Cease the Echoes of Strife: Resolving 2024 and the Conflicts of our Time

Resolving 2024 and the Conflicts of our TimeSince the passing of Lord Krishna, there have been more than 5000 wars on Earth. Homo Sapiens were not born for conflict; we have the immortal soul within us, which beckons to peace within. Transliterating Gandhi, when there is peace in the heart, there will be peace in the home; when there is peace in the home, there will be peace in the society. What, then, are the steps nations need to take to bring Peace on Earth?

The World Enshrouded by Conflict: A Sobering Reality

In our contemporary world, a sobering reality confronts us—over 110 armed conflicts pervade our global landscape. Some seize the international spotlight, influencing decisions within the UN Security Council, evident in the tumultuous regions of Gaza and Ukraine. Simultaneously, others linger on the fringes of global discourse, either partially acknowledged or entirely overlooked, as seen in Sudan, Ethiopia, Myanmar, and Yemen. The duration of these conflicts spans from recent developments to enduring struggles that surpass the five-decade mark. The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights underscores the gravity of these situations, emphasising that any form of armed violence falling within the definition of an armed conflict is subject to meticulous examination under international humanitarian law.

As we stand on the threshold of a new year, this article does not set out to intricately dissect the countless armed conflicts or attempt the precarious task of foreseeing their resolutions. Rather, its essence lies in posing a poignant question relevant to the collective resolutions often made as the clock strikes midnight: Why, as individuals fated to share our existence, do we permit these conflicts to persist within our collective gaze? Where lies our moral obligation in the midst of such pervasive turmoil? In the spirit of a new year and the common resolutions shared by people around the world, we embark on an exploration of these questions, hoping to unearth the collective responsibility we bear in fostering a global environment where the endurance of armed conflicts is neither tolerated nor allowed to persist.

War Condemned: A Universal Rejection Across Religious Traditions

War has been universally condemned across various religions, echoing the shared ethos of peace and harmony. In Christianity, the teachings of Jesus Christ advocate for turning the other cheek and embracing a path of non-violence. The Bible’s profound words, such as “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9), emphasise the Christian commitment to promoting peace over conflict. Islam, too, stands firm in its condemnation of unjust aggression, with the Quran explicitly stating, “And if they incline to peace, then incline to it and rely upon Allah” (Quran 8:61). Within the Jewish tradition, the Talmud underscores the sanctity of life and the pursuit of peace as exemplified by the concept of “Shalom.” Reflecting on the universal truth that there is no “good war” but rather a collective aspiration for “good peace,” notable figures such as Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein have asserted the futility of violence in resolving conflicts. Franklin’s wisdom, “There never was a good war or a bad peace,” resonates across time, emphasising the enduring value of pursuing peaceful resolutions over the devastating toll of war.’


Symbols of World Religions

Rethinking War’s Foundations: Unravelling the Complexities Beyond Just War Theory

The rationale behind countries going to war has been argued to hinge on a perceived balance of benefits over disadvantages, rooted in economic, religious, and political considerations. Some wars are ignited by simple mistakes, such as the inadvertent assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that triggered World War I, while others emerge in the aftermath of brutal terrorist attacks. In rare circumstances, the imperative to defend arises when all diplomatic avenues have been exhausted, emphasising the importance of self-preservation and safeguarding against imminent threats. However, a critical perspective emerges when considering the post-World War II establishment of the United Nations (UN) with a primary mission to maintain international peace and security. The United Nations’ foundational purpose inherently challenges the theoretical justification of any war, emphasising the commitment to peaceful resolutions and diplomacy. Despite the Just War Theory’s principles articulated by St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, contemporary armed conflicts often appear as extensions of political, economic, and religious disputes. These conflicts, by their nature, defy justifiability, as the pursuit of justice becomes entangled in the complex web of intertwined interests. The difficulty, if not impossibility, of deeming any war as just theoretically underscores the ongoing challenge of aligning the lofty ideals of international institutions with the harsh realities of geopolitical complexities.


Resolving 2024 and the conflicts of our time

Citizen Advocacy: A Pivotal Role in Halting War and Ensuring Sustainability

As global citizens, whether residing in Melbourne, Abuja, Pyongyang, Vancouver, London, or Dubai, our imperative lies in fortifying the United Nations, transcending its current image of a seemingly toothless and nail-less lion to become a formidable force for international peace and security. Article 1 of the UN Charter articulates a mission to “maintain international peace and security” through peaceful means, prioritising the prevention and removal of threats to global harmony. Recognising war as the most profound squandering of human and natural resources, our collective focus should extend beyond outlawing weapons to rendering the production of weapons both illegal and financially unviable. Collaborative efforts among citizens, serving as advocates for peace and sustainable development, are pivotal in curbing war and its preparations, ensuring the protection of both humanity and the Earth. Together, we must labour towards dismantling the structural violence ingrained in the nation-state system, addressing economic, political, technological, and social factors that perpetuate inequalities and oppression. By fulfilling human and environmental needs, rights, and duties, and championing a unified global law to replace the anarchy between nation-states, we lay the foundation for world peace and sustainable coexistence.

Catalysing Change: A Call to Action Amidst the Immeasurable Cost of Bearing Witness to Loss

The cost of conflict is immeasurable, paid not by those who order it from far but by those who bear the weight of loss. The sorrow of war is not confined to those who lose their lives; it lingers in the silent longing of a wife for her beloved husband and in the heartache of children yearning for their absent father, echoing far beyond the hollow handshake of leaders that concludes a conflict born of the initially avoidable. As millions perish and tens of millions suffer from its impact the obligation to usher in peace rests upon our collective shoulders. Tragically, the road to war often requires but a single fool and one finger on a trigger and regrettably, the path to peace demands the wisdom of many and the collaboration of countless hands.

Religions for Peace

As we stand at the threshold of a new year, let us reflect on our shared humanity and declare with unwavering resolve: it is our responsibility to halt the destructive forces of war. Let the dawn of this new year mark a solemn commitment to be the architects of peace, to defy the simplicity of conflict with the complexity of understanding, and to affirm that in unity, we possess the power to reshape our world. May this be our shared resolution—to forge a legacy of peace for those who wait, and for generations yet unborn.

In conclusion, let us reflect on the profound verses of Langston Hughes, encapsulating the dream of a world without war. As we grapple with the echoes of conflict, let this poignant reminder guide our collective resolution to be architects of peace, transforming the waiting into a legacy of tranquillity for generations yet unborn:

I Dream of Peace
I dream a world where man
No other man will scorn,
Where love will bless the earth
And peace its paths adorn
I dream a world where all
Will know sweet freedom’s way,
Where greed no longer saps the soul
Nor avarice blights our day.



Resolving 2024 and the Conflicts of our Time

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. “Today’s Armed Conflicts.” Accessed 30 December 2023, https://geneva-academy.ch/galleries/today-s-armed-conflicts.
Gallup, David. “How Do We Stop War?” World Citizen Government. June 26, 2021. [Link: https://worldcitizengov.org/2021/06/26/how-do-we-stop-war/]
The Wars Will End and the Leaders Will Shake Hands.” Goodreads, [Link: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/11615596-the-wars-will-end-and-the-leaders-will-shake-hands]


Image Credits: 李磊瑜伽 / Pixabay, Daniel Kirsch / Pixabay, Gert Altmann / Pixabay