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Peace in an Unsettled World

Aug 19, 2008
I listened to a story on National Public Radio on the 7th June 2008. It was a moving story told by a woman whose mother had dedicated and even risked her life to give medical guidance and service to pregnant women in Iran sometime during the sixties and seventies. According to her daughter this wonderful person lived her entire adult life in Iran, she married and Iranian doctor and raised a family while continuing to render medical advise and service to women.

Following her death the Iranian authorities began looking for a way to memorialize this beloved member of their community, and they found a historic and wonderful solution, they named a mountain after her "Mount Hellen." This monument has remained unchanged to this day and it begs an important question. Is it true to say that within the hearts and souls of the Iranian people there is a genuine desire for peace and friendship with their neighbors and indeed with America?

It would seem to me that Mount Hellen stands as a Beacon that could guide us to peace and harmony; however the road could be rocky and difficult and we will need leadership with a genuine desire for peace, and the nimbleness of intellect to achieve it, what do you think?

I have spent many years in a fruitless search for a formula that would achieve universal peace. This is not to say that any individual or group could ever implement such a formula. I believe that I am a part of a silent but ever increasing majority that yearns for the quiet and comfort of a world at peace. We are beginning to face the reality that these yearnings are merely dreams that are unlikely to come true in our lifetime. However, there is a glimmering of hope at the end of this long and dreadful tunnel.

I will cite a few examples where peace was achieved, not at the point of a gun but around a conference table. In the 1970's an obscure little country called Guyana (Former British Guyana) became involved in political conflict over territory with Venezuela who was much larger and well armed. Rhetoric was flying fast and furious across the airways and from both directions and troops were building up on both sides of the border. The situation worsened when sporadic fire was exchanged across the Barima River and war appeared to be eminent and inevitable. Doctor Eric Williams was at that time the Prime Minister of the twin Islands of Trinidad and Tobago and his timely intervention, which was supported by the Regional powers of America and England, prevented the catastrophe. An agreement called the "protocol of Port of Spain," guaranteed peace between the antagonists for thirty years. The time has come and passed, and peace prevails between Guyana and Venezuela.

We must move on and make a brief stop in Yugoslavia and the ethnic cleansing orchestrated by a vicious and stubborn Dictator Malosavich. He ignored stern warnings from America and the rest of the NATO alliance and military intervention was necessary to stop the carnage. Malosavich was eventually arrested and put on trial at the international court for crimes against humanity but he managed to die of a heart attack before facing the justice and outrage of the civilized world. My point, military intervention to achieve peace and prevent the slaughter of innocent men, women, and children is acceptable.

The Christians and Catholics of the Republic of Ireland were at war for many decades. The British were caught in the middle and all attempts to broker a peace were unsuccessful. In the meanwhile mayhem prevailed as the apposing sides rained death and destruction on the innocent men, women, and children of Belfast and the surrounding areas. A noted American politician of Irish decent visited the country and brokered a peace agreement that remains intact to this day, and I will add that following the cessation of hostilities Ireland has become a show piece of peace and prosperity.

The date is June 21st 2008 and the news is not good. The Israelis have stated that they will not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran, and war exercises were conducted by the Israelis as recently as June 16th/17th. Is it too late to reach an agreement and prevent another war 1? I hope not. Did I mention that Costa Rica does not have an army?

I will conclude by reminding you that trillions of dollars and millions of lives have been expended in pursuit of conflict within the last one hundred years. We must think of what we could have achieved if our human and material resources had been put to work for the benefit of mankind instead of war, war, and more war.
About the Author
Bernard Steele is a veteran law enforcement officer (operational and administrative), now retired. He was the former chief security officer of the National Banking System of Guyana S.A. To learn about his new book visit Death in Small Doses.
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