Peace Movements’ Common Vision: The Abolition of Militarism

NOBEL LAUREATES, 9 June 2014

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate – TRANSCEND Media Service

Keynote address at Sarajevo Peace Event – 6 June, 2014

Mairead Maguire

Mairead Maguire

Dear friends,

We are all aware that this is the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo which led to the start of the First World War in l9l4.

What started here in Sarajevo was a century of two global wars, a Cold War, a century of immense, rapid explosion of death and destruction technology, all extremely costly, and extremely risky.

A huge step in the history of war, but also a decisive turning point in the history of peace. The peace movement has never been as strong politically as in the last three decades before the break-out of WWl. It was a factor in political life, literature, organization, and planning, the Hague Peace Conferences, the Hague Peace Palace and the International Court of Arbitration, the bestseller of Bertha von Suttner, ‘Lay Down your Arms’. The optimism was high as to what this ‘new science’ of peace could mean to humankind. Parliaments, Kings, and Emperors, great cultural and business personalities involved themselves. The great strength of the Movement was that it did not limit itself to civilizing and slowing down militarism, it demanded its total abolition.

People were presented with an alternative, and they saw common interest in this alternative road forward for humankind.   What happened in Sarajevo a hundred years ago was a devastating blow to these ideas, and we never really recovered.   Now, 100 years later, must be the time for a thorough reappraisal of what we had with this vision of disarmament, and what we have done without it, and the need for a recommitment, and a new ambitious start offering new hope to a humanity suffering under the scourge of militarism and wars.

People are tired of armaments and war. They have seen that they release uncontrollable forces of tribalism and nationalism. These are dangerous and murderous forms of identity and above which we need to take steps to transcend, lest we unleash further dreadful violence upon the world.   To do this, we need to acknowledge that our common humanity and human dignity is more important than our different traditions. We need to recognize our life and the lives of others are sacred and we can solve our problems without killing each other.   We need to accept and celebrate diversity and otherness. We need to work to heal the ‘old’ divisions and misunderstandings, give and accept forgiveness, and choose nonkilling and nonviolence as ways to solve our problems. So too as we disarm our hearts and minds, we can also disarm our countries and our world.

We are also challenged to build structures through which we can co-operate and which reflect our interconnected and interdependent relationships. The vision of the European Union founders to link countries together, economically in order to lessen the likelihood of war amongst the nations, is a worthy endeavour. Unfortunately instead of putting more energy into providing help for EU citizens, we are witnessing the growing Militarization of Europe, its role as a driving force for armaments, and its dangerous path, under the leadership of the USA/NATO, towards a new ‘cold’ war and military aggression. The European Union and many of its countries, who used to take initiatives in the UN for peaceful settlements of conflicts, particularly allegedly peaceful countries, like Norway and Sweden, are now one of the US/NATO most important war assets. The EU is a threat to the survival of neutrality. Many nations have been drawn into being complicit in breaking international law through US/UK/NATO wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc., I believe NATO should be abolished. The United Nations should be reformed and strengthened and we should get rid of the veto in the Security Council so that it is a fair vote and we don’t have one power ruling over us. The UN should actively take up its mandate to save the world from the scourge of war.

But there is hope. People are mobilizing and resisting non-violently. They are saying no to militarism and war and insisting on disarmament. Those of us in the Peace Movement can take inspiration from many who have gone before and worked to prevent war insisting on disarmament and peace. Such a person was Bertha Von Suttner, who was the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in l905, for her activism in the Women’s rights and peace movement. She died in June, l9l4, 100 years ago, just before WWl started.   It was Bertha Von Suttner who moved Alfred Nobel to set up the Nobel Peace Prize Award and it was the ideas of the peace movement of the period that Alfred Nobel decided to support in his testament for the Champions of Peace, those who struggled for disarmament and replacing power with law and International relations. That this was the purpose is clearly confirmed by three expressions in the will, creating the fraternity of nations, work for abolition of armies, holding Peace Congresses. It is important the Nobel Committee be faithful to his wishes and that prizes go to the true Champions of Peace that Nobel had in mind.

