To kill or be killed, it’s as simple as that. Or… Is it? To some extent we humans have a brutal and destructive trait inside of us, just like any other creature in order to survive in the natural competition and natural selection. We have to be cautious, on our guard against potential preditors, other animals who want to eat and/or kill us, or hostile tribes and individuals who seek our destruction and usurp our habitat. The picture you see above I made some years ago, and in this particular case it will represent that phenomenon. Partly it is exactly as I describe above, and we all know of the competition also among the other animals in the same way. It’s basic biology. However, we humans also have another side to our resourcefulness which, used in a slightly different way, just might save ourselves from destroying our own human kind. I will come to that later in this text.
In the university city of Uppsala north of the Swedish capital Stockholm there’s a company called UCDP, which also is a computer program. The UCDP stands for Uppsala Conflict Data Program, and is a very appreciated international source about conflicts and war zones in our world. 14 people are working at the UCDP and they assemble different kinds of information and statistics year after year. According to them there were wars in six countries during 2011: Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan. (The UCDP counts more than 1000 killed in a troubled area as a war zone). The civil war that broke out in Libya in the fight to get rid of Muammar al-Kadhaffi that year resulted in 150 000 people killed, a million refugees, and bombings that took the country four to five centuries back in loss of infrastructure. After the fall of Kadhaffi the tribes have continued to fight among themselves about who will control what area, which rules that ought to be valid and who will be the top geezer. When “the official” war in Libya was over in 2011 it was in 2012 replaced with Syria instead. I have written about the horrendous civil war there before, and also Mali is another fighting zone.Earlier this year I was also asked by people in Pakistan to enlighten the world about the horrible power-struggle and genocide on Shi’a Muslims by Sunni Muslims in Pakistan, but also the persecution of other minorities there. I will write more about that shortly.
A war zone is always abused by war-lords, gangsters, maffioso and corrupt officials. The help that should have been given to those who need it the most is often stolen by those just mentioned. Who get to suffer the most? Children who have to starve, who are sexually violated or kidnapped to become child soldiers in some army. Women who get raped, forced into prostitution, used as merchandise, who are beaten and killed. Mutilated soldiers, handicapped, people who have tried to defend themselves, people who have critisized a maffioso, a war-lord or the régime, (maybe sometimes one and the same). People who have tried to inform the population about human rights and human dignity. School teachers, intellectuals, journalists, doctors, lawyers, accountants. Women who fight for gender equality, so that men and women should have the same rights and possibilities in society. People who try to help others with humanitarian work. People who try to stand up for themselves, who belong to the “wrong” ethnic, social, political or religious group. They are too often mocked, abused, kidnapped, arrested, tortured or/and killed. Therefore many people run away and try to avoid the war-zones in one way or the other, while others stay and fight for “their piece of land” and their nation.
According to Peter Wallenten at the UCDP there were 37 international conflicts going on in the world during 2012, counting also the “smaller” ones. There are Swedish soldiers in Afghanistan, trying to keep the safety, but safety for who? 1000 million kronor is invested in the “project” each year. The problems with most wars is that they are said to be “religious”, to be about this or that religious creed, or this or that political ideology, while in reality most wars actually concern something totally different… Natural resources! Land, forests, gold, jewels, diamond mines, oil fields and water supplies. Religions and political ideologies are often used as a pretext. Then again there are those who start conflicts because they can’t stand another opposing ideology, religious or secular. However history has proven time and again over the millennia that irrespective of what god(s) we have believed in, what ethnic background we have had, what clothes we have been wearing and customs we have had we humans have behaved in exactly the same way and fought for similar reasons ever since our human ancestors walked the African soil. The reasons? Greed, envy, jealousy, power, fear, prejudiced notions, misunderstandings and more power abuse. Also lack of understanding for our human dignity, lack of understanding for why the poor girl stole those eggs when she was hungry, or the farmer was poaching the lord’s red deers. Why the Same population in Kautokeino in northern Norway 150 years ago rebelled against the Norwegian State Church and the Swedish merchant who sold booze to the locals and made them into drunkards.
North Korea is threatening the West with a nuclear war. That is worrying. There’s a strong tension between South and North Korea, the armies assemble, missiles, canons, and other weapons are prepared for a mass destruction. Israel has now sent missiles into Syria to hinder Hizbollah camps supported by Iran. Iran is prepared while they themselves also subjugate their own inhabitants. There are conflicts everywhere. The problem is that we don’t need a new World War. Let the letters www in a web adress continue being World Wide Web. Let’s not replace the meaning with Worst World War. Nowadays we don’t fight with swords, lances, bows and arrows any more, like the two men killing each other in my teen-age picture below. Today we have weapons of mass destruction: atom bombs, nerve gasses, missiles and guns that are developed to kill an enormous amount of people. In the hands of despots, psychopaths and military maniacs they risk to destroy not only “the enemies”. Besides… Who is the enemy, and why is he or she considered a foe? For not being exactly like yourself? Consider a new large scale war with several nations involved, a World War III. No-one would win. Our planet would be devestated, while the global warming similtanously would destroy the survivors independent of who we are or what system we believe in. Take a look at the last picture below. That’s a map I made ten years ago and it shows the creation of the Black Sea. Melted water from the last Ice Age that ended 10 000 years ago made its way from the Mediterranean Sea with too much water and poured into a lower sweet-water lake. We wouldn’t survive something similar today. There are too many of us.
Today in 2013 there are approximately seven billion people on this planet, and we have to take care of the world we live in. It’s precious and sensitive. Too long we have taken the world for granted, and its natural resources. We also have to take care of each other. Instead of putting the efforts and money on the war industries it ought to be wiser to instead focus on the things I list here:
- Building of houses and flats that are ecologically safe, and keeping the prizes for building them and the rents on a level that also people with bad economy might afford.
- Devoloping or rebuilding the health care systems in all countries.
- Creating more green areas and parks
- Developing the system for better access of bicycles, trains and busses
- Creating more green jobs.
- Building of damms against floods
- Taking care of human capacity in all ages from the young to the older.
- Developing systems where women and men alike might be able to understand each other’s perspectives in a modern world in change.
- Taking care of creative and resourceful people.
- Easening even more the taxation systems for small and medium-sized companies.
- Continue developing the international co-operation for safe-guarding storms, tsunamis etc.
- Encouraging both local talents and companies, but also different forms of co-operations.
If we focus on these things we might be able to at least easen our future and make it fairly okay and something that our kids and the coming generations hopefully might thank us for. Let us save our species Homo Sapiens by trying to be wiser.
Anders Moberg, May 5th 2013