English: Posthumous official presidential portrait of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, painted by Aaron Shikler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Good evening – or good morning – wherever you are at this hour.
Wherever you might be in your life, or wherever you will be in the future, – the future being the most important thing for all of us. The future we all cherish, – if we still have dreams or things to do.
The future which lives in us, – and we live in this future. A future still in which we are able to live our dreams and desires for a better world.
The future is important for us because in the future lies our growth.
The growth which we all cherish for ourselves and for our children.
A future which will be the result of the decisions we make, either as persons, or as a people, – as citizens of the world.
What sort of future do we seek and what sort of world do we have?
Is what we see a world only of conflicting national interests and international fear, on a planet which bears the burden of increasing environmental degradation, – increasing disasters of nature and the risk of war?
Is what we see only perhaps ourselves, trying to keep up with day-to-day life, finding a job , keeping a job and push as hard as possible to live the life we want to live for ourselves and our family?
A world of hope perhaps, – despite the enormity of sorrow? A world with a future, despite agonising questions about both the past and the present? – –
Whatever the way we live and in whatever circumstances we are, there is still a world with opportunities, if we are able to decide to live up to that future and face the questions as they are, – find the answers and actions which we need. The questions, answers and actions of our time, – as one global community.
A future in which we hope to survive the challenges which we face today, in our time, and for all times. Not only for this generation, but for all generations. For our children and their children. Long after we have gone ourselves.
In our days as a human race, we need to be remembered not for the victory of wars, but for the victory of the human spirit, which dictates us to show our common humanity at all corners of the world.
Is this our quest for peace?
It is my wish to discuss some of the major challenges of our time, – the potential events we face as a people on this planet. A pathway perhaps to take the torch forward to a new birth of freedom, – for all those people who seek this freedom and this peace, – unwilling as well to sacrifice the future of this world on the altar of increasing nuclear threat or war. War either by miscalculation or misinterpretation the nature of people, or disaster by underestimating the force of nature itself.
Let everybody know that in the long history of the world, we are still embattled in the search for this new birth of freedom, based on the perils of liberty and a free choice. Based as well on the examples of people who lived before us. Based on the aftermath of many wars, and captured in the spirit of hope to live up to the standards and obligations of this freedom. Freedom which looks to the future with responsibility, based on conscious, – but knowing that human nature is neither perfect, nor will it ever be.
Many pointless wars have been endured and will again happen all over the world. Many families and soldiers still traumatized as a result of often ill selected battle fields, wherever they took place, wherever they may take place. Many people having to face death going to war, and if they survive – having to face what died in their heart and their personal lives, as the human spirit does neither cope with e.g. the past killing fields in Vietnam & Cambodia,- neither will it cope with the potential of mass destruction in the Middle East or anywhere else on this world.
This will be our fate and that of our children, if the means by which we are able to fight wars are not extinguished from earth, or from our decisions to fight those wars. Too many countries with irrational leaders have potential access to nuclear energy, and may opt to set fire to this world.
War itself in some occasions might a necessary evil where the liberties of the free world are at stake, as happened e.g. in the 2nd World War. However, more and more is required to secure all efforts to reverse at an early stage the processes leading up to war, – as war with the long-lasting destruction ability as we have now – neither predictable nor controllable when it starts – is no longer a rational alternative, – as President John F Kennedy once said.
It is for us the living, dedicated to the unfinished task of others and dedicated to the outstanding task still remaining, to make our time a better time and to make our world a better place. To make our world a better and safer place to live, as there are conditions and circumstances on this planet of far more importance than the strict national interests as defined within the perceptions of existing nations. We need to shift the perceptions on the world as it developed in the last decades, to one of harmonising our global interest with our national interest, and educate the leaders of UN member states – mixed as the interests are – to do the same. To shift towards a global awareness on what is really important to survive together as a global community, interdependent as we are.
