In the name of God.
Express gratitude to God for the opportunity to attend and hold this important conference titled "International Conference on Peace and Conflict Resolution” at this important period of time, with the honorable guests of the Islamic Republic of Iran and sixteen other countries along with the Chancellor of Tehran University. I prepared the slides in English for my non-Iranian friends and will deliver my speech in Persian. First, I will explain globalization era, the relationship among peace at regional, national and global levels, and a theory on peace and conflict that is the result of an approach, theorian peace and conflict for all
, which we have developed at University of Tehran.
There are three fundamental questions:
- Why peace and conflict studies are important for each individual in the world and in different societies, whether small or large in the form of ethnicities, groups and nationalities, and even in different regions of the world?
- Why peace and conflict at the national and international level is a very important problem and probably one of the most important issues in today's world? And
- Why the challenges of peace and conflict are vital for all societies and basic human rights?
First of all, let me say that peace is one of the basic needs of humans, similar to the need for happiness, security and peaceful sleep. One must sleep at night with peace and not being worried about any incident, similar to the need for a healthy life.
Moreover, emancipating oneself from selfishness and believing in the transcendental concept of monotheism and deism makes human beings an elegant creature respected by all.
Peace is one of the rights that a person needs for personal, social and national independence and relief. People want their national independence to be secured, both as an individual and a citizen, and they oppose any domination over them. Peace is one of the basic needs like food, water, medicine and security for society without which everything in life will be missing. We may enjoy the best food or have the most powerful citizen systems, but we may face the threat of war that makes all this work against us. The next point is that peace and conflict are multidimensional issues and multidisciplinary topics. Therefore, we need to consider their different aspects including Sociological, communicational, intrapersonal, interpersonal, intergroup, intercultural, anthropological, and economic interconnections. When conflicts grow, they turn into big wars. We cannot pursue peace if we fail to regard globally structured hegemonistic systems. We live in the era of globalization which means that the world is more interconnected. We do not live in a globalized world and no single globalization is taking place in the world. Rather, there are multiple globalizations in the world. The system of domination tries to impose one unified globalization on the economic, political and cultural systems, but the fact is that all nations have assets and civilizations that have global value; they have religious values that have a global message; they have cultures and traditions that have followers around the world. According to Berg, we are not facing a single globalization. Many have attempted to monopolize globalization and have interpreted globalization as equal to Americanization. Today, we cannot say that something happened in a certain neighborhood in Africa; we cannot say that some issue has arisen today in Nigeria and so on. All these are happening in a globalized world. When this globalized world emerges, all issues become global ones.
We live in a world that is more interconnected than ever. First, the basis of this new globalization is the phenomenon of trans-localization. Issues entering human life, simultaneously connect it to the trans-local ones. So trans-localization has become a part of our lives. If something happens in this part of the world, it emerges elsewhere thousands kilometers away from here. We live in a world where 4 billion people are connected to cyberspace and the internet. Thus we are integrated into one space and this integrated space should not be dominated by a certain power the same as happened to physical space. Since American large companies like Google have connected the world to themselves, they have become so powerful that possess all media, information, books and various virtual assets. We live in a world where new international institutes have unfortunately come under American control. The US is seeking a new restructuring through international institutions such as GATT, NAFTA, etc. Today, financial sanctions can be imposed due to fact that the financial system is under the control of American economic and banking systems which impose unilateral penalties on different countries. These are the results of American multi-agent system. Thus, we live in a globalized, interconnected and multi-agent world that faces with big international challenges and conflicts. When we talk about peace, we should not simply describe it as opposite of conflict. It has a much broader scope. We face with policies of global domination that have also created economic, political, and cultural structures that can develop institutional conflicts and challenges in the world. If we cannot shake such system up, there is no hope to change the course of the world by simply holding a number of peace workshops. Changing the course of the world and actually solving the problem of peace, which is a global institutional conflict, requires changing the structures. There are 12,000 nuclear warheads in the world 7,000 of which are possessed by the US which means that they have risk for the world. What happens if they get crazy, the cold winter comes based on Russian scientists' theory. If all these 12,000 nukes are activated simultaneously, the Earth's temperature will drop to minus 50 degrees and a gray hail of bomb dust will cover the world, killing all creatures. This risk exists in the world. The Americans accuse other countries of making nuclear warheads, while they own 7,000 nukes and threaten the world by making an insecurity and uncertainty.
If we define war in military warfare and do not consider economic war as a real war, then pacifist organizations and associations put their efforts into war and terror without paying attention to economic warfare. Imposing sanctions on a country – sixteen countries were put under sanctioned by the US during the last two decades – is an inhumane action that violates the basic rights of the people around the world and is a punishment for nations. It weakens the family's economy and reduces the value of the national currency.
There are two main objectives for the sanctions:
1.devaluation of the national currency and
2.devaluation of GDP, both forcing the countries into crisis.
As a person who reviews the documentations, I must say that Iran is the most powerful country to resist sanctions during the past 40 years. Our people protect themselves and build the capacities necessary to revitalize and reinforce domestic production.
