Home » Governance » Don’t Take Peace for Granted

There are a lot of things human beings take for granted. Good health is taken for granted. The air that we breathe is taken for granted. But when human beings take each other for granted, they are also taking peace for granted. Perpetual peace is a monotone. It is tedious, it soporific. In short, it is just boring.

Peace is not given by God. Peace is a gift of mankind to each other. It is those that give peace that have peace. Those that forgot the value of peace have learnt the hard way that when peace has been disturbed all the other will accompany any discord that follows. But then peace is a two-way street. To have peace, you got to give peace.

In today’s world’s there are many conflict points. In almost every one of them there is a threading theme.

Most of them took the peace they had for granted and opted for instability which they believed would be ephemeral.

But they were wrong. They ended up with conflict that is enduring. History is replete with such examples. But like they say, you only appreciate light when you have been in darkness and peace when you have known war.

The Iraqis had Saddam for nearly 35 years. In that period they had two wars. In a way one would call him a warmonger and possibly not a very good example of what it is to have prevailing peace. But wait until he is removed in 2003 and see what happens. Not only did that lead directly to the creation of Islamic State (IsisIsil). Iraq has not known peace since.

It does not look like it is going to enjoy peace in a long time to come. The whole region has not known peace since.

Those allegedly killed by Saddam and those killed in his wars are far outnumbered by those killed by his absence.

Those that wanted a change for the sake of a change, a change because peace was too boring, have had second thoughts a long time ago. But it is too late to change that. Let us leave them to regret, but let the rest of the world learn.

The West is now fighting for the survival of its own civilisation. Iraq is now a hotbed of insurgency, extremism and intolerance. The threat from ISIL is expected to be ongoing for decades to come. Some are now saying, “If only Saddam had been left alone!”

The problem with violence these days is that it is predominantly non-state actors versus the State. A conflict between Iran and Iraqi is easier to resolve than a conflict between a State and insurgency.

This bit the Libyans learnt the hard way.

After 42 years of having dear old Muammar Gadaffi, they yearned for change. As established earlier, peace is boring. And the Wild West sounds exciting. Everybody knows what happened to Gadaffi, but not everybody is talking about what happened after Gadaffi. Well, after Gaddafi, Libya has had seven leaders.

So, in 42 years they had one leader and now they have had at least seven leaders in less than four years. There is a tribal war that is happening there. The infrastructure is destroyed. There is power vacuum and there is a hive of criminality around the oilfields. Nobody has known the peace since Gadaffi because they took it for granted.

Those that agitated for action then have had action in abundance and they are now suffering from a fatigue and intoxication of action.

Every able young man is now a militia of some sort. Again ISIS has taken root and the country has just gone 30 years backwards in development.

All because they took peace for granted and found stability laborious.

Going back a few years, those old enough would recall how Somalia became a failed State. A failed state is an ungovernable space with no central government, no social cohesion, pure anarchy and instability.

Someone threatened to make Zimbabwe ungovernable a few days ago. In short someone threatened to make Zimbabwe a failed State.

In Shona wisdom there is a phrase that is called “kuzvimbirwa nenyemba” (to be replete on cowpeas). You see, cow-peas are a very good source of protein in our rural communities.

But if you overeat this legume, the resulting gastro-intestinal discomfort accompanied by flatulence and constipation is intolerable. However, this writer cannot explain why petulant over-excitement is synonymised with overeating cowpeas. Maybe the speech of one who has eaten too much cowpeas is like flatulence, who knows.

But leaving the labyrinth of culinary wisdom and African diets alone, let us go back to Somalia. In 1991 Somalia got rid of Mohammed Siad Barre. This general had been in power since 1969 following a coup.

He was corrupt and nepotistic among many other social ills.

But in all this he kept Somalia stable.

Now 24 years later, there is no better example of a failed state than Somalia.

The country is now semi-balkanised and there is no functioning state. State functions are carried out by warlords and clans in their domains.

Each faction is some sort government with a capacity to organise a few things but a massive capacity to impart violence.

As in all of these areas where a g figure kept things together, their departure or destabilisation creates some sort of vacuum which can be capitalised on by undesirable elements. In Somalia Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda have taken root and they are now exporting terror to the rest of the world and destabilising East Africa.

Destroying in order to rebuild never works when it comes to statecraft.

Only people that lack common decency aocate for total anarchy.

For when one pushes to make the country ungovernable they are asking for anarchy.

They are intoxicated with the adrenaline juice of a narrow victory, or the adulations of an admiring few at the expense of the national good.

Syrians can tell Zimbabweans one or two things about ill-aised machinations to make the country ungovernable.

Their current problems emerged as a copy cat revolution during the so-called Arab Spring that saw uprisings in Egypt (which by the way has not known peace since ousted President Hosni Mubarak), Tunisia and Libya in February 2011.

With tacit encouragement from the West, Syria a secular and stable state, was destabilised.

This started with a few demonstrations which developed into an armed conflict.

Nothing here is suggesting that people should not express themselves. By all means within the framework of the law everybody should heard.

The problem is attempts to subvert the will of the people and derail constitutional mandates.

In Syria today the whole world is grappling with how to restore order.

Again, Isis has taken residents. Foreigners and Christians are being slaughtered and the concept of an Islamic caliphate has gained currency and now been exported to many countries.

There is now a new threat to world peace. It started with the Arab Spring and everyone taking peace for granted. This piece is not making a case for repression. By all means the war that brought us independence is called the liberation struggle. It means “liberty” was at the heart of everything.

And today liberty should remain the reason Independence is celebrated every April.

It is just premonitory that peace should only be taken for granted if people are prepared to bear the brunt of conflict and instability.

Let not the peace that prevails be taken for granted. Conspiracy theories in this social media age quickly go viral. Distortions and Chinese whispers give unfounded rumours a lot of currency.

Behind their keyboards people get excited and agitate for action. But those agitating for action only do it behind their keyboards.

They disturb the security of the individual by trying to steer things towards total anarchy.

But like all reactionaries, they themselves are paper tigers. This lot constitutes a social fringe that should not be allowed to retard both social economic and political progress.

Source : The Herald