Sir James Macham is a big man of peace from a small country. He was the founding president of the Republic of the Seychelles.
In the early hours of Sunday morning (New Year’s Day) – I took the time to listen to the Appeal For Peace Address of the new United Nations’ Secretary General António Guterres. He said –
“On my first day as Secretary General of the United Nations, one question weighs heavy in my heart – How can we help the millions of people from having conflict and wars with no end in sight? Civilians are pounded with deadly force – women, children and men are killed and injured, forced from their homes, disposed and destitute and even hospitals and convoys are targeted.
No one wins these wars, everyone loses. Trillions of dollars are spent in destroying societies and economies fuelling cycles of mistrust and fear, that can last for generations and all regions are destabilized and the new threat of global terrorism affects us all.
On this New Year’s day, I ask all of you to join me in making one shared New Year’s resolution. Let us make 2017 a year in which we, all citizens, government leaders, strive to overcome our differences from solidarity and compassion in our daily lives to dialogue and respect across political divides from ceasefire on the battlefield to compromise at the negotiating table to reach political solutions.
Peace must be our goal and our guide and all that we strive for as a human family, dignity, and hope, progress and prosperity depend on peace. But peace depends on us. I appeal to you all to join me in committing to peace today and every day. Let us make 2017 a year for peace.”
Congratulations Secretary General. As 2016 winner of the Africa Peace Award and recently the recipient of the Global Energy Parliament’s Lifetime Achievement Award for my global peace efforts – I would like to commend you for dedicating your first address to the world to the quest for peace. The situation, as you have rightly described, is indeed sad and alarming and as you very well pointed out, there is no victory in war anymore.
However, I was somewhat disappointed that you did not devote one paragraph in your speech to the threat and menace of nuclear war. As you know, in the recent General Assembly of the organization (on 23rd December 2016), over 130 nations voted for a resolution that stated that there is an ethical imperative to eliminate nuclear weapons which was characterized as immoral.
Sadly, only a few days ago, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin both announced their desire to strengthen their countries military nuclear capacity. The incoming US President has said – “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”
Mr Secretary General, a nuclear detonation would have inhumane indiscriminate and unacceptable consequences for the world. We cannot wait for that to happen before we act. It would appear that the two largest nuclear arms States who are members of the United Nations Security Council are ready to threaten the world with an increase of their already vast arsenals, despite the fact that the rest of the world is taking a strong stand against nuclear weapons.
For these reasons, the world’s citizens should give full support to the efforts being made by the Geneva-based International Campaign To Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the California-based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the New York-based Global Security Institute for there is indeed no place for nuclear weapons in the world today. Nuclear weapons threaten all we love and cherish. Now more than ever before we need to mobilize the people of the world to stand together.
I will like to conclude by sharing with all God-loving citizens of the world this prayer for peace which was sent to me at Christmas time –
“Compassionate God and Father of all,
we are horrified at violence
in so many parts of the world.
It seems that none are safe, and some
Hold back the hands that kill and maim;
turn around the hearts that hate.
Grant instead your strong Spirit of Peace –
peace that passes our understanding
but changes lives,
through God everlasting
Again Happy New Year to all citizens of goodwill and peace.
Sir James R. Mancham, KBE