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Abolishing war!

Over the last years, there have been moves to abolish things like landmines and cluster bombs.   Now there are steps being taken to abolish war.  Yes, war!  

Qadir Sheikh, a landmine victim from Warsun in Kashmir, says that his handicap will mean no education for his two daughters. Credit: Athar Parvaiz/IPS

"Slavery. Colonialism. Apartheid. Gender discrimination in voting. All were abolished in most places after longstanding battles – largely in bygone eras.

Now a high-level panel is scheduled to meet next month to discuss another politically sensitive issue: Should the institution of war be abolished?

Asked if this would be just an exercise in futility, Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, told IPS, “I don’t think that working toward ending war is an exercise in futility.

“I think there is little consistent effort to challenge the view that war is inevitable and to begin serious education from the time children enter school about conflict resolution and the actions we all need to take to create a global culture of sustainable peace,” said Williams, who led the highly successful global campaign to ban anti-personnel landmines.

Asked if the concept of eliminating wars should begin in the minds of politicians and decision-makers or with the leaders of the global arms industry, she said: “I think the work to ending wars must begin at all levels.”

Williams said it should extend from educating children about the horrors of war – “and not pretending it is all heroic and patriotic” – to pressuring policy and decision makers to change their thinking about war as a solution to problems.

“Tackling the arms industry directly would likely not be as fruitful and they stand to lose the most,” she added.

Williams will be one of the participants, along with diplomats, former senior U.N. officials and anti-war activists, at a briefing co-sponsored by a coalition of non-governmental (NGOs) organisations and Switzerland, a country which has not been in a state of war since 1815.

Scheduled to take place Jun. 6, the briefing will focus on the topic “Determined to Save Succeeding Generations from the Scourge of War.”

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