This 100 year old Programme for Disarmament challenges those of us in the Peace Movement to confront militarism in a fundamental way. We must not be satisfied with improvements and reforms, but rather offer an alternative to militarism, which is an aberration and a system of dysfunction, going completely against the true spirit of men and women, which is to love and be loved and solve our problems through co-operation, dialogue, nonviolence, and conflict resolution.

Thanks to the organizers for bringing us together.   In the coming days we shall feel the warmth and strength of being among thousands of friends and enriched by the variety of peace people, and ideas. We shall be inspired and energized to pursue our different projects, be it arms trade, nuclear, nonviolence, culture of peace, drone warfare, etc., Together we can lift the world!   But soon we shall be back home, on our own, and we know all too well how we all too often are being met with either indifference or a remote stare.   Our problem is not that people do not like what we say, what they understand correctly is that they believe little can be done, as the world is so highly militarized. There is an answer to this problem,- we want a different world and people to believe that peace and disarmament is possible. Can we agree, that diverse as our work is, a common vision of a world without arms, militarism and war, is indispensable for success. Does not our experience confirm that we will never achieve real change if we do not confront and reject militarism entirely, as the aberration/dysfunction it is in human history? Can we agree to work that all countries come together in an Agreement to abolish all weapons and war and to commit to always sort out our differences through International Law and Institutions?

We cannot here in Sarajevo make a common peace program, but we can commit to a common goal. If our common dream is a world without weapons and militarism, why don’t we say so? Why be silent about it?   It would make a world of difference if we refused to be ambivalent about the violence of militarism. We should no longer be scattered attempts to modify the military, each one of us would do our thing as part of a global effort. Across all divisions of national borders, religions, races. We must be an alternative, insisting on an end to militarism and violence. This would give us an entirely different chance to be listened to and taken seriously. We must be an alternative insisting on an end to militarism and violence.

Let the Sarajevo where peace ended, be the starting point for the bold beginning of a universal call for peace through the wholesale abolition of militarism.mairead_maguire

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Mairead Corrigan Maguire is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment. She won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work for peace in Northern Ireland. Her book The Vision of Peace (edited by John Dear, with a foreword by Desmond Tutu and a preface by the Dalai Lama) is available from www.wipfandstock.com. She lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. See: www.peacepeople.com.

 

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 9 June 2014.

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14 Responses to “Peace Movements’ Common Vision: The Abolition of Militarism”

  1. satoshi says:

    Sarajevo was the symbolic city for the coexistence and mutual understanding of different cultures and religions in the Balkans. Even though WWI was triggered by a Serbian man in Sarajevo, this city had remained as the symbol of the coexistence and mutual understanding as such until the spring of 1992.

    Today, unfortunately, Sarajevo is different. The three former main warring parties (i.e. Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats) hate each other. This is especially obvious in the relation between Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Serbs.

    The major part of Sarajevo is the so-called Bosnian Muslim controlled area, while some areas of the outskirts of this city are the so-called Bosnian Serb controlled area, including Palé, the location of the former HQ of the Bosnian Serb authorities during the War in the 1990s. Newly built or beautifully renovated mosques here and there in and around Sarajevo make the impression of the political victory of Bosnian Muslims in Sarajevo. Meanwhile, Bosnian Croats in Sarajevo, keeping the low profile, visit the cathedrals, including the Sacred Heart, and the St. Francis, for instance.

    Ask any Sarajevans (mostly Bosnian Muslims as mentioned above) downtown in the city, for instance, nine out of ten or ten out of ten they will tell you that how much they hate Serbs. Their hatred is extraordinarily strong. Was Ms. Maguire aware of that when she delivered her speech in Sarajevo? Needless to say, almost all Sarajevans aspire for peace; almost none of them want war again. At the same time, however, their hatred against Serbs has remained to this day even 19 years after the end of the War in Bosnia.

    What does “the abolition of militarism” really mean? What did Ms. Maguire mean by that phrase in the context of her speech if she was aware of the local Sarajevans’ horrifying hatred against Serbs? The so-called military weapons are not only the weapons. As far as such hatred remains, anything or any materials could be used as weapons. One can use daily commodities to make weapons. Weapons are the symbol of one’s hatred to kill other people. Where does the symbol come from? The answer: It comes from one’s hatred. Before appealing for the abolition of “military” weapons, Ms. Maguire should have appealed the dissolution of the hatred by creating the culture (or the social atmosphere) of forgiveness and reconciliation, which is a herculean task, an almost impossible task (even if it is not impossible).

