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Threat of WarThe U.S. spends nearly $649 billion on military defense with the budget set to grow for the fifth consecutive year in 2020. Meanwhile, 98 countries have decreased military spending, something the Global Peace Index has called the largest improvement for peace. Although people perpetuate militarization and war as necessary tools for peace and security, as well as a means to reduce the future threat of war, such ideals are not true.

Dispelling War Myths

According to the 2006 National Intelligence Estimate, during the war on terror, terrorism actually increased and spread. Several U.S. military commanders have made statements against war, claiming that violence and particular war tactics are actually creating a greater threat, not suppressing it. The former head of the C.I.A. Counterterrorism Center, Robert Grenier, stated that counter-terrorism strategies can backfire by helping form enemy alliances and therefore a larger threat.

“[Al Qaeda] are not just focused on helping oppressed Muslims in Kashmir or trying to fight the NATO and the Americans in Afghanistan, they see themselves as part of a global struggle, and therefore are a much broader threat than they were previously. So in a sense, yes, we have helped to bring about the situation that we most fear,” Grenier told Frontline.

Reports of a modern arms race have circulated for the past two years. Senior U.N. security expert, Renta Dwan, said the risk of a nuclear war is at its highest since WWII. There are over 13 thousand nuclear weapons in nine countries. Ninety percent belongs to the U.S. and Russia, yet using less than half of India and Pakistan’s arsenal is enough to cause a worldwide nuclear winter. A peace treaty banning nuclear weapons has only 23 of the 50 ratifications it needs to come into effect but the United States, Russia and other nuclear powers strongly oppose it.

Even if a nuclear threat had a low annual risk – as some claim – a group of physicians published an article for the American Heart Association arguing that experts need to think of the threat in terms of humanity’s lifetime. This is parallel to how cardiologists think of the cumulative risk of heart disease over a lifespan, not just within a given year. This means a one percent annual risk of a nuclear war translates to a 50 percent risk over a 70-year period. They claim that just as preventing heart disease requires behavioral changes such as losing weight, preventing nuclear war also requires a change in high-risk behavior, such as threats, sanctions and false accusations.

Changing the threat of war isn’t as unrealistic as it sounds. The European Union has established social institutions to deal with conflict between member states, and there are many global networks and health professionals working to end war as an institution. The first time the idea of ending the threat of war nearly came to fruition was during the Cold War, with the historical and ambitious US-USSR agreement in 1961, or the McCloy-Zorin Accords.

A World Without War

The McCloy-Zorin Accords outlined a detailed plan for a general and complete disarmament. Many agree that disarmament, international law enforcement and investment are all necessary to end the threat of war. Partial or full disarmament is a must, including selling weapons to countries that do not manufacture them but needs to be under the supervision of an international organization to verify the disarmament.

The accords specified that people carry the disarmament out in stages and that an international disarmament organization verify each stage. The accord recognized non-nuclear armaments, establishments and facilities as necessary for maintaining internal order, but called for the abolishment of weapon stockpiles, national armed forces, military establishments and the discontinuance of military budgets.

The accord also required simultaneous efforts to strengthen peace and international arbitration institutions. U.N. conflict management already resolves many conflicts, but better resourcing could maximize its impact. The World Court also resolves many interstate conflicts but does not recognize war as a crime. The accords are a gilded example of how to end the threat of war and prove its attainability.

How Non-Violence Prevails

Non-violent and civil disobedience campaigns have proven to be more effective in resisting tyranny, resolving conflicts and achieving security than violence. From 1900 to 2006, non-violent campaigns were twice as likely to succeed as violent rebellions across the globe. Non-violent campaigns are also more likely to usher in democratic intuitions and are 15 percent less likely to result in a civil war.

Even when non-violent resistance meets with violence, non-violence still prevails two-to-one. A major benefit of non-violent campaigns is how they tend to draw in larger and more diverse groups of people, but many of these campaigns usually happen without any training or support. If people better resourced such efforts and trained civilians, these campaigns could be even more successful.

Large and well-coordinated campaigns are actually able to switch from concentrated methods, such as protests, to dispersed methods when met with violence. Dispersed methods include strikes, stay-at-home demonstrations, a coordinated shut-down of electricity and even banging pots and pans. Dispersed methods, said Professor Erica Chenoweth, are “very hard or at least very costly to suppress, while the movement stays just as disruptive.”Chenoweth, a professor in Human Rights and International Affairs, believes that if history courses shifted focus onto the decades of mass civil disobedience that came before the Declaration of Independence, or if Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King came first and not as an afterthought, then perhaps the “war culture” could change and end the threat of war.

