The search for peace

Dhaka,  Mon,  21 August 2017
Published : 19 Jun 2017, 20:34:47
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The search for peace

The world is not at peace with itself. Respon-sible are none other than those who sermonise the poor and vulnerable nations. Or else how can the economic impact of war in the world be so disproportionately high compared to peace-building expenditure, being less than one per cent of the cost of global war? Yet the search for peace is within human soul and it must be given a chance    
That Bangladesh has dropped one slot behind in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is rather unsurprising. Last year it improved its GPI ranking by just a notch to 83rd position from the 84th. This means it has gone back to square one and importantly for the three years under review it is hovering between the two places in its GPI ranking. Now how significant the move upward or downward by just a slot is what hardly matters. Also, a yearly calculation is likely to be misread on several counts. Incidents of sectarian, inter-religious or communal conflicts happening on either side of an end-year can give a misleading reading. Also the 23 indicators on which the GPI is based, have chances of focusing on the elements of violence relatively depending on the responses of respondents' developing different cultural perceptions.

One place up or down does not make a whole lot of difference in a country's stand on the issue of peace versus violence. By any means, to be the 83rd or 84th peaceful country among 163 considered is not something to be proud of. Much as the politicians may proclaim that this is a land of harmony where all people, irrespective of caste and creed, live in peace, the reality at times run counter to the claim. When intra- and inter-partisan clashes take a violent term at different places of the country not quite infrequently, a good number of people and even members of law-enforcement agencies are found to set houses of others on fire in order to evict them from their ancestral homes and lands and ultra-extremists and obscurantist forces tend to create panic and violence at their convenience, the GPI stands accused in the eyes of those victimised. Peace becomes a casualty and the nation should feel ashamed of its inability not to protect the vulnerable. 

If Bhutan has a better standing among all Asian nations, it is because violence is almost foreign to the people of that country. Sri Lanka has improved its position only because the sectarian violence has become a thing of the past with the Tamil conflict solved. Pakistan and Afghanistan among the South Asian nations fare worse because there is a war going on in one country and in another, a war-like situation prevails. Compared with those countries Bangladesh is certainly in a better position but still it should not be a cause for celebration. As long as interests of all sections of public are not taken well care of, the country cannot claim to be at peace. There is a need for integrating the diverse people with the national identity. 

Clearly the world is not at peace with itself. Responsible are none other than those who sermonise the poor and vulnerable nations. Or else how can the economic impact of war in the world be so disproportionately high, compared to peace-building expenditure, being less than one per cent of the cost of global war? Yet the search for peace is within human soul and it must be given a chance.

 
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