World War II resulted in the death of about one hundred million people. We understand well the bitterness of the war. We have seen the cries of our children in the departure of their martyred fathers. We have felt the devastation of chemical warfare in Iranian Kurdistan, and south and west of Iran. We still see negative effects of chemical warfare in the later generations of the Iranian war. We sympathize with the Japanese for losing around 300,000 people by the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
When United Nations Bill of Rights was signed by countries in 1945, people hoped the war would end. The United Nations was established as the World Peace Management Organization. But today UN has lost its effective functions. It was certainly an efficient organization before, but when the UN Security Council was established within the UN, it faced a crisis and its resolutions were vetoed. After World War II 157 wars occurred, resulting in the deaths of many people. In post-war Iraq, about 600,000 children died due to the sanctions on medicine which are not accounted in the statistics of casualties. The consequences of the war have been very heartbreaking. America has been directly involved in the war in these years. Therefore, the US government is not qualified to speak about human rights. Human rights are also used as excuses for war. This is well illustrated in the World Armies Budget Statistics. The world's military budget is around US $ 1.7 trillion which does not include defense army budget but only the army.
The US has doubled its defense budget compared to 2006. The US defense budget is around US$ 1 trillion. Why the world lacks rationality to live a peaceful life. We believed that development means the development of rationality. In my opinion, the development of rationality has happened to the people. We see the legacy of the elite and the rationality of people in the future and today as they control the potentiality of war. However, the governments tend to start wars because they have not observed the conflict of interest. American politicians must follow the theory of war because they own military companies.
What should we do? What to do First and foremost depends on the scientific theories by the universities around the world. In the US, 40 percent of the population opposes the war policies used against the people. Environmental campaigns focus on protecting the environment, which includes human beings, animals and plants. Anti-war campaigns are biggest campaigns in the world. These are signs of the development of rationality. We need to do more in-depth studies and find more practical solutions. One of the approaches to the peace is the theory of integrated view to peace. This theory says that several aspects should be considered. That is, we put peace in the face of a conflict that arises from a cultural conflict. With respect to the worldview and in cognitive domains, we cannot hope for peace in the world unless local and global culture chooses peace instead of revenge. So, one approach is to strengthen the cognitive domain. We must enhance the international community's understanding of to the value of peace.
We must always keep in mind the grief and distress of the families of the martyrs and the scenes of bombings that kill our loved ones. We have to strive for turning these anti-human values into human and divine values.
The second point is the theory we are working on and we hope it will become a global academic discourse. When one tries to bring peace to one place, but not in other places, peace will not be achieved. Today's conflict and peace is a phenomenon that spreads throughout the world if it involves even one person. Logic of Quran says that if you revive, respect, and support one person, it is like respecting all the people of the world, and if you ignore, kill, and isolate someone, it is as if you have left all the people of the world alone. Contamination law is a definitive law today, and it has been proven for the environment; destruction of a part of environment causes the destruction of other parts. We, the human society, are one of the most important ecosystems in the world. Human beings are the creatures above others. If one person becomes lonely, others will also feel lonely. We should be aware that when we threaten someone and speak in a violent language, it comes back to us first and foremost. Hence, this theory pursues the concept of conflict for all and peace for all and tries to resolve conflict and bring peace for peace for all. So moving towards this theory requires rules that are the basis of my speech.
We want to find a solution for global conflicts that can turn into terror and war if not resolved. If we constantly promote Islamophobia in the world, war occurs in places like New Zealand where there was definitely no possibility of war. If we connect 11 September to the Muslims while doubtfully it is related to bin Laden of Saudi Arabia, we actually spread threat conflict everywhere. If it happens in New Zealand, it may also happen in Switzerland. Because we've strive for violence. The fear of others is among the phenomena which are the main sources of conflict in the world. These are happening because we have depicted others as being frightful and devalued other nations and religions. So we have to find a global solution to this problem.
There is no doubt that the effects of peace associations and knowledge about peace in the world are very important, and we must develop these associations as well as the peace knowledge. They are very efficient and we will also hold peace workshops in this conference. We have over 350 domestic and more than 50 international articles on this subject. So this is a very good solution. We insist on spreading the idea of peace fostering peace culture in the world. However, we have to adopt fundamental solutions to not only change worldviews and culture, but also have four more features that I will address.
The first is the recognition of all the people of the world. The first step is recognizing the nation and if we fail to take the first step properly, we are in fact not taking the step towards global citizenship. With respect to the international conflicts, the first step is recognizing nations.
The second feature is recognition of the rights of people and the rights of the nation-state. Those who speak of government and nation look for a domination system and those who seek a unified system of domination, wish for a unipolar dominance with different languages, which are the root of conflict.
The third feature is to exchange the positions. There is affection in such exchange. There is a very wise statement of Imam Ali (AS) which he says to one of the governors, Malik al-Ashtar: "fill your heart with the love for the people". The first effect of love and is the understanding of others. If there is no affection for others and if we classify humans, then we will get no understanding. Imam Ali says Malik: "these people are either your companions or your fellowmen." It means that human has dignity. They are important regardless of nationality and position.
The last feature is to forget the inefficient idea of global domination which follows the theory of nationalism. It states that I have the right to the extent I have the power; I can scorn others due to my economic power. We must change the individual's thought. People must rise against the domination system and thought so that we can come to an appropriate solution for international conflicts.