    Note, however, never make or maintain the picture, brought mostly by the Western mass media during the War, which Bosnian Muslims were victims and Bosnian Serbs were offenders. The War in Bosnia during the 1990s cannot be understood as a war of the good vs. the evil. Probably most of wars in the past were not a question of black and white. The War in Bosnia was no exception. The real War situation was too complicated, far beyond one’s imagination.

    Anyhow, start making a true permanent peace by tackling the above mentioned overwhelmingly strong hatred in transforming it into forgiveness and reconciliation. It might take centuries, not just decades. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible or unrealistic to expect that all, one or two of the main warring parties, Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Serbs and/or Bosnian Croats, to take the initiatives to perform that task. Ms. Maguire’s speech as above in Sarajevo was beautiful. But if she really meant it, would she seriously think of taking the initiative by herself in tackling this task of centuries? If not now, or if not this year, when? (Note that Sarajevo has reopened, in May this year, its National Library 22 years after the city landmark was destroyed during the Bosnian war along with almost two million books. City authorities plan to have the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra perform inside the building on June 28, which marks 100 years since Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand was shot dead outside the building, sparking the First World War.) If not Ms. Maguire appealing for peace to peoples in Bosnia, who?

  2. Alberto Portugheis says:

    Satoshi, you say the assassination of Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand sparked the First World War.” It sounds as, if there had been no such assassination, there would have been no World War I. By the same token, we could say, if Hitler had not attacked Poland, we would have never had World War II. Don’t forget the Military do NOT improvise. Wars are prepared for long periods of time and happen when all warrying sides are ready for the Game.

    Eight years before World War I, Leo Tolstoy warned “with this senseless arms race, making and selling so many weapons, bombs, air-fighters, etc, etc, in a few years time we will have such accumulated mass of military ware that the ONLY possible alternative will be a big, international armed conflict”.

    To trigger a game of football, someone must ALSO “trigger” it, that is, someone must do the first kick. If that designated “trigger person” falls ill, a replacement trigger will be found. Someone must “start”.

    However,without a football, you can have 100 people willing to trigger the game, all in vain. Without football, there is NO possibility of a game of football.

    Similarly with weapons. Whilst the world accepts the making and trading of weapons and all fighting paraphernalia, (guns, rifles, grenades, mortars, bombs, torture and spying instruments, drones, Apaches, warships, etc, etc.) there can be no hope of Peace.

    You speak of the “Sarajevans’ horrifying hatred against Serbs”, as if Sarajevans were born, came out of their mother’s womb, hating Serbs. Same when you speak of all the other hatreds. But it is not just hatred. It is the easiness with which people are brainwashed and trained to obey. Most wars happen without any hatred or emotion on any side. Soldiers obey orders. If there were no weapons, the few people killing others by hand or using a domestic appliance, would be murderers and sent to prison.

    As long as you were a military uniform and kill in the name of your Authority, all killing is not only perfectly legal, but the more you kill, the better chances of being promoted and if, after promotion, you order and succeed in killing many more, you’re in for a successful political career, even aspire to be known one day as a hero.

    • satoshi says:

      Dear Alberto,

      Thank you for your comment, Alberto.

      Let me respond to your views one by one.

      First:
      You say that I say, “the assassination of Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand sparked the First World War.” It sounds as, if there had been no such assassination, there would have been no World War I. By the same token, we could say, if Hitler had not attacked Poland, we would have never had World War II. Don’t forget the Military do NOT improvise. Wars are prepared for long periods of time and happen when all warrying sides are ready for the Game.”

      It is a historical fact that WWI began by a Serb’s assassination of Ferdinand whether relevant parties prepared the war in advance. In the case of WWI, the political situations were fragile then so that it could turn to become war at any time then. Nonetheless, the fragile situation continued until the Serb’s assignation of Ferdinand. Upon this assignation, the war (WWI) began. In other words, this incident triggered WWI. Perhaps, other incident, if any, could trigger WWI. But, in the case of WWI, the Serb’s assassination triggered the war. In my comment above, let me clarify this: I am referring to a historical fact, not the possibility of any other incident (that could trigger the war) as you argue about.

