A Letter to UNSG on Peace and the Illegality of War

Posted on 27th June 2015 in Peace, Peace Pedagogy, Practice, Theory
by h. Gibrain

Dear Mr Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

I write to you as a brother in humanity and to implore you to exploit your privileged position as Secretary General of the United Nations to promote and extend the principles and practices of peace as a formal discipline for civil societies at large – beyond the normal scope of the traditional means and mechanisms of the United Nations. During this time of intensifying global conflict and violence there is an equally pressing need for a more coherent and broader reaching education in conflict transformation, the prevention of armed international conflict and the illegality of war. To satisfy those needs there needs to be a corresponding transformation in some of structures, principles and practices of those entities which serves as stewards and enforcers of peace – the United Nations being the preeminent body established towards that end.

When the function of a body and its collective organs do not properly carry out their function it is time to evaluate the structural flaws that lead to that dysfunctionality. While there are numerous reforms to consider regarding potential structural changes of the UN and its organizations, I wish to offer the following change and addition to the United Nations which I believe would have a profound impact on global political affairs and the level of violence perpetrated around the world by governments for purposes beyond that of self defense.

The basis for this change comes, in fact, from the very name of the United Nations. Nations are, essentially, ethnic communities and the United Nations is in fact not a collective of nations but a collective of states. Thus, the very name itself suggests that their should be a representation of nations at the United Nations – a collective of organizations made up of the world’s ethnic communities and civil societies that can express and exercise their will and intentions through a voice at the United Nations. Some of the impediments to the United Nations carrying out its mandate may be countered by these voices.

Perhaps the first international treaty to incorporate an extensive consensus on the fact that war was not the answer to international conflict was the Kellogg-Briand Pact – essentially outlawing war as recourse to settle international disputes. It was this very principle from which the United Nations eventually emerged – as espoused in Article I of the UN Charter. These principles have been violated by parties to these contracts. That those parties who are the perpetrators of great violence have a voice at the United Nations and the nations who are affected in the gravest of ways have no voice at the United Nations needs to change.

The United Nations, and particularly the role of the Secretary General, can play a crucial role in the promotion of the principles and practices of peace by advocating for, and exercising the full extent of its authority, the implementation of new structures at the UN which will give a voice to the nations of the world – the respective civil societies of the United Nations. Representation – having a voice at the UN, however, is not enough. These voices must be educated in the principles and practices of peace. The United Nations can expand its role as an educational vehicle to inform nations of what I will characterize, for the sake of brevity, as a brutal history necessitating the formulation of what is, essentially, international law. Additionally, the principles and practices of conflict transformation which transcend the traditional role to the United Nations as peace keeper and peace maker can be incorporated into the practices of UN and be disseminated through an expanded UN education system.

The creation of representation for true nations, “member nations” at the United Nations, along with the respective expanded role of education in Peace Studies is one of the many steps that can be taken to further promote international peace and support the main goal of the United Nations to uphold what, essentially, so many states have agreed upon but themselves do not adhere to: war as a means to settle international disputes is illegal. The United Nations is the entity which should create this body so that it stands on an equal footing with the member states and, therefore, has its legitimacy as a true representation of the will of the nations of Earth.

You, Mr. Secretary General, hold the highest political office representing the international collective of human life on Earth and have the power and authority to promote and support the implementation of these additions which will have a profound effect on transforming the increasing level of violence throughout the world into something moving the geopolitical landscape towards a more just and equitable enforcement of the principles of peace based on the illegality of war.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing your reflections and interest in such a reformation.

 

In Solidarity,

 

United Nations General Assembly Declares Decade of Reconciliation

Posted on 16th February 2015 in Peace, Self Determination
by h. Gibrain

Under the directorate of the United Nations Secretary General, the UN’s General Assembly has been instructed to exercise its full legal authority under international law by instituting a number of programs and reforms to the structural organization and function of the UN – as a whole and for each of its specific organs.

