War and PeaceBy Iquo B. Essien, The AFRican Blogger

War and Peace
By Iquo B. Essien, The AFRican Blogger

Published on Mon, Oct 01 2007 by Iquo Essien

(Peacekeeping troops evacuate station. Photo credit: Alfred de Montesquiou/Associated Press)

Sitting in a restaurant this morning, waiting to speak to the owner (I need permission to film the restaurant's exterior), I read something very distressing on the front page of today's New York Times. It appears that hundreds of Darfuri rebels raided an encampment of African Union peacekeeping troops -- killing ten and stealing a sizeable amount of heavy artillery.

The raid was highly organized and the deadliest attack on AU troops since they arrived in Darfur three years ago. To add insult to injury, the raid comes at a time when the UN is busy persuading member countries to commit troops and resources to an expanded Darfur peacekeeping force. Aid officials fear that the attack will lead some countries to withdraw their support.

I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around this. Not two weeks ago, there was a Darfur rally right here in Manhattan. There are hundreds of thousands of people around the world tryna flip the script to atone for what happened in Rwanda. This news is horrifying.

I remember at the Sierra Leonean Independence Day Celebration last year, talking to a guy who thought the war in Liberia might have been "successful" if a different strategy had been taken. And this guy was a well-educated man, all the degrees you could want, saying if it were up to him, he would use more men and greater force. It almost felt like we were talking about penis size.

Someone will always have bigger or more guns than the next guy. In my opinion, all war really does is destabilize. There is no sustainable peace through war, unless we only look as far as the current regime. For a lasting peace, people need to stop this madness. Unfortunately, in a world where war is used as a medium for peace, nonviolence and diplomacy are rendered irrelevant, impotent, and therefore unsustainable. Even Mandela turned to arms. Some may wonder why I don't believe in radical revolution, but it's for this very reason: it's UNSUSTAINABLE.

I'm not entirely sure what the rebels want. In all likelihood, they forgot ages ago, because war inevitably becomes its own cause. I sometimes wonder if we really want to annihilate ourselves. Probably why the rest of us are busy eating too many Big Macs, not exercising, working too many long hours in cubicles, and smoking cigarettes.


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