      Second:
      You say, “You speak of the ‘Sarajevans’ horrifying hatred against Serbs’, as if Sarajevans were born, came out of their mother’s womb, hating Serbs. Same when you speak of all the other hatreds. But it is not just hatred. It is the easiness with which people are brainwashed and trained to obey. Most wars happen without any hatred or emotion on any side. Soldiers obey orders. If there were no weapons, the few people killing others by hand or using a domestic appliance, would be murderers and sent to prison.”

      The War in Bosnia began almost without hatred. In that sense you are right. But, after the War until this day, the hatred has continued. I did not say that the hatred among Bosnian peoples began the War. You are arguing that what I did not say, Alberto. Reread what I wrote in my comment. In which part did I write that the hatred among the peoples in Bosnia had led the War in Bosnia? Let me clarify this: in my comment above, I am pointing the fact of the contemporary situation of peoples in Bosnia. The contemporary situation of Bosnian peoples, at least, one of the essential aspects, is that they hate each other strongly.

      Third:
      How many peoples – Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats, Romas, and other ethnic minorities and more – in Bosnia have you ever actually talked during and after the War in Bosnia, Alberto? Your argument in your comment is nothing wrong in the general sense, referring to war. (Me? Although I did not count the exact number, it is sure that I have talked with approximately 30,000 – 50,000 of those peoples from many parts of BH to this date.) Academicians/researchers and those who acquire such knowledge and information by reading books, magazines, accessing to relevant mass media, attending diplomatic or any other meetings and conferences tend to formulate the argument that you mentioned in your comment above.

      But what you have missed in your understanding about the War in Bosnia, for instance, is that you seem not to understand what and how ordinary peoples in Bosnia think about the War today. Before the War, most of them had overall friendly relations among them. As mentioned above, the War in Bosnia began almost without hatred. During the War, many people lost their loved ones and their property. Today, they hate other ethnic group(s) in Bosnia. It is because their loved ones were killed and/or their property was destroyed by other ethnic people’s military forces during the War. This is another fact that you cannot deny. If you doubt, visit Sarajevo and talk with the people, Alberto. I mean it. To acquire relevant indirect knowledge and information is one thing; to visit the peoples and to see the real situation down there are another. For instance, even if you have read one hundred books on Japanese food and even if you have attended the Japanese food seminars more than one hundred times, but if you have never eaten Japanese food, what kind of understanding do you have about Japanese food?

      Visit Sarajevo, Alberto. Walk downtown in Sarajevo for instance, and talk to the local people along the way. Shall I wait for you at the café of Hotel Europe (that locates in the center of downtown), Alberto? I will, then, take you to Baščaršija. (If you do not know about Baščaršija, do not talk about Sarajevo.) And while eating čebap at Hožić 2, one of the most famous čevap restaurants around there, and we can talk while eating. In addition, you can also talk with any people around you both inside and outside of the restaurant, Alberto. If that is not enough for you, I will take you to any other areas and/regions in Bosnia-Hercegovnia as far as my time permits. Well, it might be a nice summer plan for you this year, Alberto?

  3. Alberto Portugheis says:

    Dear Satoshi,

    Thank you for the invitation/proposal. I’ll come if I can, only for the pleasure of meeting you personally and continue our conversation. However, dear friend, believe me, please BELIEVE ME, I don’t need to meet any members of the public to know what’s going on. Not only I have friends in Europe, most of them refugees, from Serbia, Croatia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Herzegovina, etc, but I have been many times to Serbia, Croatia and Macedonia. Plus I know people who’ve written big books on Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    You are fascinated by what people think, the ordinary man and woman in the streets because, I’m sorry to say, you have swallowed the pill. You believe in Democracy, whereby I have NEVER in my life experienced Democracy, particularly since the days I lived in Switzerland, a country I came to describe as “the best disguised Dictatorship in the world”.

    You say “….after the War until this day, the hatred has continued.”. Well, Satoshi, the same in England, Germabny, Russia, Japan, China, etc. Hatred continued for many years. Of course, after decades, it faded away. This is why all Governments are so keen on promoting War films. In England they show films to resuscitate the British hatred of the Germans and viceversa.

