“Imagine all the people
Livin’ life in peace
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one.”
Our world faces a common enemy: COVID-19. For sure it is a public health emergency, but it is far more: an economic crisis, a social crisis and a human rights crisis. In the meantime, armed conflict rages on relentlessly around the world. If you can bear to, think of Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and on and on and on. Everywhere the most vulnerable — women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and the displaced — pay the highest price.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for a global ceasefire. He acknowledges the enormous difficulties in implementing a truce to halt conflicts that have “festered for years, where distrust is deep and recognizes that any initial gains are fragile and easily reversible,” he said in a virtual press conference in March.
He is also calling for measures to address a “horrifying global surge in domestic violence” directed towards women and girls, linked to lockdowns imposed by governments responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walking along Broadway in Boulder in spring of 2019, I passed excited people and families, some with guns, flags unfurling in the breeze, signs like “Don’t Tread on Me” and “Keep Calm & Carry a .45.” It was a gun rights rally. An hour earlier on the corner had been a Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center anti-war demonstration with peace activists and their signs opposing war and violence.
Then, throw into this mix the stark deterioration of our global climate. According to Christian Parenti, in his book “ Tropic of Chaos,” planners at the Pentagon have been quietly preparing to take charge of a planet shaken by climate chaos. Predicting ever more extreme weather, famine, and social collapse around the globe, high-level experts — like former CIA director James Woolsey and former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gordon Sullivan — outline a chilling vision of endemic violence and “militarized adaptation” to disaster. As hunger and disease turn to conflict in the Global South, planners inside and outside the Pentagon are preparing to shut borders, control population movements, and intensify U.S. intervention abroad. No! No! No!
As usual, it’s up to us, the people, to demand a global ceasefire that slowly becomes a new way of life as we all roll up our sleeves ready to take charge.