Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Make Love, not War

Something good happened this year in the world of war. The Human Security Report 2005 has found that there are fewer deaths from war and fewer conflicts in the world than ever before. (Read the original report here). The end of the cold war and colonialism has eradicated the main drivers of armed conflict. And despite (or more accurately because of it)...fancier, more deadly weaponry, a lesser number of deaths can be attributed to them. According to the report, there are two kinds of wars that are fought around the globe--both of which lower overall causalties. 1). Wars that are are typically led by relatively small, ill-trained and poorly equipped armies that target civilians. While these tend to be more brutal, they also kill less people than larger more conventional wars. 2). Wars where a super power like the US attacks another country--these wars tend to be fast, and therefore also less deadly.

The report is worth reading. There has been very little press on it, especially in the US. In a lot of ways, it is a very de-politicized (if such a thing exists) accounting of the conflicts around the globe--a less noisy look at wars. For example, it counts India as one of the top five countries with the most "conflict years". Within this framework, Iraq falls dead last since conflict there has only been present for 4 years over the past decade.**[see note below] It is interesting to put in context, the Iraq and Israeli-Palestine conflicts that dominates so much of world news. Of course, the report's biggest strength, is also its strongest weakness. It misses the central, tragic point that governance in many post-colonial countries is woefully unstable even after 50 years of colonial absence. Also it seems to me, that negotiating world peace has fallen in the hands of disparate rebel groups and terrorists who now monopolize global conflicts. It's reminds me of that song lyric, "the grass is greener on the other side of this genocide" (I dont remember the artist). Call me a cynic. By the way, I felt like listing all the wars/conflicts (in alphabetical order) that are erupting around the world. So see below for this morbid list.

**this is one of many ways that data is presented in the report

Afghan War
Al-Aqsa Intifada (Israeli-Palestinian Conflict)
Algerian Civil War—(1992-Present)
Basque Separatist Conflict—(1958-Present)
Burma/ Myanmar Civil War—(1948-Present)
Burundi Civil War (1994-present)
Colombian Civil War—(1964-Present)
Congo: Second Congolese War(1998-Present)
Chechnya, Russia: Second Chechen War
Iraq-Coalition Conflict (1992-2003)
Israeli –Syrian Border Clashes
Ivory Coast Civil War—(Sept. 19, 2002-Present)
Kashmir Conflict 1991-Present
Liberian Civil War
Nepal Civil War—(Feb. 13, 1996- Present)
Northern Ireland Conflict—(1969-Present)
Philippines Conflicts
Rwandan Civil War—(1994-Present)
Sri Lankan Civil War—(1983-Present)
Sudanese Civil War—(1983-Present)
Ugandan Civil War
War on Terrorism—Officially beginning Oct. 7, 2001


Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:23 PM  
Blogger munkey t. cat said...

very interesting, but when has there ever not been conflict??

2:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when adam and eve lived in the garden of eden, and that snake-lovin' hoe' hadn't deceived all of mankind yet..

10:44 AM  
Blogger Foolish said...

Intersting. Here is wikepedia's definition of war and conflict.

War is a state of widespread conflict between states, organisations, or relatively large groups of people, which is characterised by the use of violent, physical force between combatants or upon civilians. Other terms for war, which often serve as euphemisms, include armed conflict, hostilities, and police action (see limitations on war below). War is contrasted with peace, which is usually defined as the absence of war.

Conflict is a state of opposition, disagreement or incompatability between two or more people or groups of people, which is sometimes characterised by physical violence. Military conflict between states may constitute war.

I wonder who categorizes these events as a War or Conflict? How much politics goes into making this decison. Who gets paid off/threatened /pressured in UN to categorize it a certain way?

Iraq-coalition is considered a conflict not a war. Where hundreds of U.S. and Iraqi service men die along with hundreds of innocent Iraqi civilians on a monthly basis. Also another intersting thing to note is that events in Afghanistan are classified as the "Afghan War". There is less people dying in Afghanistan than in Iraq. I know, it seems stupid doesn't it. But who is to argue with the leaders of the world. With their immense intellect, this may all make sense to them.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Sony Pony said...

well, with the UN report on the blog; they have a measurable definition of conflict and war based on the number of deaths/ per year. The list that I have is just something I compiled, that isn't necessarrilly "official". but I'm not sure they even have official designations; it's all a mess anyway. but I agree, politics is perception and perception is political

12:00 AM  

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