    So much Western influence became predominant in Russia, that Putin made Patriotism a compulsory study in schools. Everything possible is done everywhere to keep nations “apart” and, as much as possible, antagonistic.

    You read the Press, but I read the journalist’s mind. I don’t believe what he/she writes and my first question always is: “why did he/she write this?” I often ask the question to the journalist, who’s inevitably embarrassed.

    As John Swinton (former Editor-in-Chief of the New York Times) said: “we journalists, are intellectual prostitutes”.

    Satoshi, forgive me for occasionally writing in a way that it reads as if I put words into your mouth. I’ve very little time, write in a great hurry and was really referring to what you wrote in connection with Mairead Maguire speech, which I frankly found extremely political and diplomatic, without perhaps her own awareness of this. I hope I find a moment to comment on the speech.

  4. satoshi says:

    Dear Alberto,

    Thank you very much really for your second comment, Alberto.

    Let me correct your seemingly misunderstanding. It seems that you have the impression that I am indulged in the views and opinions of common people out there (in Bosnia, for instance). Over the years I have talked with various kinds of people, from very high-ranking officials to street people and beggars, from the very powerful to the very weak. I am not taking into consideration only of the views of common people out there even though their views can never be overlooked.

    As I read your second comment, I do not see very fundamental differences in the views between yours and mine. Even if your view is completely different from mine, I still respect yours, of course, as far as your view is expressed in the peaceful and legitimate manner (and I believe that you have been expressing it so).

    Once again, thank you very much indeed for sharing your view with me (and with the readers of the TMS), Alberto.

    If not this summer, we will see some day. Till then, please take care of yourself, Alberto.

    With peace, appreciation, gratitude, respect and best regards,

    Satoshi

  5. Alberto Portugheis says:

    Dear Satoshi,

    I’m delighted to read you talk to all sorts of people, “from very high-ranking officials to street people and beggars.” What is important though, is to be aware of the difference between speaking with high ranking doctors, lawyers, architects, educators, scientists, artists, sportsmen, etc, and with high ranking politicians and diplomats, who lie with the same easiness as they breathe. In fact, it is because these high ranking politicians and diplomats find it so easy to pretend they’re speaking the truth, (and people believe them) that we have so many wars around the world. (at any given time well over two hundred armed conflicts. All they speak about all the time is how they are working for Peace, for an end to violence, for the establishment of Democracy everywhere, etc, all whilst promoting weapon research, manufacturing and trade, encouraging young people to join the Armed Forces, having first “educated” (brain-washed) them through games, videos, etc, into the love of violence.

    We adults are also kept brain-washed by Government’s insistence on not to allow the citizens of a country to reconcile with the citizens of other countries. In France and the UK, for example, we are constantly reminded of German attacks, with precise details of number of victims. Germany does the same, with depictions of what the brutal British or Russians did to them.

    Finally, we should not forget the criminal religious corporations, from whom politicians learnt how to lie but convince the audience they are saying the truth.

    In my first book, I had a whole chapter dedicated to the Vatican and war. My new book, about to be published, “$$$$$$s in their Hearts”, with a foreword by our Transcend colleague Bishnu Pathak, has an entire chapter dedicated to the Church of England and the Arms Trade.

    Of course, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim religious corporations are also much involved in Militarism.

    Much work still to be done.

    Best wishes, Alberto

  6. Sabina says:

    Its increible to read how you foreigner write here about Sarajevo,who hates whom,so much untrue.

  7. Alberto Portugheis says:

    Dear Sabina, you are dead right !!!! and I have never spoken of such hatred. It the warmongers who have no alternative than to “inject” prejudice in people’s mind, making all Churches extremely happy. Wars need a pretext, in order to happen. Best wishes, Alberto
    PS I have in fact many friends in “mixed” marriages.

  8. Sabina says:

    Dear Alberto,this up is not just for you.My message was more for Satoshi.
    Best wishes for both

  9. Alberto Portugheis says:

    Dear Sabina, You wrote “…incredible to read how you foreigner write”, right after my message, hence the confusion. All clear now. Warmest good wishes, Alberto

  10. satoshi says:

    Dear Sabina,

    Thank you for your comment, Sabina.

    I was very busy all day yesterday so that I did not have time even to access to the Internet so that I did not respond to you. I have just found your comment right now.

