Thursday, September 27, 2012

On a day of peace, Soyinka calls for war on Boko Haram


On the International Day of Peace, Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka visited the United Nations – and called for armed intervention against the terrorist group Boko Haram in his home country of Nigeria.
“This is a violent organisation,” Soyinka told IPS. “What do you do with them? I am sorry, but you must fight them.”
"This is a violent organization...What do you do with them? I am sorry, but you must fight them."
On Sep. 21, 2012 the International Day of Peace was celebrated with a debate about how to build a global culture of tolerance. Invited to participate were such superstars  as actor Forest Whitaker, economist Jeffrey Sachs, and Wole Soyinka, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986.
After his speech, Soyinka spoke to IPS about the situation in his native Nigeria, where the Islamist militant group Boko Haram is responsible for thousands of deaths and the bombings of several churches in Nigeria in recent years. The group seeks to establish sharia law in the country. Their presence is particularly strong in the north of the country.
“We have a contradiction...How do we get rid of Boko Haram? Violence must become involved. That is a dilemma.”
“We have an organisation which closes down schools, shoots faculty teachers, knocks out children and turns most of the north into an educational wasteland. How can we reach the children there? We must first get rid of Boko Haram,” Soyinka lashed out.
“We have a contradiction,” he acknowledged. “How do we get rid of Boko Haram? Violence must become involved. That is a dilemma.”

Calling for armed intervention on Peace Day may certainly seem like a paradox. But Soyinka’s call for attacking Boko Haram in order to stop the group’s attacks on schools made more sense after Friday’s debate, where speaker after speaker highlighted the importance of education to enable a global culture of peace to grow.

As stipulated in the 1999 Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, the United Nations’ primary goal is to “create and maintain world peace” through economic, social and political agreements, and in the worst cases through military intervention.
In order for such a framework to succeed, a foundation of peace and a culture of tolerance must to be built. A cornerstone in building this culture is inculcating respect for others in children.
“The real weapon of mass destruction is ignorance,” said British-Iranian philanthropist Nasser David Khalili, one of the speakers during the event to emphasise the importance of schooling building a culture of peace. “The solution must be education.”

Culled from IPSnews


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