 

This action, according to a spokesperson for the office of the Secretary General, has largely come in response to a symbolic lawsuit presented to the International Criminal Court suing the General Assembly, the International Court of Justice and the Security Council on the basis that, though it is commonly perceived that those organs have no legal authority and are, essentially, a whole lesser than the sum of its parts in that the member states are responsible for the net result of the respective UN organ, the UN Charter does, in fact, grant legal authority tantamount to statehood to each of these organs and therefore those UN bodies can be tried under international law as states for failing to carry out there respective mandates.

 

Accordingly, while it is argued that, for example, the Security Council is only as effective as the veto of its member states and, historically, this veto has been used by the permanent members to block any initiative, legal action, or principle on the grounds that it doesn’t fit in with the narrative of their hegemonic future, it is the absolute responsibility of both the Secretary General and the General Assembly to take actions to hold the member states accountable that fail to live up the their legal obligations.

 

To counter a potential “legal” battle between the ICC and the ICJ the UNGA has begun to take steps to exercise the full might of its authority. However, they have expressed the intention to cast a positive light on these initiatives; rather than take legal action against states, they are taken proactive steps to support relations among states and between states and their respective civil societies. The biggest initiative release to the public thus far is the United Nations Decade of Global Reconciliation. “Well, let’s face it, the globe is a wreck and the only thing that is going to change it is a long process of global reconciliation,” states C. James Ernstrum, a spokesperson for the office of the General Assembly.

 

The main idea between the UNDOGR comes from the acknowledgment that the UN, itself, and international law is largely formulated by the victors of war – empires. This structure and formulation entirely leaves out indigenous perspectives. IN recognition of the fact that the western model has proven to be both destructive and increasingly violent, the UNDOGR is attempting to incorporate the reconciliation and mediation processes of indigenous cultures who survived and thrived for thousands of years in relative peace without all of the incredibly powerful destructive forces preeminent in the last century and a half.

 

“The indigenous peoples relationship is to the land and the narrative is one of survival as a part of the infinite web of life. The western mentality is based on possession and domination which, as we are all witnessing, has incredibly destructive power and natural processes can’t compensate for this without the help of human beings repairing the damage they’ve done to the environment – to the extinction of species, to the natural patterns in the weather cycles and perhaps most importantly, to the realization that we are in fact all tied together through water, blood and the great spirit that keeps our hearts beating as one,” spiritual leader of the Wasichu Thunder Clan notes in the UNDOGR’s publication soon to be released to the public and the member states of the UN. He continues, ““This is to be a global effort incorporating member states, civil societies and indigenous cultures and, the indigenous peoples of this planet will have the role similar to the UNGA for this initiative – not the member states, who have proven that they do not represent the will of the people nor can they unite on any particular initiatives for the benefit of the global civil society that stand counter to their respective hegemonic goals.”

 

“The first actions should be a symbolic giving back of stolen lands to the indigenous people,” said former UN Undersecretary General Robert Mueller. Obama would have to symbolically return the lands of the US to the indigenous – with the understanding, of course, that the Native Americans would let the descendents of immigrants and colonialists to remain since they are now, too, indigenous to this land. Netanyahu, or his successor, will give the land back to the Palestinians. Australia would give the Island Continent back to the Aborigines, and so one. The process, you can imagine, would continue until all stolen lands were given back to their original owners and, the underlying mission and intention, is to highlight the fact that we are one species living on one planet and we will, necessarily for our survival, need to live beyond the nation state: trans-nationally; acting with the intention to promote our own welfare in that our welfare is directly related to the welfare of all species and the organic systems upon which they rely and we must work to protect the children of all species.