The 2019 Global Peace Index reports that 104 countries recorded an increase in terrorism, while only 38 improved. Changing international policies and promoting civil disobedience instead of violence and war as a means for change does not only make movements of change more resilient but prevents terrorism and promotes stability.

– Emma Uk
Photo: Flickr

10 Interesting Facts About Mahatma Gandhi
Revered as a Mahatma, or “great soul,” by the poet Tagore, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an activist who changed India forever. Known for dressing in only a loincloth and a shawl, Gandhi became a leading figure in gaining India’s independence from Great Britain. Here are 10 interesting facts about Mahatma Gandhi.

10 Interesting Facts About Mahatma Gandhi

  1. Gandhi’s birthday, Oct. 2, is commemorated as the International Day of Non-Violence. Gandhi believed that the highest degree of consciousness was sacrifice. To purify, Gandhi would fast. Satyagraha, meaning “holding on to truth,” or the “truth force” was what Gandhi developed as a form of passive, civil resistance.
  2. Gandhi’s activism began in South Africa. In 1893, he was in Natal under a one-year contract, where he was subjected to racism by white South Africans. Gandhi specifically recounts being removed from a first-class railway compartment as his earliest experience in South Africa. Despite having a first-class ticket, he was thrown off a train. From that point onward, Gandhi decided to oppose the unjust treatment of Indians.
  3. Gandhi and Russian author, Leo Tolstoy, wrote letters to each other. The author and the activist both came from backgrounds leaning toward aristocracy and they both advocated for social equality. Gandhi’s first letter explained the religious duties and state laws experienced by Indians living in the South African province of Transvaal, and he asked Tolstoy to express his views on morality. Gandhi read Tolstoy’s works during his jail time in 1909. But he was most influenced by Tolstoy’s “The Kingdom of God is Within You,” which urged his search for religious truth in Hinduism. Afterward, Gandhi purchased a farm near Johannesburg and named it Tolstoy Farm. Bringing in about 80 residents, Gandhi experimented with a communal lifestyle he witnessed at a Trappist monastery.
  4. Gandhi was arrested more than once for opposing the mistreatment of Indian people. At 24, Gandhi started the Natal Indian Congress in order to fight discrimination against Indians in South Africa. In 1906, Gandhi and his followers protested the British policemen for profiling. He was jailed for seven years. Between 1921 and 1923, he was imprisoned for promoting civil rebellion. In 1930, he returned to jail in India for one year after illegally producing salt from saltwater and leading the Salt March, which he did to protest the government’s heavy tax on salt in India.
  5. When Gandhi returned to his birthplace in the Gujarat province, he worked against poverty by cleaning the area and building new schools and hospitals. During this time, he earned the nickname “Bapu,” meaning father. Gandhi advocated for better systems of education, and the offering of more consistent employment by the rich instead of small charities. Gandhi worked to feed millions of poor Indians, stating “You and I have no right to anything that we really have until these 3 million are clothed and fed better.”
  6. Gandhi’s method of charkha, or the spinning wheel, represented interdependence, self-sufficiency and a quiet revolution against British control of indigenous industries. Used to make textiles, the wheel is a staple of cotton growers and weavers. It gave employment to millions of Indians. It also makes up the “sun” in Gandhi’s Constructive Programme, a system for carrying out a struggle through community. Gandhi was a master of spinning himself. He encouraged his fellow Indians to make homespun cloth instead of purchasing overtaxed British goods.
  7. Gandhi demanded fair treatment for people in lower castes known as Dalits or the ‘untouchables,’ who he referred to as Harijans, or the children of God. Now, the term Harijan is considered offensive. Until the Indian Constitution of 1949, Dalits made up 15 to 20 percent of India’s population. Since then, many Dalits have gained political power, such as K.R. Narayanan who served as India’s president from 1997 to 2003. Dalits now make up 20 percent of Nepal’s population. Although caste discrimination is outlawed, they are still restricted from many public services. Gandhi tried to inform Indians about the evils of untouchability and the old caste system. Moreover, he conceptualized the ideas of cooperation and sharing between classes.
  8. Gandhi wrote two letters to Adolf Hitler, addressing him as “Dear Friend” and imploring him to stop the war. As tensions mounted in Europe after Germany occupied Czechoslovakia, Gandhi wrote a clear plea to Hitler. However, it never reached Hitler due to an intervention by the British government. One month after, Germany invaded Poland. Gandhi sent a second letter, explaining his own approach to British Imperialism. He asserted that Hitler and himself had both taken very different routes in protest—that of violence and nonviolence respectively.
  9. Gandhi believed in a unified India. In 1947, leaders chose to divide anyway, resulting in a Hindu India and a Muslim Pakistan. On Aug. 15, an outbreak of bloody violence erupted across the land, with many crossing the borders into India or Pakistan. Gandhi responded by fasting until all communities reunited. He became very sick during this time until Hindu and Muslim leaders came and pledged peace. Days later, Jan. 30, 1948, Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu extremist while on a vigil in New Delhi.
  10. Gandhi was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times but he never won. As one the strongest symbol of nonviolence in the 20th century, later members of the Nobel Committee publicly regretted this. He was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947, and a few days before his assassination in 1948. Up until 1960, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded almost exclusively to Europeans and Americans.

