© Noel Harrower 2018
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                                 A Challenge and an Opportunity The media is flooded with voices and images about the outbreak of World War 1. As we remember those who died, surely we must also remember the hopes those people had for a peaceful world. The phrase “Never again!” is often repeated. Have we learned anything at all? The news on our TV screens would suggest not. Iraq, Ghaza, Israel, West Bank-Palestine, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, North Korea, Ukraine - we could all go on adding to the list of tragic failures. Then there is climate change, which is hastened by human activity, and every war or air strike, whether it is intended to help save lives or merely destroy “the enemy”: it increases the peril to our environment. The world is in chaos and our political leaders must feel that they are in a state of overwhelm. At the end of World War 1, the victors created the League of Nations. At the end of World War 2, they created the United Nations “to save future generations from the scourge of war”. It is high time that we renewed the United Nations to make it fit for purpose. The model that was born in 1945 raised hopes that war could become a thing of the past. But the UN was created by politicians, and remains subject to the will of a few state leaders: this is one of the reasons why it is not working well. Politicians usually have a short term way of thinking. If the country is democratic, the vision tends to be local and restricted to around four years. “Will this or that be best for my country, my region, my political party now?” If the country is a dictatorship, the main concern is for the ruler and the state, unless the aspiration is to control whole continents or the whole world. Who then, can reform the UN? Surely it is not just up to politicians. It must be “We, the people of the United Nations”, as described in the Preamble to the UN Charter. How on earth can ordinary people do this? Through the pressure of public opinion. Politicians need the help of the electorate: people and politicians need to work together. Faith groups can play their part by working through the Interfaith movement. People of all ages, colours, creeds and cultures could make their voices heard. War is a monstrous evil, long out of date. It should be relegated to the past. How can this be done? Through international laws. How can international justice be maintained? Through a reformed United Nations, equipped with a standing Peace and Justice Corps, which has the authority to stop illegal wars, and the capacity to bring the guilty parties to the International Court of Justice. Another arm can be a Peace and Reconciliation Commission, such as the one that was brought into being in South Africa. The capacity to do all this exists, but not the political will. If you agree with the above, please add your name and the contact details you wish to share. Noel Harrower  Exmouth, Devon, UK.      n.harrower@btinternet.com     
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