At the end of the day we are not only a world of Christians, Muslims or Jews. We are not a world of blacks and whites, but we are a world of people with similar needs, occupying the same planet, having the same right on some space to live, the same right on food and water. We are all breathing the same air, and we all mortal and fragile in our basic humanity.
All of us – at some stage – will be struggling with disease, – physical and mental decline, – and many of us will be affected by the increasing agony of our environmental degradation, including the disasters of nature, – of any kind.
There is too much to say and far more to add.
But blessed are those people who are the peace keepers in this world, – those politicians as well, who affirm to peace and shy away from military confrontation, but stick however to the principles of finding solutions for both national and international problems.
Those principles do not only include solutions for both the roots of hatred and violence on this globe, but help to erode the barriers from past generations, and give new directions for different ways – and old perceptions to change. Those principles include the use in this generation of different and new requirements, adapted to the needs of tomorrow. The last not only as part of our national interest, but foremost as part of our global interest. Not only as part of the interest of our own environment, but as part of the interest of our global environment, which does not allow anymore to cut corners for the benefit of those who suffer the least.
We have to carry forward the torch of the legacy of some forebears, who stood for the same principles, who stood their ground – with this hope – and with this spirit – and we have to renew this spirit in our time and for all times, within the endeavours for this generation and all generations. The torch of protecting humanity at all corners of the earth.
Tyranny, poverty, disease and the prospect of war itself are the great challenges of our time. Where civilization does not succeed in the battle with those challenges, those challenges will succeed the battle to end the prospect of life on earth. As free people we end up with the last choice. As free people we may decide and if we do not decide properly, our learning –together with our freedom will be in vain.
In too many cities and countries around the world, peace is not secure, because the obligations of freedom and a free choice are not fulfilled.
It is fair to say that in the world of today, still at least half of its population lives amidst the chains of poverty and disease, and many are the slaves of some of the so-called modern dictators – those who violate their conscious and their Creator – , those who are the champions of oppression, the jailers of freedom and the enemies of the free spirit of man. They include those people who make human rights abuses their business, the business of human trafficking included.
Divided we often are, united we can be– united in our efforts to ease the burdens of those who are born in the millions of families without the prospect of living in peace and proper education. Those families all over the world, often in conditions of war , and many of those people now the new generation of refugees, always on the move from one place to the other. Homeless, in either their own or different countries. Not only as a result of war yesterday but as a result of climate change and other things “tomorrow”, – increasing sea levels and other disasters of nature.
I think we should not simply add a new chapter to the misery of mankind, but write a new story on the prospect of different frontiers in the history of humanity. And write this story in the hearts and the minds of people all over the world. A frontier which proclaims to protect life on earth and dictates wisdom in the use of our energies. A frontier which may reach all corners of this planet, if we decide to commit and not to compromise, – compromised as we often are..
Let it be said that when we have the means to reach the moon, and save no cost to get this right, – or save no cost to fight the wars we should not fight, – we could change history by spending most of the required resources in building factories of hope for those who deserve it most. Not only in the countries of the rich, but together as well in the countries of the poor.
I think as free citizens of this world, we need increasingly ask what to do about our global interest, because with the historic endeavours we face to overcome the obstacles which will challenge our life in the next 20 years – united only our planet will survive with us – and we shall survive with our planet.
I think that on the mountains of civilization, we must put an end to the valleys of war and terror, before war and terror may end the high ground of civilization. If we don’t learn the lessons from history of too many wars and its potential destruction in the world of today, by not changing our thoughts on our culture, on real progress to make, – the history book of our culture and all cultures is closing in to an end.
However, rather than the terror of tyranny being allowed infiltrating the liberties of free man, let free man all together restrict the limitations of the tyranny from terror, wherever on this planet, whenever it strikes again!
Where nations fail to act on the misery created or provoked in neighbouring countries, either by war or by the forces of nature, – they are collective responsible for the suffering of human beings.
Young citizens of this world without hope or education easily follow the recruitment steps of terrorists, with hatred among the domain of the living, and either violence or death within the targets of their armed domains. We know what they can do, – we don’t know what they may do.