 

“Beyond that there will need to be fortuitous gestures of reparations to the enslaved, dispossessed and murdered victims of empires and colonialism. This would entail reparations to the ancestors of slaves in the US and all around the world. Compensation to victims of war, refugees and internally displaced persons and so on,” adds Mueller. Again, the underlying intention is to illustrate that the “initial insult” can be traced back to some point in our common history through this series of reparations since each group will likely at some point in their history committed some injustice against another.

 

When we’re all done acknowledging the injustices we’ve perpetrated, apologizing, paying each other back and reconciling our pasts we will achieve a state of equality necessary for us to move towards our common destiny in cooperation and not in competition through the injustices perpetrated by states against nature and civil societies for profit and domination. Somewhere in our common history our narratives became dominated by a proclivity towards an unjust hierarchical system yet we have now reached a time where civil societies have become organized to counter the injustices of their respective states. We’re taking it to the next level through this initiative to weave together a global civil society who all share the same aspirations for peace, equality and a unity based on our common humanity and destiny.” Mueller concludes.

The United Nations: We won’t be fooled again!

Posted on 3rd January 2015 in Peace, Peace Pedagogy, Practice, Reflections, Self Determination

Perhaps the first seminal work on large scale brainwashing of a peoples was “A Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” by Paolo Freire: an essay published in or around 1970 in which he articulates the notion that when the language of a peoples, of a nation, is the language of the oppressor, the peoples themselves are sort of caught in an intractable relationship between oppressor and oppressed until they come to realize that their language is a sort of prison guard to their perpetual slavery and if they can change the way they speak, they can change the way they think and can therefor change the way the act and, ultimately change the nature of their circumstance: their oppression.

 

A recent example of this, it has been argued, is the Occupy Wall Street movement – which, for its potentially dubious origins, lack of organization and overall ineffectiveness did exemplify the potential power of a semi-organic movement coalescing, organizing and beginning to define itself. It was, in a sense, a parthenogenic disturbance: an unfertilized embryo destined to spontaneously abort with no potential of becoming viable. In any case, perhaps a better and more appropriate terminology to express the intent and sentiment of the occupiers would have been to call the movement “inhabit wall street” or “cohabitate wall street” indicating something more in line with what was being sought – equality and justice. This one word switcheroo is a total game changer and has profound implications, speaking volumes to the very fundaments and intentions of the collective and definitely redirecting the strategy. It includes all stakeholders as having a valid claim in a shared space and demands dialog, listening and, as Freire called it, a dialogical conscientiazation. It is, in essence, the knowledge that is gained and shared through learning about others’ capacities and interpretations of reality; it is learning empathy.

 

Similarly, the entire world has been duped into accepting the United Nations as a collective of states organized to contract and execute international norms regarding war and peace: international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law and others. That in and of itself is a seemingly noble cause save the fact that the United Nations is a collection of states and nations are collections of peoples of a common culture: an ethnic community (with a slightly political bent – a meaning the term has evolved to include). States haven’t been around that long historically. Before that it was empires, dynasties, monarchies and the like: colonialists at heart and in practice. The idea that states should represent the will, desire, expectation and needs of a nation is also a noble prospect yet, historically, this is not the case. To expect a United Nations of united states to carry out the will of a united nations of peoples is seemingly absurd. Perhaps this is why the United Nations is fundamentally dysfunctional. The representatives at the UN are not necessarily representing the will of the nations of peoples whom their respective governments send to deliver the message of the nation; that is, the message of the nation at the United Nations is the message of the state and even in the glorious western democracies the likelihood the will of the nation and the will of the state coincide is slim.

 

Let’s call it what it is or, better yet, create what it should be. A true United Nations of united nations of peoples coming together and doing what the states are unable or unwilling to do because they are inept or have dubious intentions. Those among us who have traveled to other lands and met other peoples – physically or astrally – understand that the common ground for our humanity is vast yet the establishment of the foundations for equality and peace are outside of the purview of many of the member states of the United Nations and, as a functional organism, the United Nations is incapable of carrying out its mandate because it is structurally compromised – as its name indicates.