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Photographs above are of the Separation Wall at the Bethlehem-Jerusalem border in Israel.
When I took these pictures last year, I knew I was standing in front of what would be a perverse chapter in history. Then again, a few perverse chapters tends to always make history interesting for political scientists and historians, rather than for the humanitarians and peace activists. Earlier on this year, within the space of three weeks 1400 people died in Gaza due to what could only be logically perceived as the seemingly morbid intransigence of both Hamas and the Israeli government. Similarly, just recently a war that spanned six years ‘apparently’ ended in Darfur, with the UN stating that there had been 300,000 deaths, while the Sudanese government claims the figure was less, at around a generous 10,000. In 1994, a reported 800,000 Tutsis were massacred in Rwanda. Some sources, argue that the figure was much higher. During the course of World War II, the genocide of six-million Jews was the greatest tragedy of the Twentieth century. One cannot, but be overcome, by emotion when visiting Yad Vashem, the memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. We must, of course, remember those who have died in Sri Lanka’s civil war and hope that time, will ease the suffering and yet would never fade the thought or act of remembrance.
International Peace Day falls today and I resurface a few of the tragedies of the modern world as a mark of remembrance to those who have died by the hand of war, hunger, poverty and disaster. A degree of retrospection is required for the faculty of reconciliation. Perhaps, an advancement of understanding and co-existence might persevere by preserving memory. As an individual that I have the utmost respect for, a member of the civil society and a human rights activist, said- ‘There is always hope’.
Arundhati Roy’s hopeful prognostication in a speech and of which appears in a slightly amended version in the picture above states; ‘Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing’. I’m not advocating any sort of utopian construction of the world order, but neither should we accept the occurrence of unjust violence. The nostrum for war and violence must always be pursued, as ‘â€¦peace will not come out of a clash of arms but out of justice lived and done by unarmed nations in the face of odds’, (M.K Gandhi).
Happy International Peace Day.