In 1948, a crowd of nearly 1 million people lined Gandhi’s funeral procession along the Yamuna River. These 10 interesting facts about Mahatma Gandhi show why he became the father of India. Although he never lived to see a united India, Gandhi’s teachings influenced the world with powers of nonviolence and love.

Isadora Savage
Photo: Google Images

humanitaria quotes
The following humanitarian quotes are from well-known humanitarians who shared their wisdom for helping others.

 

Humanitarian Quotes

 

1. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights activist and clergyman

 

2.  “If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed just one.”

– Mother Teresa,  founder of The Missionaries of Charity

 

3. “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

– Mahatma Gandhi, Indian nationalist and civil rights leader

 

4. “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

Nelson Mandela, anti-apartheid activist and former president of South Africa

 

5. “The destiny of world civilization depends upon providing a decent standard of living for all mankind.”

– Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution and credited with saving over one billion people from starvation

 

6. “The fact is that ours is the first generation that can look disease and extreme poverty in the eye, look across the ocean to Africa, and say this, and mean it. We do not have to stand for this. A whole continent written off – we do not have to stand for this.”

– Bono (Paul David Lewis), lead singer of U2 and international philanthropist

 

7. “Since the world has existed, there has been injustice. But it is one world, the more so as it becomes smaller, more accessible. There is just no question that there is more obligation that those who have should give to those who have nothing.”

– Audrey Hepburn, actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador

 

8.  “When we live in a world that is very unjust, you have to be a dissident.”

– Nawal El Saadawi, Egyptian feminist, writer, and psychiatrist

 

9. “To say that on a daily basis you can make a difference, well, you can. One act of kindness a day can do it.”

– Betty Williams, Irish activist and founder of the Irish peace movement, Community of Peace People

 

10. “The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet….Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s places….We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”

– J.K. Rowling, author, philanthropist, and founder of the children’s charity, Lumos

 

– Jordanna Packtor

Sources: Brainy Quote, All That is Interesting, MSN Glo J.K. Rowling, Harvard Gazette, Nobelprize.org
Photo: World Concern

 

Read global poverty quotes

 

 

Gandhi Utilized Advocacy
Martin Luther King Jr. once referred to Gandhi’s philosophy as “the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom.” Mahatma, or “Great Soul,” Gandhi was an advocate for human rights and is largely known for initiating the idea of nonviolent resistance.

Gandhi’s journey as an advocate began in South Africa. As a young legal adviser, he saw firsthand the damage caused by race-oriented laws and class-based oppression.

This is when Gandhi began to teach his philosophy of passive resistance. Gandhi’s organization of the Indian community in South Africa began widespread social change.

When Gandhi returned to India in 1915, he began working as an advocate for various local struggles concerning working conditions. Four years after his arrival home, British authorities passed the Rowlatt Acts, which allowed imprisonment without trial of any Indian accused of sedition.

Gandhi advocated through a national day of fasting and a refusal to work. He termed this as an act of Satyagraha, or love-force.

Gandhi eventually transformed the Indian National Congress into a large movement committed to nonviolent resistance in support of India’s independence, otherwise known as the non-cooperation movement.

As a consequence of his activism, he was arrested in March of 1922 and served two years for sedition.

Eight years later, in 1930, Gandhi organized 80 volunteers for a 200-mile march to the sea where the volunteers made salt out of seawater in protest of British Salt Laws. The movement eventually grew to 60,000 Indians who were all arrested and imprisoned for their defiance until Gandhi negotiated a truce with representative Lord Irwin.

