Not long ago, on June 2, 2005, the Maldivian parliament voted to allow multi-party democracy for the first time in the tiny atoll nation that has been ruled by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom since 1978. The parliament unanimously approved a resolution to allow political parties to seek recognition and contest elections, ending the no-party system in the nation. The motion was moved on the basis of a request from the President Gayoom, to review its earlier decision not to allow political parties in the country.
As per the UN High-Level Panel report on Threats, Challenges, and Changes, [titled ‘A more secure world: our shared responsibility’], two options were recommended for broadening the current representation of the UN Security Council. This was done primarily with the objective of providing geographical balance and changing power equations since the end of World War II and the creation of the United Nations.
Just as India is vying for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, Japan equally hopes for a larger role in the future of world affairs. Since Kofi Annan’s announcement in September 2004 of the possibility of increasing the permanent membership seats to nine from five, India and Japan, two of Asia’s powerhouses pressed for their recognition. Indeed, one is the second most populous nation and the other holds the second largest economy, it seems fitting for them to have a say in future world affairs.
The three-day visit of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the northeast, described as significant for the peace and development of the region, failed to rise above the morbidity of a political visit and in the end, left many discontented. Visit to Manipur and Assam, especially when both States stand at crossroads, was expected to galvanise a host of positive forces leading to a discontinuation in the phase of violence and agitation.
The history of the United Nations peacekeepers goes back to 1948, when 36 unarmed military observers went to supervise the Arab-Israeli war. Since then it has grown enormously for the cause of world peace, tranquility and larger benefit of humanity. The UN peacekeepers initiated as a task force working towards easing out the tension and prepare grounds for negotiated settlements, maintaining their impartial presence. There are 62,289 Military personnel and civilian police serving in 16 current peacekeeping operations as on 30 September 2004.
In recent times, war and violence are emerging in an unprecedented scale and engulfing societies across the globe. Its various manifestations in the forms of terrorism, war, ethnic conflict, crime, and domestic violence have considerably affected the human society. The younger generation, particularly the children are the worst sufferer of such mindless bloodletting. The armed conflicts in Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq have left thousands killed, maimed, orphaned, displaced from homes, separated from their families, and deprived from their basic right of education.
Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace, had once advised Jews who were struggling in Palestine, ‘to convert the Arab heart’ by offering Satyagraha in front of the Arabs and by offering themselves to be shot or thrown into the Dead Sea without raising a little finger against them’. Typically Gandhian, the advice was too idealistic to be practical for Jews and remained largely unheeded but it springs, as do all Gandhian ideals, from a deep belief in the power of truth and moral ascendance capable enough to unsettle any hardened oppressor.
History is full of ironies. If that was not the case, how else could one explain Ariel Sharon’s progression on a path, which is contrary to what he has come to symbolize all these years? Sharon remains one of the most hated figures in the collective memory of the Palestinians because his name is associated with almost every modern Palestinian national tragedy. Yet in the autumn of his illustrious career, Sharon is engaged in a struggle against his own Likud party on the issue of Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories, something truly sacrilegious in the rhetoric of Likud.