May 8-10, 2020: Days of Remembrance, Reconciliation and Mother’s Day weekend.
Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov
In 2020 the second weekend in May reminds us about the value of human lives and dignity through the lens of war and love.
Resolution 59/26 of 22 November 2004 by the UN General Assembly declared 8–9 May as a time of remembrance and reconciliation. UN recognizes that Member States may have individual days of victory, liberation and commemoration. UN invited all Member States, organizations of the United Nations System, non-governmental organizations and individuals to observe either one or both of these days annually in an appropriate manner to pay tribute to all victims of the Second World War. As we remember the victims of World War 2 this weekend, we need to recognize the ongoing armed conflicts that are happening around the world. Thankfully Wikipedia keeps track of many ongoing armed conflicts. I will list them here, and probably there are more that are currently not voiced on Wikipedia.
Africa: ADF insurgency, Anglophone Crisis, Batwa–Luba clashes, Boko Haram insurgency, Central African Republic Civil War, Communal conflicts in Nigeria (Herder–farmer conflicts in Nigeria), Conflict in the Niger Delta, Ethnic violence in South Sudan (South Sudanese Civil War), Insurgency in Egypt, Insurgency in the Maghreb, ISIL insurgency in Tunisia, Islamist insurgency in Mozambique, Ituri conflict, Kamwina Nsapu rebellion, Katanga insurgency, Kivu conflict, Libyan Crisis (Second Civil War), Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency, Northern Mali conflict, Oromo–Somali clashes, Second Afar insurgency, Sinai insurgency, Somali Civil War (War in Somalia), Sudanese conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, Sudanese nomadic conflicts, War in Darfur
Americas: Colombian conflict (War in Catatumbo), Peruvian internal conflict, EPP insurgency, Mexican Drug War
East and South Asia: Afghanistan conflict (2001–present), Balochistan conflict (Sistan and Baluchestan insurgency), Insurgency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Insurgency in Sindh, Insurgency in Laos, Insurgency in Northeast India (Assam Meghalaya Manipur Nagaland Tripura), Insurgency in the Philippines (CPP, NPA, NDF, Moro), Internal conflict in Myanmar (Kachin, Karen, Rohingya), Kashmir conflict (Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir ), Naxalite–Maoist insurgency, Papua conflict, Sectarianism in Pakistan, South Thailand insurgency
Europe: War in Donbass (Ukraine), Insurgency in the North Caucasus
West Asia: Arab separatism in Khuzestan, Iraq conflict (2003–present) Iraqi Insurgency, Israeli–Palestinian conflict (Gaza–Israel conflict), Kurdish separatism in Iran (West Iran clashes), Kurdish–Turkish conflict (2015–present), Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Qatif conflict (2017–2019), Qatif unrest, Syrian Civil War, Yemeni Crisis civil war, Arab protests (2018–present), 2019–20 Persian Gulf crisis
As I typed the name of each conflict, I thought about the victims of war: human beings who lost their lives in ongoing armed conflicts. War is one big global human tragedy that is comprised of many local tragedies. As citizens of the Earth, we haven’t yet found ways to stop mass killings of human beings in 2020. But many individuals and organizations keep trying to find ways to manage wars and find ways to peace, remembrance and reconciliation. The ending of World War 2 is a historical event that “established the conditions for the creation of the United Nations, designed to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and called upon the Member States of the United Nations to unite their efforts in dealing with new challenges and threats, with the United Nations playing a central role, and to make every effort to settle all disputes by peaceful means in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and in such a manner that international peace and security are not endangered”. The United Nations can only be effective if all member states are willing to work together. Until then, it is critical to keep organizing efforts to promote peace and stop wars. Remembering past histories and seeking reconciliation for the future is critical for everyday reflection. Lest we forget!
On Saturday, May 9th I have participated in the 45th annual Walk for Peace, the Environment and Social Justice in Kamloops. Council of Canadians organized it. BC Association of Social Workers was one of the many organizations that participated in the walk. Due to COVID-19 the walk was done via Zoom 2 hour Marathon. It was an excellent opportunity to unite people who think of global peace and act locally and share their gifts of passion for peace, social, environmental, political, and cultural justice, and service to humanity. If anyone can participate in other events the #NoWar2020 is going online this May 28-30, 2020. https://nowar2021.worldbeyondwar.org/ I have shared their poster image as a cover photo for this post. I support the idea of demilitarization and commend 25 countries that already disband their militaries altogether. I believe that nonviolent resistance is much more successful in comparison to armed resistance, and resources spent on education and health care and social welfare produces more jobs than the same resources spent in the war industry. I also know that my birth country, Ukraine, does not receive proper support from those who have signed Budapest Memorandum that promised peace and no change in Ukrainian borders in exchange for removing nuclear weapons. Ukraine is now at war, and Crimea was annexed to Russia, and the global community has done very little to protect people of Ukraine who are being displaced and uncertain of their future.
I want to end this message on a more hopeful note. Today is Mother’s Day, and hopefully, each of us has someone special in our life that we call Mother. I am very fortunate that my Mama is with me in person today and we will celebrate together. I think about every person who is part of my Mama’s circle, as each one helped me to become the person I am today. It is extra challenging to connect during the pandemic, and I hope everyone can find a way to say hello and thank you to their Mama(s). My special thanks are always going to my Canadian Mama, God Mama and Milk Mama. To all who are named a Mother by someone in this world thank you for your care, love and share. Humanity will find a way to stop wars and promote peace by having more people who are Mother to others, who love, care and share the values of peace and justice for all.
Acknowledge your Mama. Say thank you, and have a reflective Mother’s Day and the weekend of remembrance and reconciliation.