After Irwin left office and his successor continued the oppressive measures taken against Indians, Gandhi began his movement once again and was immediately imprisoned. In prison, Gandhi began fasting in protest of a new Indian constitution, which was to include different representatives for the “untouchables” or members of India’s lowest level on the caste system.

His fasting gained international attention and was the precursor to the 1947 resolution, which made the discriminatory practice illegal. Britain left India that same year. Gandhi had won his country’s independence back, without the use of violence.

Gandhi’s approach to advocacy inspired many leaders, from Nelson Mandela to Martin Luther King Jr. The Dalai Lama, a follower of Gandhi, expressed, “As Mahatma Gandhi showed by his own example, nonviolence can be implemented not only in politics but also in day-to-day life. That was his great achievement. He showed that nonviolence should be active in helping others.”

– Christopher Kolezynski

Sources: Stanford University, New York Times, MSN News, The Borgen Project
Photo: Wikiphotos

Top Humanitarian Quotes
It’s important that we remember and memorialize the great humanitarians that have left their marks. Here are some great humanitarian quotes: 

  • “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity, it is an act of justice.” – Nelson Mandela
  • “Do your little bit of good where you are.  It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu
  • “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “I think we all want justice and equality, a chance for a life with meaning. All of us would like to believe that if we were in a bad situation, someone would help us.” – Angelina Jolie
  • “True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.  It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” – Arthur Ashe
  • “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” – Bill Gates
  • “Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back. – Princess Diana
  • Don’t look for big things, just do small things with great love….The smaller the thing, the greater must be our love.” – Mother Teresa
  • “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “Therefore I feel that the aforementioned guiding principle must be modified to read: If you desire peace, cultivate justice, but at the same time cultivate the fields to produce more bread; otherwise there will be no peace.” – Norman Borlaug

These humanitarian quotes will hopefully inspire you to become a more active member of society while always staying mindful of those less fortunate. If each of us plays our part, our journey toward harmonious peace will be accelerated.

– Sunny Bhatt

Sources: Brainy Quote, Brainy Quote The Givers
Photo: ZA News Network

Harriet_Tubman_influential_people_slavery
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

King is arguably one of America’s most influential civil rights activists of all times.  He was able to achieve significant political change through his non-violent protests and demonstrations, which advocated for equality between all races.  In 1964, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work towards social justice and he selflessly donated all of the prize money of $54,123 to the civil rights movement.  He is best known for his “I Have a Dream” speech, which has inspired humanitarians all over the world.

Harriet Tubman

Tubman was an African-American who overcame slavery just so that she could save others from the same fate.  Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland in 1822 and was often beaten by her master until she was able to escape to Philadelphia in 1849. Even after escaping such a difficult life, she risked it all to return to Maryland, as well as multiple other states, in order to rescue others.  Throughout her life, she led 13 different missions that rescued 70 slaves by using the Underground Railroad.  She also spied on the Confederacy during the Civil War for the Union.

Bill Gates

Gates, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, is one of the richest men in the world and virtually has been since 1995, but many people do not realize his immense wealth is nearly $80 billion. Exactly how much Gates has pledged is not known, but he has donated at least $29 billion of his fortune to charitable causes. He donates to multiple causes, but is very devoted to eradicating malaria and as part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; multiple awards have been presented to him because of his humanitarian efforts.

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa was a devout Catholic trained by the Sisters of Loreto who started her career of serving others by traveling to India.  There, she worked as a teacher, and having observed the extreme poverty existing in India, she started a new order called The Missionaries of Charity.  The main goal of this order was to look after the people that nobody else was looking after.  She spent 45 years of her life helping others and received the Nobel Peace Prize for actively helping the poor in every way possible.

Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi moved from India to England to study law after the death of his father in 1888.  There, he studied not only law, but also two religious texts: the Hindu Bhagavad Gita and the Bible.  He remained committed to both scriptures for the entirety of his life because the Bhagavad Gita awakened a sense of pride for India in him and the teachings of humility and forgiveness from the Bible inspired him to lead India to independence from Great Britain.

For 30 years he advocated for peaceful protests and demonstrations to lead the British to relinquish India from their hold.  He was also a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize owing to his efforts and philosophy that inspired movements for freedom and civil rights around the world.

Kenneth W. Kliesner

Sources: Biography Online, ATI, Biography Online, Better Get a Website, Biography Online
Photo: q99.info