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The World Social Forum and the Peace Agenda

quarta-feira 9 de março de 2022, por MEMO - Monitor do Oriente Médio, MEMO - Monitor do Oriente Médio MEMO - Monitor do Oriente Médio

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Starting with the unauthorised UN occupation of Palestine, the Israeli military killed 219 Palestinians, including 63 children in May 2021 alone.

The world is terrified to watch the war in Ukraine, which has global importance because it involves the second largest nuclear power. But the world did not go to war with Russian military operations. There are other wars going on, though not reported. Starting with the unauthorised UN occupation of Palestine, the Israeli military killed 219 Palestinians, including 63 children in May 2021 alone. There is also the war in Yemen that continues to claim lives every day and with more than 20 million people in need of humanitarian aid, without access to water or food; the war in Myanmar, where in a peaceful demonstration, in March 2021, more than 500 people were murdered by the military and it is a conflict that mobilises powerful economic interests, especially in the United Kingdom, a country of which Myanmar is a former colony; the war in Syria that has already left 500,000 people dead, half of them civilians and that the opposition to the government receives military support from the US and European countries.

In addition to these, there are numerous regional conflicts, almost all financed by the US war industry and countries like the United Kingdom and Israel. The reality is that the world has been in wars since the end of World War II. Lists circulating on social media show that, since then, only the US has declared war, sending weapons, armoured vehicles, helicopters, missiles and thousands of soldiers against more than 50 countries in all parts of the world.

The logic of war is morally based on the idea that it is lawful for human beings to murder other human beings to defend their own rights. Therefore, people, groups, collectives and countries arm themselves and the United Nations itself defends the principle of self-protection. This practice, however, creates a spiral of violence. If a country arms itself to "feel" safe, neighbouring countries will feel threatened and, necessarily, will arm themselves to protect their security. The practice of war, therefore, is nefarious and ineffective by its own logic. The more a country arms itself to defend itself, the more other countries will arm themselves and insecurity will increase, in an endless spiral.

Logic tells us the opposite way. The way out is disarmament. But for that, it is necessary to dismantle the war industry, the main economic "asset" of the US and Israel. In fact, wars have everything to do with capitalism. During World War II, the US remained "neutral", if it could, building a powerful war industry and military inputs to, so to speak, fuel the conflict. After 1945, this industry was strengthened with the cold war and with several wars supported by US governments, such as in Vietnam and Korea. Regrettably, common sense indicates that if the US were to declare war on Ukraine, there would be no surprises and the event would be within the normal range. After all, the US government, with the connivance of the UN, is treated as a global army, free to carry out atrocities without international reprisals.

On the other hand, despite being a nuclear power, Russia was not having the same behaviour. The very annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation took place, not on its own initiative, but because of the Ukrainian civil war after the 2014 coup. Hence, the surprise of most people with the Russian initiative towards Ukraine. However, in this case, Russia chose the wrong path, because the logic that fuels this conflict is the logic of war, where there is no right side. Russia, on the grounds of self-defence, wants to impose its protection rules on Ukraine. Ukraine, in logic of serving as an instrument of NATO and the USA, seeks to strengthen its military and political power, threatening Russia. More than that, in both countries, what fuels the conflict is an ultranationalist sentiment that has, as its moral basis, the denial of the other, a phenomenon that in Ukraine is amplified with Nazi-fascist elements.

What is certain is that the outcome of this crisis will not be promising for humanity. Even if the conflict ends in the next few days, the trend will be an increase in arms policy in all countries, as Germany has already decided by tripling its military budget. Everything indicates that other countries will follow the same path. In this moment of enormous challenges, the worst scenario is the increase in military tensions and the breakdown of global alliances for peace. The world should be mobilised to face the pandemic that costs thousands of lives daily, to combat global warming and its effects on the lives of people and the planet, to combat the inequalities that generate millions of deaths from hunger, lack of access to water, health, sanitation, housing, work and a basic income.

The World Social Forum has always been a privileged space for civil society, autonomously in relation to its governments and with a perspective of universal citizenship. It is up to the WSF to stand against all wars – against the wars in Ukraine, Yemen, Palestine, Syria and Myanmar. Promote a global internationalist movement in defence of peace and for a new world order. If global citizenship does not revolt against its rulers, escalating arms will dominate the agenda for decades to come, with unimaginable consequences. It is a very big challenge, for sure. But a necessity that imposes itself.

I repeat here what I already wrote in 2012, when the Free Palestine WSF took place in Porto Alegre: the WSF was born with a radically democratic path, where there are no institutional hierarchies that overlap the rights of people and universal citizenship. It was born with a methodology of dialogue and consensus, where the most diverse and different points of view are free to be presented, heard and criticised. It is not the place of single thought or absolute truths. In the WSF, many new struggles arose, many social subjects emerged from invisibility and the horizons of human and social rights were expanded.

It is this new political culture that can offer a democratic perspective and dialogue as a way of confronting conflicts. The WSF defends the right of peoples to self-determine, to build autonomous and democratic states and, in the same way, believes that it is possible to create a context of peaceful coexistence among all peoples. We place ourselves in the field of peace building. Global citizenship needs peace and must mobilise to demand it.

It takes a good dose of solidarity and empathy to understand what is happening right now. It is necessary to seek common points for the conflict to end and for it to end in a respectful and dignified way for all sides. Defending peace is our main mission these days. I sincerely hope that we can.

Anexo: People holding banners and flags gather in front of Israeli parliament in Jerusalem to take part in a solidarity demonstration against the Russian ongoing attacks on Ukraine in Jerusalem on February 28, 2022 [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]

Ver online : Middle East Monitor