July 1, 2000
By Solomon Belay
Addis Ababa - Last time I wrote of the need for some spiritual qualities from those who aspire to assume office. This time I would like to give a suggestion which may help them as a framework principle in their undertakings. The suggestion is not solely for the consumption of the elected, it is also for the electors.
The leader and the led are parts of the whole, so it is hardly possible to treat them singly. From a small barber shop to a big college, we have various entities named after unity.
Those behind the naming decisions might have the conviction that if ever one word exists which holds the key to the solution of the rampant problems afflicting the world, it is unity. Whatever the motive for its coining, the word unity seems to have become a fashion.
I will try to give few comments on world unity, whether it is achievable and its implications for present day society. We should endeavour to understand unity in terms of the next stage in the evolution of mankind.
It is something you can't avoid. It is the result of the impulses of an organic process that takes place within the body of mankind.
The question is how to embrace it like a young man embracing the challenges of adult life. Shaghi Effendi, who was the Guardian of the Bahai Faith from 1921-1957, elucidated this fact so eloquently as follows; "Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human society is now approaching.
Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving.
Nation-building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax.
A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once and for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life." As it can be discerned from the above statement, world unity ('globalization') is at home. The question is what features will it assume? Will it be one of justice and fairness or will it be one of injustice and iniquity? Will it protect the diversity of its parts or will it melt down everything into a uniform blur? All individuals, most particularly political leaders, are midwives who help in the delivery of this 'new life' stirring in the womb of the world.
The conscious choice of accepting willingly the unity of the world alleviates the pain ensuing the delivery. Our capacity to exploit the situation for our common good depends on our realization of this process and the extent of our activities toward nurturing it.
Whoever the organizer (originator) of the scene is or whatever mode the transition from nationalism to world federationism may take, everyone on this planet has a role to play. We all have a voice in the melody of this millennial evolution.
The unreserved acceptance of the following principles and their applications has a significant positive influence on the process and for a birth of a united, fair and just world with a touch of a new order;
1. The elimination of all sorts of prejudice, whether it be colour, race, religion, sex, class or education.
2. Education for all. If parents can't give it for their children the government and the society have to give it.
If education for all is difficult, the girl child has to get priority as she is the first teacher to her children 3. Equal right for both sexes
4. The reorientation of existing curriculums. Too much emphasis on the scientific/materialistic aspect should be shifted to a more balanced curriculum encompassing both the material and spiritual aspects of mankind.
5. A radical change in the economic thinking.
The limiting of economic principles into a mere question of supply and demand has to change and has to be lined with the upholding of the oneness of mankind, "Don't ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."
6. The right to access information so that truth can be investigated independently.
7. Defining the intersection between national sovereignty and international government.
8. The need to adopt international auxiliary language, currency etc.
All the above principles and many more, which can be elaborated further, seek whole- hearted acceptance and practicing them at all levels. Of course some of them are painful to exercise and may also incur sacrifice.
but they are worth paying. We can no more postpone the agenda of world unity.
There is an urgent need to understand and incorporate these principles in our daily undertakings. If we are to insist on our outworn ideas stubbornly, there and then we will have the lashes of war, terrorism, riot, corruption chastising everybody and clearing forcefully the way to those same principles rejected once.
The United Nations Organization is one living testimony for human endeavour prompted by the lessons of World War I and II. The UN is like a new born babe.
We all know its 'bones' are not strong. However, we should console ourselves in the fact that all the chaos and frustrations in the world and the experiments will at last lead to the restructuring of the UN and help it grow to assume its God-given destiny.
©Copyright 2000, The Monitor - Addis Ababa