Still too many people enjoy the comfort of ill-founded opinions and not the discomfort of their inner thoughts which could be the motor of change, and part of our education needs to provoke our real thoughts about the future of our world, and the contributions we are able to make as simple human beings.
All people on this planet have the right to live within liberty and dignity for each other. We can’t turn back from this pledge at this stage for the world, without compromising the spirit of humanity, wherever country we may live.
We can’t turn away with so so many children to educate, so many families and jobs to protect, so many dispossessed people to care for, and so many economic and environmental problems to solve. So much to deal with as well in terms of urban and rural poverty, and so many reconstruction to prepare for.
Both the material and immaterial costs of war and preparing for it will create and contribute to increasing problems of instability, the misery of refugees, lasting terror, ethnic conflicts, increasing global financial crisis, – whilst there need to be still the resources for justified wars like the war against all this kind of poverty, the war against disease and the war against the disasters of nature and terror.
Let it be said that if we don’t put an end to the roots of terror and it’s ghetto’s, the ghetto’s of terror will worsen the risk of conflict at international level, – with potentially more people to be killed and incinerated in the fires of a nuclear encounter than at any time in the history of humankind.
I think where poverty more often creates the prospect of terror, we need to defeat the prospect of the worst poverty, as this is neither the domain of our humanity, nor the domain of real freedom and responsibility.
Where international misunderstanding and misalignment may put an end to mankind let it be proclaimed that humanity first and forever must put an end to international misunderstanding and misalignment, by principle centred leadership. The last which needs to be encouraged all over the world.
We faced many changes in history.
Production and industry changed and evolved. It shifted to highly qualified manufacturing and advanced service industries. We left the Industrial Age behind, but still follow the perceptions of the Industrial Age model in too many business entities, where people are “a cost” , and not an asset in an age of knowledge workers.
There is and has been an oversupply of workers at the lower end of the economy. Quite a number of those people ended in cheap labour at the bottom end of the income scale, not only in Europe or the US, but in other countries as well, where companies with their production lines and policies, shifted their lines of production to those areas overseas where the cheapest labour was possible.
I think we need to get a practical and principle centred approach where no one injustice, however grave, is above all others, and this approach needs to start in all communities where people prefer justice rather than injustice, where people prefer real communities rather than ghetto’s, whether they are the ghetto’s of the rich or the ghetto’s of the poor, as many ghetto’s there are..
We live in a world where power decides outcomes and our approach needs to be practical based, on the moral realities and possibilities of our position to move things in the right direction. If we decide our direction with wisdom and restraint for the benefit of humanity, we may change the many imperfections from yesterday for at least some improvements tomorrow.
We know that the ark of Noah was not built on its own. Neither any major accomplishment was the work of one person. In the world of today we are more dependent on each other than ever before.
We know as well that there are countries where people have no moral principles anymore. Principles to lift the darkness of their own conscious and attitudes. More often those people have seen too much violence, too much hatred, too much corruption and the worst examples of human living. This only contributes to the imperfection of human nature and is not allowed to get into the mainstream of civilisation, as such cancer could destroy civilisation.
We are all mortal and have no permanent ownership on anything of this earth. However if one country denies an other country to exist and aims to prepare arms to destroy the other, the international community needs to cage this poison, before its venom may poison the region into the bitterness of death, – and the age into nuclear destruction.
And so, fellow citizens all over the world – our international obligation is not an obligation to bear nuclear arms, though arms we need, not an obligation to battle, though history faced us with battle, – but an obligation to struggle the battle of humanity for a better world, – to struggle and overcome the spirit of darkness in our time, which includes poverty, tyranny, disease, widespread global crime and corruption, the risk of self-inflicted ecological disaster, increasing disasters of nature, hyper consumption, – and finally war itself.
We face global warming and our long-term sustainability is limited. We need to find new solutions for world water resources and end international water disputes, – we need to share our resources of knowledge and keep together the Oceans clean.
