In today’s world, almost everyday a story of war or conflict due to one reason or another is featured in both local and international news. Whether they are stories of war between nations or internal strife, it seems that peace has become elusive and people are getting used to reports of fighting, loss of lives, destruction of homes, schools and hospitals and the fleeing of people from war torn areas.
The war in Syria for example is now in its 5th year((CNN Library, ‘Syrian Civil War Fast Fcats’; <http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/27/world/meast/syria-civil-war-fast-facts; Last updated March 31st 2016)), with the UN, in 2014, naming the Syrian refugees crisis the “Biggest Humanitarian Crisis of Our Era”((August 29th 2014; ‘U.N. : Syrian Refugee Crisis is ‘Biggest Humanitarian Crisis of Our Era’’http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/08/29/344219323/u-n-syrian-refugee-crisis-is-biggest-humanitarian-emergency-of-our-era)) 13.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance inside the country, including 6.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Over 280,000 people have been killed and mass displacement has happened.((Acaps, ‘Syria; Type of crisis: Conflict, Displacement’; http://www.acaps.org/country/syria?acaps_mode=slow&show_mode=1)) Libya is another country that has plunged into chaos leading to its foregoing of more than 68 billion US dollars in potential oil reserves between 2013 and January 2016.((Anjli Raval, Heba Saleh, ‘War and strife have cost Libya $68 bn in lost oil revenues’; http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4dc800de-c27a-11e5-b3b1-7b2481276e45.html#axzz4FzHFhMct)) Even worse, many have died, others have fled and the country has become a haven for terrorists.((Feb 27, 2016, The New York Times; Jo Becker, Scott Shane ‘In Their Own Words : The Libya Tragedy Highlights of interviews with decision makers involved in the Libya intervention about what went wrong’; http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/02/28/us/politics/libya-quotes.html))
Internal strife has been witnessed in Burundi where recently East African Community Member of Parliament Hafsa Mossi was slain.((13th July 2016; ‘Burundi crisis: MP Hafsa Mossi shot dead in Bujumbura’; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-36783069)) The crisis is now in its 2nd year and the country remains unstable. Between 26th April 2015 and 25th April 2016, a fatality count of 1,555 was reported. Many more have fled to Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.((Armed Conflict Location & Event Dataset, Country Report: Burundi Crisis Year One May 2016; http://www.acleddata.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/ACLED-Country-Report-Burundi-May-2016.pdf))
In the United States, a sniper shot 5 police officers in the State of Dallas after the murder of an unarmed black man by the police.((July 8th 2016; The New York Times; Manny Fernandez, Richard Perez-Pena and Jonah Engel Bromwich; ‘Five Dallas Officers Were Killed as Payback; Police Chief Says’)) Anger sparked protests due to what has been seen as police brutality and bias against black people.
In a study by the Institute For Economics & Peace 2 years ago, there were only 11 countries in the world that were actually free from conflict.((August 14th 2014; Independent; Adam Withnall, ‘World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict’; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/world-peace-these-are-the-only-11-countries-in-the-world-that-are-actually-free-from-conflict-9669623.html)) According to the study, peace was becoming more elusive by the day and that things were actually set to get worse.
Though studies and the statistics that they present may be disheartening and worrisome, it is hope and determination to keep finding solutions and to keep fighting for peace that keeps the world going. It is efforts of peace talks and the resolve to help those that have been affected by war and strife that keeps the light on for the quest towards turning those statistics around. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was put on the spot for her refugee policy after attacks in Germany, but refused to change her policy and turn away refugees. She stated that it was a responsibility that we all bore to provide a home for those that have lost theirs and reassured the German people that they would be more strict in scrutinizing those that were to enter their country.((July 28th 2016, The Guardian, Kate Connolly, ‘Angela Merkel defends Germany’s refugee policy after attacks’; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/28/merkel-rejects-calls-to-change-germanys-refugee-policy-after-attacks )) After the shootings of the police, President Barack Obama called on Americans to open their hearts to each other and recognise their common dignity.((July 12th 2016; Katie Reilly ‘Read President Obama’s Speech From the Dallas Memorial Service’;http://time.com/4403543/president-obama-dallas-shooting-memorial-service-speech-transcript/))
The answer to finding peace lies in finding commonalities between the human race and clinging onto the hope that one day things will indeed get better.