“Killing, whether it is one man, or one million men, is a crime.”
The world we live in is said to be a civilised one. In the old days, uncivilised people resolve conflicts by killing each other. Nowadays, civilised nations impose their will on other nations, especially when they do not like who is leading these nations. And this is accepted by the world as the civilised way to resolve conflicts; ironically this does not differ from the ways of our uncivilised ancestors.
This message was conveyed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the launching of the 14th Mahathir Global Peace School and Public Lectures at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations in Kuala Lumpur. The MGPS14 consists of several programmes and lectures aimed at discussing the criminalisation of war.
He added that it took 20 years for a politician to convince the lawmakers of his nation to accept that slave trading is illegal, therefore it is not impossible to get the general public as well as nations to agree to criminalise war.
Conflicts should be resolved through discussions, tribunals, and courts of law. It would be better for nations to resolve conflicts by sitting down together as civilised people should. Of course, the outcome of some decisions of the courts of law may turn out differently as the international court is not independent of the most powerful nations who call the shots.
The vote of one country out of five holders of the veto power holds the whole world at ransom, determining the fate of this world. This is what the civilised nations call “democracy.” We can never have peace in this world when the fate of the majority lies in the hands of these five nations.
Tun Dr Mahathir added that the world can only be civilised if all politicians are also elected because they object to war. Children must also be educated on the efforts to criminalise war.
The launching of the MGPS14 was also attended by Dr M Jusuf Kalla, the former Vice-President of the Republic of Indonesia who delivered a lecture on peace and diplomacy.
In his lecture, Dr Jusuf Kalla said that the two World Wars were very costly. In the old days, in order to have peace one must be prepared for war. However, security can now be better achieved by maintaining good relationship between countries.
Dr Jusuf Kalla said about half a century ago Indonesia and Malaysia faced the same scenario. However, behind-the-scene diplomacy prevailed and stopped the Confrontation from escalating further. During the Ambalat stand-off, Dr Jusuf Kalla called upon Datuk Seri Najib to help diffuse the situation by mutually agreeing to order the respective naval units to end the standoff and return to base. This is due to not just the good relations between the two nations, but also the good personal relations between the leaders of the two nations.
“Weapons will have less meaning if the relationship is good,” he added. “A good relationship will never bring about wars. Diplomacy and good relationship will bring about many benefits. Malaysia has helped Indonesia tremendously as one of the major foreign investors there.”
Economic equality and non-exploitation of other nations should be the fundamentals to be exercised in order to achieve inter-nation peace.
When there are too many weapons available, peace is not easily achievable. Malaysia has been helping out in government between the factions and the government but the availability of weapons have hindered the southern Philippines from achieving true peace. The absence of a recognised leader in South Thailand coupled with the availability of weapons have caused many negotiations there to fail. The Southern Thais do not identify themselves as Thais, whereas the government of Thailand treat them as Thai nationals. The exact opposite happens in Myanmar where the Rohingyas say they are Myanmarese but the Myanmar government would rather identify them as Bangladesi-descendants. Without a common understanding, peace can never be achieved in these three regions. Therefore, weapons will always remain as the definition of security.
The MGPS14 will see a series of visits and public lectures starting on the 17th February 2014 and ends on the 1st March 2014. Among the invited lecturers include Dr Chandra Muzaffar (President of International Movement for a JUST World), Prof Johan Galtung (Professor of Peace Studies), Prof Dr M Din Syamsuddin (Chairman of Muhammadiyah) and Prof Ahmad Syafii Maarif (former Chairman of Muhammadiyah).