We need to make united efforts to protect habitats in danger, as on the long run increasing habitats in danger may endanger humans as well.
We tend to use unsustainable natural resources and with the growing global population we may have run out by 2075. The choice to go nuclear in our energy supply by the so-called modern nuclear plants may evolve on a more global base, with ramifications often poorly understood at present.
Where the spirit of human kind is not ready yet for an enduring international peace, there is little room to increase the dimensions of nuclear energy. What is for peaceful use today, can be used for nuclear warheads tomorrow. Besides this the risk of radiation in even the best equipped powerplants are subject to failure if the unexpected strikes, either by nature war or terror.
Some would say , and with justification, that our market forces operated across the global economy are potential most volatile and often irrational, – with strong fluctuating oil prices. Energy security is a matter of ongoing concern. Countries depending on eg gas from Russia and the Ukraine, as due to changing prices, may feel inclined to use eventually increasing nuclear power, – which will be subject to widespread suspicion as due to the potential on less peaceful use.
Under the “Kyoto Agreement “all EU countries are supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but with the lack of renewable energy sources more countries will use the new generation of Nuclear Power Stations, not only in Eastern Europe, but across the Middle East as well. Hence the united efforts to make the world a safe environment, and cut the potential of this power being used for destructive forces of any kind. Even conventional wars in countries possessing nuclear power plants, where such power plants are either damaged or destroyed, may give radiation ramifications far worse than the Chernobyl disaster where those nuclear power plants become a target.
Going increasing nuclear in our energy supply will give the wrong message and is in a way cutting corners in terms of safety of our environment, at a significant cost of the next generations.
We face an increasing hungry planet with worldwide between 800 and 850 million people suffering from hunger, and widespread malnutrition in Asia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Tajikistan and North Korea, – some countries with a long history of civil conflict.
It is well-known that the problems of Africa have enormous proportions, where most problems are rather political than environmental. Global rates of malnutrition are overwhelming. Somalia almost ceased to exist as due to hunger, nearly similar with Nigeria – the last by some considered as being the most corrupt country of the world. Of the world’s 50 poorest countries, 34 are in Africa, all of them with high HIV rates.
This is grossly our world in a nutshell – and there is far more than this.
Where East and West do meet in conscious and with purpose, with the required discipline passion and vision, there will be ultimately peace and shared resources of wisdom to solve the problems of this earth.
There where East and West meet at evil’s end, – there will be war and destruction, without the required resources to repair at any stage the global problems we may face in the aftermath.
Where the Assembly of the United Nations often appears not being effective enough in finding a common approach for resolving both the problems of the tyranny of poverty and the poverty of tyranny, this is mainly due to insufficient moral leadership of some of the membership countries.
Our global interests requires vigorously enforced non nuclear proliferation , supported by all nations on the earth. And those countries behaving outside such treaty, losing their credibility and provoking a nuclear or biochemical threat to others, – ultimately need to be caged with force if so required. The attitudes from yesterday are not the ethics for tomorrow, in which we face the world today.
Our highest achievement is the preservation and cultivation of life, where this appears possible. If moral leadership is the core of our aspirations, responsibility at a global perspective will lift the world and will ease the burden of our planet, but not without national and international law enforcement.
Let everybody know that if we don’t erode old barriers, old barriers will erode us.
Let us not allow that any person or country destroys the idea of a new and better world, neither by violence nor war. Neither by living nor death. Neither by the mountains of our obstacles nor by the valleys of our despair, when we face what we have to face – to make responsible freedom come true..
And so we have no choice than to carry forward this torch. To carry forward and set ourselves free from the slavery of the past, whether it is the slavery of the dictator or the slavery of our own thoughts, the slavery to either inflated perceptions or poverty at heart.
And so we may ask every day for the best possible perceptions. The best possible perceptions at any time we face, for both the better and the worse. For both the world in us and the world around us.
And then we may say: we are free, – free at last!!
Paul Alexander Wolf