TALKING ABOUT PEACE IN A WORLD OF INEQUALITY

Is it still possible to talk about peace?  Is it still possible in a world where inequality is spiraling out of control and wars, conflicts and violence seem never-ending? Here, at Sedarvp-Ghana, we shall never lose hope.

Economy

Oxfam’s latest report about the state of our world is very clear.

Hundreds of millions of people are living in extreme poverty while huge rewards go to those at the very top. There are more billionaires than ever before, and their fortunes have grown to record levels. Meanwhile, the worlds poorest are becoming even poorer. Many governments are fueling this inequality crisis massively under-taxing corporations and wealthy individuals while underfunding vital public services like health care and education. These policies hit the poor hardest. The human costs are devastating, with women and girls suffering the most. Despite their huge contribution to our societies through unpaid care work, they are among those who benefit the least from today’s economic system.

This has to change – and change is possible.

The hard facts: the world’s richest 1% possess more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people. Almost half of humanity is living on less than $5.50 a day. Only 4 cents of every dollar of tax revenue comes from taxes on wealth. The super-rich avoid as much as 30 percent of their tax liability. Today 258 million children – 1 out of every 5 – will not be allowed to go to school. For every 100 boys of primary school age who are out of school, 121 girls are denied the right to education. Every day 10,000 people die because they lack access to affordable health care. Each year, 100 million people are forced into extreme poverty due to health care costs. Men own 50% more of the world’s wealth than women, and the 22 richest men have more wealth than all the women in Africa combined. The unpaid care work performed by women is estimated at $10.8 trillion a year – three times the size of the tech industry.

Is there an ongoing war being waged against the poor? It looks like it.

Wars

Simon Tisdall writes in The Guardian (Sun 31 May 2020): “Today’s wars are mostly undeclared, undefined and inglorious affairs typically involving multiple parties, foreign governments, proxy forces, covert methods and novel weapons. They are conducted without regard for civilian lives, the Geneva conventions regulating armed conflict, or the interests of host populations in whose name they are fought. Great moral crusades, famous causes and genuine ideological struggles are few and far between. Modern wars are mostly about power and treasure. And they go on, and on, and on”.

An extensive data collection by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) (https://acleddata.com/dashboard/#/dashboard) shows a large portion of the globe is engulfed in some form of conflict. This infographic shows countries in which there have been reports of armed clashes involving state forces and/or rebel groups in 2020. Even using this simplified definition, the presence of war across the world is extensive.

Total global military expenditure rose to $1917 billion in 2019, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The total for 2019 represents an increase of 3.6 percent from 2018 and the largest annual growth in spending since 2010. The five largest spenders in 2019, which accounted for 62 percent of expenditure, were the United States, China, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. This marks the first time that two Asian states have featured among the top three military spenders. The comprehensive annual update of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database is accessible at www.sipri.org.

Everyone has the duty to take responsibility for our planet and for the people who live in it.

Sedarvp-Ghana and The International Day of Peace

Established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly, The International Day of Peace is a day set aside by the United Nations inviting all nations and peoples to honour a cessation of hostilities, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

“Shaping Peace Together”, the event held in September in Ghana to celebrate the International Day of Peace, was a special occasion for the Sedarvp-Ghana Community. Several members of the non-profit organization embarked on a media tour in the northern region to commemorate the Day of Peace.

Abukari Shaibu Niendow, Executive Director of Sedarvp Ghana urged the community about the need, as responsible citizens, to always cherish and celebrate peace. The Executive Secretary of Sedarvp Ghana, Mr. Abdul –Muumin Sualihu’s took the floor and later, Ms. Zakiya Ziblila Kwesijan, presented the Ghana youth Guide. The Sedarvp-Ghana team, collectively called on sensible people to prevail in the event of any misunderstanding. Mr. Niendow stressed that peace was a fundamental condition for development.  Common knowledge has it that without peace, farming, which is the main economic activity for the people of Gbalahi cannot take place. Sedarvp Ghana Public relations officer Ms. Abubakari M. Belawu and Sedarvp Executive Secretary Mr. Abdul-Muumin Sualihu called for the entire community to continue to celebrate Peace. Some attendees shared their individual messages of peace, generally encouraging the youth to be circumspect of politicians in the run-up to December 2020 elections in Ghana. The program climaxed with the sharing of ideas on peace especially on matters related to election violence.

The program was attended by community leaders, the Assembly member for the area, Hon. Seidu , women’s groups and many others and was hosted by several local radio stations such as  Diamond FM, Zaa Radio and Neesim Fm. During the celebrations, Sedarvp-Ghana organized a durba (a formal meeting of the Chief and elders, together with the entire community) at Gbalahi, a village near Tamale townships. Once again, the participants were made aware of the urgent need for peace. As stated by the UN resolution, peace education is the process of acquiring appropriate values and the knowledge, while developing the attitudes, skills and behaviors to live in harmony with oneself, with others and with the natural environment. Public Relations Officer, Ms. Abubakari M. Belawu, expressed the importance of peace among people, especially since there is an election going on in Ghana, making it clear that Sedarvp-Ghana has plans to introduce several  projects focused on the development of the community into several areas of the country .

Sedarvp-Ghana is closely linked to the people and their communities. It has committed to its role for many years now, working for a better and more peaceful world and struggling to reduce inequality. One of its most important goals is that to developing a peaceful and harmonious environment in which people -especially women, who play such a fundamental role for the future of the nation, will be empowered to as great a degree as possible.

Moreover, it must be stressed that the Covid 19 pandemic is “spreading human suffering, destabilizing the global economy and upending the lives of billions of people around the globe. Vulnerable populations in countries with weaker health systems, facing existing humanitarian crises are at great risk”.

From the official website of the UN “International Day of Peace” we can read that “As we struggle to defeat COVID-19, your voice is more important than ever. In these difficult times of physical distancing, this International Day of Peace will be dedicated to fostering dialogue and collecting ideas. The world will be invited to unite and share thoughts on how to weather this storm, heal our planet and change it for the better. Even though we may not be able to stand next to each other, we can still dream together”.

We should note that physical distancing, unfortunately, is practically impossible in overcrowded poorer areas.

In any case, the Day of Peace was a very important initiative to share thoughts and ideas and we would like to suggest a World Peace Day in every Country of the World – every day, all year round!.

Let us strive for a dream, let us strive to fight inequality and violence, let us strive to give voice to the voiceless, let’s strive to spread compassion, kindness and hope.

Giovanni Tovt.

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