Friday, August 18, 2006

The Deficiency of UNSC Resolution 1701

People of conscience, good will, and humane sensibilities stood aghast to see our race drawn into full scale war lasting over a month in July and August of this year! The excruciatingly slow to write and pass UNSC Resolution 1701 is insular in its premise, cosmetic in its intention, and fragile in its design. It is built on self-interest, namely the very cause of conflict now adorned in the raiment of peace. This deceit notwithstanding, we still desperately hope that its provisions succeed at least to hold back any further outbreak of hostilities at such unthinkable levels of destruction and death. We are grateful to sincere peace seekers in the UN and elsewhere who gave their days and nights desperately searching for ways to end military aggression.

The United Nations remains an indispensable institution at present as it is the only established forum for conversation at a formal level among representatives of nations. Nevertheless UNSC Resolution 1701 is deficient in two important aspects. The resolution is myopic and shortsighted as a document primarily in that it that fails to incorporate the spiritual aspects of human life on equal status and footing with our physical, social, and political aspects. Further it lacks applicability in rigorous ways as it treats human life as transpiring only within the institutions of the individual and the state while fully overlooking key and dominant units of social organization, most especially the family, and also the tribe. Finally the document, like all UN work at present is anachronistic insofar as it fails to rise to the present reality in which human existence functions as a transnational social reality, not the clunky, militarized nation states of the 19th century.

The outbreak of war between Israel and Hezbollah derives from spiritual, religious, historical, cultural, social, political, economic, and military causes. The negative condition that results in the outbreak of war is enmity, not water, not religion, not blue lines nor green lines. It is enmity. Enmity has distinct manifestations in each of the causal factors just listed. From among these causal factors listed above those that most naturally disesteem enmity are the spiritual, the religious, and the economic; the spiritual more purely, the religious more tentatively, and the economic more cynically. The spiritual intuits unequivocally that true freedom is possible only in the absence of enmity. The religious has explicit admonitions against indulging in actions that extend enmity, but also as political institutions fully employ enmity when parochial avarice overtakes its representatives. The economic preference for positive conditions for trade is offset by those whose profits derive from war. Thus profit as a motive for cooperation is always for sale.

The 33 days war through which we have just been dragged sadly has been done, at least in part under the banner of so-called “religion.” Thus a facile call for the intervention and investment of religious leaders in the peacemaking effort is not easily digested by serious minded parties, observers, and by war victims. The religious world itself must be analyzed and its peace elements identified, strengthened, and supported. This is the unequivocal starting point for even a remote possibility for enduring peace. Until some international body takes this understanding deadly seriously, shunning all seduction for symbolism, cheap fixes, and gimmicks no peace is on our horizon. A serious, repentant, skilled, community of leaders willing to truly commit to a long term investment of personnel and resources in a program that recognizes the lifeline between the spiritual and the religious as the starting point for Godly human relations on all levels of social organization is the only chance we have for peace. Without that, let us simply rebuild our roads, replenish our hospital supplies, and keep our fingers crossed that nobody’s uncle is getting too too rich in so doing.

Frank Kaufmann is the Executive Director of the Inter Religious Federation for World Peace