A new age of peace

A new age of peace

An unsettling decade

I remember 10 years ago when everyone was hopeful that the start of a new century would bring with it new hope for a more peaceful world.

That sense of hope was shattered into a million pieces just a year later on Sept 11, 2001.

It set in motion a whole new world order that has been the underbelly of global tension for the last 9 years — a time that has been defined more by the act and rhetoric of war, than of peace.

Then in 2004, just after Christmas, our world was rocked again by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, triggered by the third largest earthquake and one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.

Some 3,000 from over 70 countries people died on Sept 11.

Over 230,000 people from 14 countries died in the Tsunami.

One was a man-made disaster spurred by hate.

The other a natural disaster — though the jury is still out on whether climate change played a part.

These events happened on opposite sides of the world — yet it hit our collective consciousness with such fury that left us devastated.

Both had their genesis in fury — simmering and boiling — until it erupted to wage untold horror and tragedy.

Fractured hope - and fractured nature — converged to reveal humanity’s Achilles heel. 

A new age of peace

For 10 years, we have been inundated with images and words about war.

The US coined the phrase ‘war on terror’ but one does not fight terror with war. That is the recipe for escalation, the evidence of which is all around us.

The face of terrorism may be masked gun-wielding men of vague Middle-East descent, which makes for sensational images and fascinating sound bites.

But the true story of terror is being written in the poorest, most conflict-ridden parts of the world every day.

More than 1.4 billion people live in poverty so extreme that they can barely survive, and around 25,000 people die from hunger each day — whilst a new billionaire is created every second day.

wikileak

How can we fight terror, when 75% of the wealth of the world is in the hands of 1% of the population of the world?

How can we fight terror, when the hunger is more widespread than ever in human history surpassing 1 billion people in 2009 — when record harvests of food have been reaped in recent years?

How can we fight terror, when a young man deals with the indignity of being imprisoned in his own homeland?

The USA, with a real-terms increase of $47 billion, accounted for 54% of the world increase in military expenditure in 2009.

In 2009, worldwide military expenditure totaled an estimated 1531 billion USD- a 5.9% increase compared to 2008 and an increase of 49% since 2000.

The estimated cost of compliance with all eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — eradicating hunger, universal primary education, child mortality reduction, disease prevention, environmental sustainability, and global development — are all eclipsed by yearly military spending figures.

Millennium

In fact, all eight MDGs combined cost less than a fifth of yearly military spending.

If just 1 or 2 % of this wealth of war spending was invested in health, shelter and education the payoffs would far outweigh any imagined outcome of war.

Investment in war is finite. Investment in peace is infinite.

The Power of Wiki leaks

wikileakIn the year 2000 Microsoft Founder Bill Gates wrote a paper in which he said the Internet would become one of the key cultural and economic forces of the early 21st century.

Gates said the Internet has made the world simpler.

The world we are living in today with its seamless integration of mobile technology for information and entertainment would have seemed space age to people who lived hundreds of years ago.

But the Internet’s dark side is also well documented — where no one is guaranteed privacy and where the seedier side of life thrives just as much as the good side.

And in the last few weeks, the rule of what is public and private has taken a dramatic turn in cyberspace.

For governments around the world, the revelations from Wiki leaks are fast becoming a nightmare no one saw coming.
 
On Nov 28, Wiki leaks began publishing 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables — said to be the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain.

The documents — unedited and uncensored — provide unprecedented insight into the US Government’s activities and actions.

And they have opened up a Pandora’s Box of secrets and skeletons.

These revelations are sending shudders through the diplomatic establishment — and no country is likely to be spared.
It is laying bare what countries really think about each other and their leaders — and that makes for tense relations.

The power of Wiki leaks is not that it tells us something we don’t already suspect, but that it backs it up with data.
What is clear is that the wars being fought around the world are orchestrated and manipulated to suit the powers that be for selfish reasons.

Millions are killed or die because of decisions made by a select few.

In this season of giving and sharing, it behooves us to remember that the age-old spiritual and humanitarian values that have largely shaped world civilizations are the wise route to peace.

The measure of peace is not the absence of war.

The measure of peace is that everyone has a fair chance to fulfill their potential.

History proves that a society where a big gap exists between the rich and the poor will not be peaceful or secure.

As we get ready to ring in 2011, my wish is that we start with ourselves.

Less hostility. More give and take.

More giving. More giving way.

Happy New Year.

Images courtesy from
http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2010/summary/inequality/
http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending#WorldMilitarySpending
http://demilitarize.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/mdg1.jpg
http://www.opednews.com/articles/Wikileaks-Its-Impact-On-W-by-Wayne-Madsen-101228-839.html
http://sathyasaibaba.wordpress.com/2008/09/08/samastha-lokah-sukhino-bhavanthu/

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About Tan Sri Lim


Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Paduka Dr Lim Kok Wing, the Founder and President of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, does not fit into any ordinary mould that would describe most entrepreneurs.

His journey has been closely linked with the economic and social development of Malaysia.

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Globally, 8.6 million people in the millionaires’ club owned wealth totaling US$32.8 trillion. More than half of them last year came from three countries — the United States, Japan and Germany.

World Wealth Report, 2009

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