Monday, May 22, 2017

India-Pakistan people’s peace resolution: Throwing a pebble in the pond

Peace activists from India and Pakistan have circulated a resolution to support efforts for a durable peace between India and Pakistan. The full text of the resolution can be found at this link. The preamble states:

"In the 70 years since independence and Partition, the people of India and Pakistan have seen too many conflicts and the loss of many valuable lives. Enough of the distrust and tensions. Those who suffer particularly are ordinary people denied visas and those in the conflict zones, especially women and children as well as fishermen who get routinely rounded up and arrested for violating the maritime boundary.
We condemn all forms of violence regardless of its objectives.
Deeply concerned at the current rise in animosity and antagonism between India and Pakistan, we urge both governments and their security establishments to take all steps possible towards improving relations.."

The resolution has been signed by hundreds of prominent activists, journalists, intellectuals and peace-lovers from all over the world. Whenever such resolutions are circulated, they tend to get pigeon-holed as Leftist or Liberal and while popular within those domains, they are derided as fairy-tales by those who like to think of themselves as more "realistic". I would submit that this is unfortunate.. I think all realists should support the DEMAND for peace. While there are powerful lobbies that are genuinely un-interested in peace (and would PREFER to settle matters by force) on both sides (the situation is not necessarily symmetrical, as I have pointed out in the past, the Indian establishment, and even their Right Wing, is willing to make peace on current borders, Pakistan is the anti-status quo state), "realists" do not support war in principle, they support it because they think "the other side leaves us no choice". I submit that those who believe this should have no problem with such a resolution: to ask for peace is not the same as asking for surrender. In the cold war, both Russia and the US made it a point to stress that THEY wanted peace, it was the other side that was not cooperating sincerely. I would appeal to all my "realist" friends to get with the program and at least do this much: joint the demand for peace. Put the onus for it's failure on the other country. Don't be the one asking for war as the preferred step.
Who knows, It may even work.