SA must be taught the art of peace again | Fin24
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SA must be taught the art of peace again

Jul 29 2018 07:49
Muzi Kuzwayo

The question is: Can there really be peace in a world where there is a clash of economic and political interests?

For us to plan peace, we need to understand the system that is anti-peace, which makes its living from war and suffering.

Every quarter, the managers who run arms companies are required by their shareholders to post a profit so they can also feed the voracious appetites of hot money and impatient stock exchanges.

The financial paradigm has trumped social consciousness. The argument from pundits is that, if it doesn’t make financial sense, it is not worth doing.

The peace movement lost its allies when religious leaders embraced the cult of cash and started preaching in divisive language. If you want to go to heaven, you no longer have to spend your life on your knees.

You can go to any exclusive beach to see men and women clad in bikinis. So preachers have also moved further from God, and so the human flock is left wandering in the wilderness of violence.

The UN has failed miserably in its mission to achieve world peace. In fact, it has even declared war and members of its peacekeeping force have on more than one occasion exchanged their blue helmets for green ones, shedding blood and creating orphans.

It was always going to be an easy battle for the anti-peace movement. Capitalism and its promissory bait have turned politicians into petty crimepreneurs who are kept half hungry and half angry, always salivating over the luxuries enjoyed by their backers. So politicians no longer talk peace.

The proponents of violence are never short of fuel. Xenophobia and isolationism are rising like smog once again in the world, stunting social progress. Now that war has been outsourced to private military corporations, the world must brace itself for a return to the law of the jungle, underpinned by ad hoc alliances without regard for international law.

I recently spoke to a businessman who unashamedly told me that the UN’s International Court of Justice is a toothless organ whose findings are constantly flouted by member states. He was proud of the fact that his government had unjustly imposed sanctions against another, which then opened up unfair business opportunities for his country.

A few years ago, South Africa’s major export was peace and reconciliation. This was followed by growth in the tourism industry and we attracted big international conferences such as the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.

Since then, our country has plunged into a pit of parochialism, making it harder for visitors to come to this country. But there is no need to despair – we still have the seeds of peace. On Mandela Day recently, hundreds of people performed acts of kindness. Our embassies should start exporting this day to the countries where their missions are based.

In his acclaimed work War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy writes: “Everything depends on upbringing.”

So, as a country, we must start teaching the virtues of peace at our schools.

We should treat peace as an asset that we can export. We have the facilities – Robben Island could be turned into a place where warring parties from around the world meet to sign agreements to end their wars and create lasting peace.

Let us create meaningful tourism that will take us back to our respectable place in history.

* Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency.

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exports  |  sa economy  |  tourism


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