Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dreaming of peace

WHILE most of us are still glued to the picture tube mesmerized by the most expensive presidential inauguration ever in Barack Obama, perceptions have gone far and wide but mostly verging on a new era of gratifying the “American dream”.

And so is the global anticipation—especially in the ambit of foreign policies that has made the world tired and consumed with the consequences of unpeace. Peace has become a political commodity bought with the greed of world economy which is mostly at the hands of the likes of Uncle Sam.

And while the inaugural celebrations heighten even in worlds so much apart from the US Capitol in Washington, Obama has reaffirmed almost in haste his pledge to invest in the U.S. military and review major weapons programs as he vowed to renew and strengthen US alliances with other countries.

The old saw attributed to Vegetius (Epitoma Rei Militaris), “si vis pacem para bellum,” (if you want peace prepare for war) is still surprisingly phenomenal even as the same inaugural address trains the world to defeating the enemies of peace by broadening the US military air arsenal and building up special operations forces by 65,000 or so.

But the Vatican thinks differently as the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI in his message during this year’s World Day of Peace, pursues the insights of his predecessors that one has to fight poverty in order to build peace. The wedge between and Christianity and the political world gets wider even as the Pope expands the meaning of poverty to the affective, moral and spiritual. He says: “On one hand, I have in mind what is known as ‘moral underdevelopment,’ and on the other hand the negative consequences of ‘superdevelopment.’”

Hereabouts, peace may not be as worse as those habitually beamed by CNN. But even at home we have itches to scratch—some deeply, others hopelessly. But given a political culture that is as turbulent as it is corrupt; a communist insurgency that is hinged on an ideological anachronism and, pitifully, banditry; a contentious proposition of an independent Islamic republic in Mindanao—peace may still be far off in the offing.

Church leaders hold seminars on peace building. The others clasp their breviaries and dream of peace.

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