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April 29, 2020

The dream of a global ceasefire

Opinion

April 29, 2020

The writer is a freelance journalist.

The horrors of wars and conflicts continue to haunt millions of people across the world amidst the ravages of a pandemic that has inflicted heavy losses on humankind. More than 200,000 people have perished in the outbreak that does not seem to be abating despite the hectic efforts of governments across the globe. The spread of virus has affected more than three million people besides causing heavy losses to the global economy, from which it may take years to fully recover.

But even the destruction waged by this pandemic could not convince the war-mongers sitting in the power corridors of the US and Russia to make efforts for a ceasefire in the various conflict zones that have been creating hardships for millions of women, children and the elderly. Recently the two cold-war foes and rivals of the current anarchic world appeared unanimous in opposing a UN-led peace plan aimed at seeking a global ceasefire so that states could focus on fighting the pandemic that is ravaging through countries across the world. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had made a passionate appeal more than a month ago, urging the belligerent states and groups to halt all type of fighting. He wisely commented, “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.”

But it seems that the arrogant global powers do not want to put an end to this theater of death and destruction. For the sake of their petty interests, they are turning a blind eye to the plight of the Yemeni children who are starving to death, the hapless Afghan people that are facing bombing and maiming on daily basis and the millions of unfortunate souls in several parts of the globe that have been forced to live under the bloody zones of Libya, warring areas of Syria and conflict ridden regions in Columbia and elsewhere.

It is disheartening to see rising tensions along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan, ruthless attacks by Taliban militants and Isis extremists in Afghanistan which trigger indiscriminate responses from Afghan government and its Western allies.

Despite the fact that the UN plan is being backed by close allies of the US, including the UK, France and Germany, Washington has proved that in matters of belligerence, it is closer to its rivals than its allies. The fact that the move is being backed by several prominent non-government organizations and rights bodies could not impress Moscow too which is seeking to serve its petty interests in war zones. The US fears that an all-encompassing measure could hinder its ability to target terrorist groups like Isis in Iraq and other targets that are deemed hostile to the sole superpower.

President Putin believes it could affect Russian military operations in Syria, besides creating problems for its unacknowledged support to proxy groups and non-state militias in countries like Libya. According to one report of the US Foreign Policy website, Washington and Moscow fear that a universal ceasefire could potentially constrain their own efforts to mount what they consider legitimate counterterrorism operations overseas.

The pro-Israel Trump administration also wants to appease his tedious acolytes by protecting his Zionists buddies sitting in the power corridors of Tel Aviv, unleashing a reign of terror against innocent Palestinians who have been condemned to live in abject poverty in the largest prison on the planet. The government of the erratic incumbent of the Oval Office believes that a blanket ceasefire could inhibit Israel’s ability to engage in military operations throughout the Middle East. Flouting all international norms and global laws regarding the sovereignty of states, the Zionist state has carried out military strikes on targets in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon in recent months. A UN resolution with the backing of the Security Council could prevent the Zionist state from committing such flagrant violations of international laws.

But what global leaders need to think that such ceasefire could also prevent Taliban and Isis militants from spilling the blood of innocent people in war-torn Afghanistan that has already seen more than one million corpses since 1979 besides witnessing unimaginable destruction. Any move to seek peace would rid the Yemeni children of brutal starvation that has been haunting them for years. Such a move would ensure peace in Colombia and parts of the Philippine that have been hit by endless insurgencies. A global peace initiative could deter throat-cutting terrorists from terrorizing innocent souls in parts of Somalia, Kenya and other regions of Africa. It could persuade a hegemonic India to stop oppressing Kashmiris who have been denied their basic human rights for years.

One fails to understand why global leaders want to see this unfolding game of blood and corpses. Who can understand the horrors of wars better than the Russians who were attacked by France, Germany and allied powers in the past? The country lost more 27 million people during World War II. Millions perished during World War I and Napoleon’s invasion of the country in the 19th century as well. The famine and starvation triggered by wars and conflicts must be fresh in the memories of many Russians, including the maverick President Putin. Despite this all, his stance on this resolution of ceasefire flies in the face of his tall claims that Moscow wants to work for global peace.

It is time the US's allies stepped up efforts to secure UN approval for this resolution which is crucial in genuinely fighting the pandemic because peace could enable states and warring groups to battle the outbreak in a more efficient way. It could pave the way of rehabilitation of the faltering health systems in countries like Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan. This possible time of peace could make people realize the dividends of this precious gift, prompting them to pile pressure on their war-lords and states to seek permanent peace.

A vigorous movement should be launched by prominent personalities of the world to make this resolution a success. Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and former president Obama should spring into action throwing their support behind this UN-led move. Jeremy Corbyn and other radical leaders on the European continent should deter France and other states from making this resolution non-binding. Hollywood actors and actresses, who love to visit a war-ridden area and pose with hapless children, should ensure that such zones are not created any longer. They could prevent a major humanitarian catastrophe from unfolding in several conflict-ridden parts of the world by throwing their support behind this resolution. Nobel laureates, poets, authors, scientists, anti-war activists, academics, students and environmentalists should all join hands to seek a global ceasefire that has the potential of saving millions of life at a time when thousands are already perishing on a daily basis because of the cruel virus. They must pile pressure on states like Iran, Israel and the US from fueling further tensions in the Middle East.

Their inaction would pose a grave danger to not only Americans who badly need resources to fight the coronavirus but also people across the world whose states are launching military satellites and testing missiles in their names instead of stamping out the virus that has turned the lives of millions into a living hell. Only a united stance will deter our ruling elite from playing havoc with the lives of millions. And only a pacifist approach will help us rid the world of wars and conflicts that have claimed more than 80 million lives since World War I. The dream of peace in the valleys of Afghanistan, towns of Syria, cities of Libya and mountains of Yemen could be translated into a reality if the world is ready to act.

Email: [email protected]