tell me, please, at whom are you pointing your accusing finger: at the one who, impassive in his position of responsibility, removes them from death? At the one who invents stories to steal from another? It is already common knowledge that the first thing to die in wars is the truth… So, is it the political representatives who are responsible? Is it the big propaganda media who are responsible? Is it those who close down and censor certain media outlets? Or those who make video games where you try to kill your opponent? Is it Putin the dictator of a Russia that wants to expand and resume its imperialist aspirations? Or is it NATO, which is closing in ever more closely, afterwards promising not to expand, having tripled the number of countries? Who of all these bears any responsibility? None? Or just a few?

Those who point to those to blame without reference to the context in which all this is made possible, those who point to the easily identifiable “media” culprits without pointing to those who actually benefit and profit from death, those who operate in this way, in addition to being short-sighted, become accomplices in situations where conflict will arise again.

When those responsible are sought out and punishment is demanded, does it make reparation for the victim’s useless sacrifice, does it mitigate the pain of the victim, does it bring the loved one back to life, and most importantly, does it prevent the repetition of the same? Most importantly, does it prevent future repetition?

If punishment is called for, it is revenge that is being sought, not justice. True justice is about repairing the harm done.

Many people cannot believe what is happening. It’s as if history has gone backwards. We thought this would never happen again, but now we see it closer because it is on Europe’s doorstep where we are experiencing the conflict. We were used to the people affected being in distant wars, having coloured skin and not being white with blue eyes. And the children were barefoot and didn’t wear tasseled hats or teddy bears. Now we feel it closer and we are pouring out in solidarity, but we have forgotten that this is a continuation of what is happening today or has happened before in many parts of the world: Afghanistan, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, DR Congo, Yemen, Syria, the Balkans, Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Chechnya, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Vietnam, Algeria, Rwanda, Poland, Germany or Liberia.

The real problem lies with those who profit from war, with the military-industrial complex, with those who want to maintain their power and heartless possession in the face of the needs of the dispossessed of the world, those majorities who struggle every day to build a dignified existence.

This is not a conflict between Ukrainians and Russians, any more than it is between Sahrawis and Moroccans, Palestinians and Jews, or between Shiites and Sunnis. The real conflict is between the powers that use people and countries by manipulating, oppressing and pitting them against each other for profit and gain. The real problem lies with those who profit from war, with the military-industrial complex, with those who want to maintain their power and heartless possession in the face of the needs of the dispossessed of the world, those majorities who struggle every day to build a dignified existence. This is a complex issue that is at the root of our history: the manipulation of populations in order to pit them against each other while there are sectors that remove them from power.

This is a complex issue that is at the root of our history: the manipulation of populations in order to pit them against each other while there are sectors that remove them from power.

Let us remember that the 5 countries that have the right of veto in the United Nations also happen to be the 5 main arms producers in the world. Weapons demand wars and wars demand weapons…

On the other hand, wars are remnants of a stage of our prehistoric past. Until today, we have lived with them, almost considering them as “natural”, because they did not pose a serious danger to the species. What problem could there be for the human race if one wren came into conflict with another and a few hundred died? It went from there to thousands. And afterwards the scale continued to increase, with technological improvements in the art of killing. In the last world wars the dead numbered in the tens of millions. The destructive capacity of nuclear weapons continues to increase enormously day by day. Now, with the possibility of a nuclear confrontation, our species is already in danger. The continuity of the human race is now in question.

We cannot afford this. It is a turning point that we have to decide as a species.

We, the people, are showing that we know how to unite and that we have more to gain by working together than by confronting each other.

We have already traveled the planet twice and I can assure you that we have not met anyone who believes that wars are the way forward.

Sixty countries have already outlawed nuclear weapons by signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Let’s force our governments to ratify it. Let us isolate countries that defend nuclear weapons. The doctrine of “deterrence” has failed, as more and more powerful weapons are found in more and more countries. The nuclear threat has not been eliminated; on the contrary, it is gaining more and more force. In any case, as an intermediate step, let us put nuclear weapons in the hands of a refounded United Nations with a clear direction towards multilateralism and towards solving the main problems of humanity: hunger, health, education and the integration of all peoples and cultures.

Let us be coherent and let us express this sentiment loudly so that the brutes who represent us are made aware: we can no longer afford more armed conflicts. Wars are the dregs of humanity. The future will be without war or not at all.

The new generations will thank us for it.

Rafael de la Rubia. Spanish Humanist. Founder of the Organization World without Wars and Violence and spokesperson of the World March for Peace and Nonviolence theworldmarch.org

1 Comment

  1. Holy Day reading for all who honor God in all religions: This is my hope, my wish, my dream my mission, my work, my goal for now and for the rest of my life. Together it is possible! For me thank you for this Holy Saturday reading and push to do more!

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