    It is undeniably true that those people whose loved ones were killed and whose property was destroyed tend to hate those who did it. The tragic scars of victims (survivors) stay in their hearts for a long time, almost permanently. Hatred and anger sink deep in their hearts. It is not only about people in Sarajevo. Tragedies happened in many parts of Bosnia-Hercegovina (BH).

    It seems that you, Sabina, rather belong to the young generation who were born after the War or who were very young when the War was going on. You heard about the tragic stories about your parents, relatives, neighbors and/or someone else. But what tragedies actually happened to “you” (not to your parents, not to your relatives, not to your friends but to you, Sabina) during the War, Sabina?

    I am writing this comment at a café. A middle-aged waitress brings coffee to my table. She is from Derventa, one of the most seriously destroyed towns in BH during the War. (When I visited Derventa during the War, I was literally appalled by seeing the complete destruction of the town. I was silent for the first few minutes.) Have you ever visited Dervanta? Can you imagine how this waitress and her daughter managed to fled from the tragically and almost completely destroyed town? (And nowadays the substantial number of the local residents of Derventa is suffering from the aftermath of the floods a few weeks ago.)

    Have you visited the northern part of Western Slavonia in Croatia, for instance, in which people from Prijedor are living? Have you ever talked with them, Sabina? They tell you what and how happened to them and their loved ones during the War. Then, you will understand their emotions as well.

    Have you ever talked with the residents of Ilidža, for instance? Most of them were from many part of BH, came to Ilidža after the War to settle down there. They will tell you what and how happened to them during the War. Then, you will undersand their emotions as well.

    Have you ever visited the so-called Serbian residential areas outskirts of Sarajevo? Have you ever talked with those of them who experienced the War, Sabina? They will tell you what and how happened to them during the War. Then, you will understand their emotions as well.

    Have you ever visited Banja Luka, Bosanki Petrovac, Bosanka Gradiška, and any other northern part of Bosnia? Have you ever talked with those people are now living there, Sabina? The substantial number of them is not long term residents; they were transported from other parts of Bosnia. They will tell you what and how happened to them during the War. Then, you will understand their emotions as well.

    Have you ever visited Potočani, in which the so-called Srebrenica genocide occurred in 1995? Have you ever attended the annual Ceremony for the Gonocide Victims there, held every July? Have you ever talked with those attendants whose loved ones were killed there? Then, you will understand their emotions as well, Sabina.

    Have you ever participated in “the so-called March”, in which the participants walk all the way through the camp-site outside of Tuzla to Potočani? This program is annually held, prior to the above mentioned Ceremony. If you will participate in this program, you will have lots of opportunities to talk with the participants who are survivors/victims or their relatives.

    Those above examples are only a very few cases, among many others, from which you can learn about the tragedies of the War and the deep emotions of the survivors of the War. Then, you will understand their emotions as well, Sabina.

    Having said that, however, I never say that it is all right to keep hatred and anger in their hearts permanently. I say, rather, that their tragic and negative emotions must be solved even though it is extremely difficult. That is why the international community, through international organizations and NGOs both international and local alike, has been working on various reconciliation programs, psychology consultation programs or the like for people(s) in BH. It is literally a herculean task. As I said, it takes decades or far more, but it is an essential task for building a permanent peace in BH. I emphasize the imperativeness of this task. If you belong to the young generation people who did not actually or directly experience the tragedies of the War, it might be less difficult for to participate in this type of work, Sabina. But you understand that, for those who actually or directly experienced the tragedies, the scars in their hearts are still deep.

    You say, “you foreigner write here about Sarajevo….”. That is a phrase, sometimes uttered in BH. However, I tell you clearly this, Sabina: “There is no difference between foreigners and local residents in understanding tragedy and other negative things (and happiness and other positive things as well). We are all humans.” Some people tend to believe that “the so-called foreigners” do not understand you and/or your people. Never believe in this assumption that there are two kinds of peoples in the world; “your people(s)” and “the so-called foreigners”.

