Source/Credit: Ahmadiyya Times
By Naseem Mahdi | October 3, 2012
“I am here to sound the alarm,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the opening of the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations. He desperately asked world leaders to, “act before it was too late to effectively address such global challenges as widespread insecurity, deepening inequality, government waste, and the impacts of climate change.”
The question this alarm forces us to seriously consider is: Can we build a world order that assures peace and security for all its inhabitants? With each nation acting its own interests, without regard to the demands of justice, fairplay and humanity, I believe the answer is a definitive no! When might determines right, the consequence is that millions living in poorer parts of the world grow more and more frustrated and enraged. And as technology continues to bring the world closer by eliminating the separation of time and distance, this widespread frustration and rage touches everyone and the world seems daily more chaotic and unsafe. Iran is no longer the far off place it was in 1953 and Guatemala cannot be discussed so dismissively as a banana republic as in 1954. And when we add to all this the dangers posed by nuclear arms – it becomes clear that a solution needs to be found urgently.
So the question is, what governing principle can replace primacy of self interest and is there any support that such a principle can work as well or better? I believe a world order based on justice alone can insure peaceful co-existence of all – some of the more powerful nations may not be able to get their raw materials as cheaply but this is a small price to pay for a safe and secure planet – our global village.
This thinking is often dismissed as being utopian and impractical – yet it is employed by the most successful and powerful nations of the world within their own borders. Does it even make sense to talk of a United States of America without a Constitution – the Supreme Law of the Land that governs and sets limits on what each state in the Union can and cannot do and resolves and settles any disputes that may arise between the states? Of course not! So why is it impossible to talk of a world in which the demands of justice are met and the relations between nations are governed by such a requirement?
Failing this the peoples of all countries – including those living in the more powerful nations – will continue to see their erstwhile peaceful lives begin to get more and more uncomfortable. We are already seeing this happen. In the West in general, and in the US in particular, more and more people go around wondering, “Why does the rest of the world hate us?” Daily more and more people realize that their own governments have not been always acting with the same regard to the dictates of justice and fairness that reign supreme within their borders when dealing with poorer and weaker nations.
There is a long list that can be cited here to show how powerful nations disregard the demands of justice, fair play, level playing field, or even humanity when it comes to preserving or advancing their own self-interests – real or perceived. And I hinted at a couple of these by mentioning Iran and Guatemala in the beginning – but the list is very long and contains much that has happened in recent years. The only thing that has so far prevented a third world war is that these powerful nations have kept from falling into battle with each other largely by partitioning the world into mutually agreed upon areas of prime influence for each other. The impact of modern technology and the coming into being of new economic powers is quickly eroding the efficacy of these arrangements. We need to realize that a world order based on justice needs to be found – and quickly. Failing this, the world is going to come to a rather sad and horrible end that no one really wishes to delineate: A nuclear war that will leave its imprint on humanity for generations to come.
Addressing this topic recently at Capitol Hill, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community drew the attention of US legislators to the reality that peace and justice are inseparable and although all governments claim to make policies that are based on justice, restlessness and anxiety and disorder is increasing in the world and this clearly proves that somewhere along the line, the requirements of justice are not being fulfilled. He advised that true peace will be established only through attention to the requirements of absolute justice and this requires that our glances are not cast enviously in the direction of the wealth of others. In the interest of the greater good of all, he asked developed nations to put aside their vested interests, and instead help and serve the less developed and poorer nations with a truly selfless attitude and spirit. Failing this he warned that disorder will continue to increase in the world and ultimately lead to huge destruction.
This advice is the answer to the alarm bells sounded by the General Secretary of the United Nations the day before yesterday. I wish the leaders of the world gathered at the United Nations success with their deliberations and ask them to pay attention to this sound and timely advice.
Naseem Mahdi is National Vice President and Missionary Incharge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA