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Robert Muller on Waging Peace

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Robert Muller on Waging Peace2003-03-14 23:59
picture by Flemming Funch

Jewel posts an article about a speech Robert Muller gave recently. Dr. Muller is the former assistant secretary general of the United Nations, now Chancellor emeritus of the University of Peace in Costa Rica. A splendid man I've enjoyed meeting and listening to in the past. He has been very instrumental over the years in many U.N. activities, such as the Conference on the Human Environment in 1972. He is basically the guy who for the first time thought of calling the environment "The Environment". There wasn't a term for it before. Anyway, Muller now has a surprising and delightful take on recent events.
"I'm so honoured to be here," he said. "I'm so honoured to be alive at such a miraculous time in history. I'm so moved by what's going on in our world today."

(I was shocked. I thought -- Where has he been? What has he been reading? Has he seen the newspapers? Is he senile? Has he lost it? What is he talking about?)

Dr. Muller proceeded to say, "Never before in the history of the world has there been a global, visible, public, viable, open dialogue and conversation about the very legitimacy of war."

The whole world is in now having this critical and historic dialogue--listening to all kinds of points of view and positions about going to war or not going to war. In a huge global public conversation the world is asking -- "Is war legitimate? Is it illegitimate? Is there enough evidence to warrant an attack? Is there not enough evidence to warrant an attack?

What will be the consequences? The costs? What will happen after a war? How will this set off other conflicts? What might be peaceful alternatives? What kind of negotiations are we not thinking of? What are the real intentions for declaring war?"

All of this, he noted, is taking place in the context of the United Nations Security Council, the body that was established in 1949 for exactly this purpose. He pointed out that it has taken us more than fifty years to realise that function, the real function of the U.N. And at this moment in history--the United Nations is at the centre of the stage. It is the place where these conversations are happening, and it has become in these last months and weeks, the most powerful governing body on earth, the most powerful container for the world's effort to wage peace rather than war.

Dr. Muller was almost in tears in recognition of the fulfilment of this dream.

"We are not at war," he kept saying. We, the world community, are WAGING peace. It is difficult, hard work. It is constant and we must not let up. It is working and it is an historic milestone of immense proportions. It has never happened before -- never in human history -- and it is happening now, every day, every hour, waging peace through a global conversation.
The article is a synopsis by Lynne Twist of what he said. The full transcripts should appear in a couple of weeks here.

Hm, he's right, really. However tense things have been recently, it has been the tenseness of discussion. With some luck we might look back at this time in the future as the time when everything changed, and it became impossible to start wars unilaterally.

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