    Now, think the other way around, Sabina. Can you not understand the tragedies that happened to Korean comfort women during WWII/Pacific War and their emotions, especially when you talk with them? Can you not understand the tragedies that happened to the local residents of Nanjing in China during the WWII/Pacific War and their emotions, especially when you talk with their survivors? Can you not understand the tragedies that happened to the local residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki near the end of WWII/Pacific War and their emotions, especially when you talk with the survivors? Can you not understand what happened to the people in the tragedies of the Rwandan genocide and their emotions, especially when you talk with the survivors? Can you not understand what happened to the local residents in the area of Fukushima Nuclear Reactors and their emotions, especially when you talk with them? It seems that your unwritten assumption is that foreigners do not understand what happened to your people(s) and your peoples’ emotions? In the examples in this paragraph, you are “the foreigner” (according to your division of peoples). Can you not understand what happened to them and their emotions even when you directly talk with them and if you have opportunities to visit the relevant sites of their tragedies? Remember here in this context that you are “the foreigner”. So, “the foreigner” (in this context, you, Sabina) does not understand these tragedies and the emotions of the relevant people even when you meet and talk with those experienced the tragedies? Ask yourself, Sabina. Your heart knows the answer.

    During the War, I was in the middle of it. I saw, in front of my eyes, countless numbers of tragedies of your local residents in many parts of Bosnia. How is it possible for me not to understand their tragedies and emotions? So, Sabina, you still say that foreigners do not or cannot understand them? If you saw the tragedies of the Rwandan genocide in front of your eyes, can you not understand their tragedies and their emotions, for instance because you are a “foreigner”? If you saw the tragedies of people in Somalia during the 1990s for instance, can you not understand their tragedies and their emotions because you are a “foreigner”? If you actually saw the tragedies of people in the tsunami for instance, can you not understand their tragedies and their emotions because you are a “foreigner”? Ask yourself again. Ask your heart again, Sabina.

    Article 1 of UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) stipulates, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” One of the most important principles, among others, of human rights is stated in the first article of UDHR. Although politics divides people into some categories, people are essentially one. Unfortunately, once you are put into such categories, you tend to believe that those who are in the same category are your people and those who are in other categories are “the so-called foreigners”. Why do you stick to those categories that politicians created for their convenience in order to divide the oneness of us, human beings on this planet, Sabina? Would you like to think and act in accordance with their categories? If so, you might become, either in the long run or in the short run, one of the causes in creating suspicions against other people(s) whom you may call “foreigners”, and creating distrust against other people(s) whom you may call “foreigners”.

    Suspicions and therefore, distrust other people(s) are some of the main seeds that could lead people to war eventually. When you said, “foreigner…” in your comment, your words already implies that there is, in your mind and in your way of thinking, a certain degree of suspicion against those people, whom you call “foreigners”; “foreigners do not understand us. How it is possible for foreigners understand us?”

    While I was writing as above, time has come. I have to go now, Sabina. Please excuse me. I will not have time to respond to you for, at least, next several days or more.

    Perhaps, if there will be an opportunity sometime in the future, we will meet somewhere in Sarajevo (or in any other part of BH) and talk. Please take care of yourself till then, Sabina.

    Please give my best regards to those who experienced the untold tragedies during the War and to those who are working for reconciliation and mutual cooperation of people(s) in BH.

    All the best, Sabina.

    With peace, appreciation, respect and mutual understanding,

    Satoshi.

  11. Sabina says:

    Guys,thanks for taken time to write all this.I will say just that I spend all war time in SARAJEVO,remember all, and I know all suffer of BiH,have relatives all around county.I wont discuss this issues anymore.Its traumatizing.I belong to people who belives in better tomorrow without hate.With peace and respect Sabina

  12. Alberto Portugheis says:

    Dear Satoshi,

    You make it plain clear that hatred is NOT addressed towards any particular group, but to those who cause damage and unhappiness. If YOU destroyed my house, I would not hate all Japanese; my hatred will be directed at you. If a compatriot of mine destroyed my home, I’d hate him not all Argentinians. Similarly in countries of former Yugoslavia. I speak with lots of people and can tell you that Sabina is 100% right.

    That warmongering authorities wish to renew the troubles, because they benefit financially (look at what’s happening right now in Iraq)is one thing. The PEOPLE is another.

  13. […] Ref. — Peace Movements’ Common Vision: The Abolition of Militarism, by Nobel Peace Laureate … […]