It was once said; if you think Education is expensive, try ignorance. During our peace dialogue last week with the Peace Messengers, it was a point of contention but it was equally mentioned that if you think peace is expensive, try war.
At Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia, we have come to recognize that not sufficient attention is given to peace initiative and that the price we pay for peacemaking, peacebuilding and peace consolidation is a token compared to the price we pay for war. We further discussed that the price for peace programmes cannot and should not be measured only by the amount of money spent on peacebuilding but should include the opportunity cost.
The United Nations spent an estimated 7 billion dollars on its peace keeping operations in about 33 locations across the globe, this amount goes up when you included to over one billion dollars disbursed for the prevention and control of Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa. These funds pale in comparison to the amount of money spent on the Gulf war, Syria and others.
The funds disbursed in a year for war by super powers and arms producing countries is exponentially higher than what is spent in one decade to resolve conflict.
It is our view that the discriminatory policies against peace building programmes have lead to a large extends the escalating conflict situations across our universe. As you’re aware, this is not abating.
When one compares the amount of funds allocated by the UN to peacekeeping operations in Europe, Middle East and Asia with the funds allocated to peacekeeping operations in Africa, one is aghast by the level of discrimination as this defies logic. The difference in budgetary allocation is clear and huge. In most of these countries, the UN is not in a rush to disengage as more time and resources are readily available to build and consolidate peace.
In the words of Drake Bael of DePaul University, “People who perceive themselves as having low status are more violent than people who are high status” Similarly, nations that have low socio-economic status are more likely to be violent, hence the reasons for failed socio-political systems in failed states like Somalia, Sudan, Libya and soon to be-Syria.
Besides the discriminatory policies and the disproportion in the allocation of resources, there are discrepancies in the implementation of peacebuilding initiatives at both International and national levels. On one hand the hidden cost of peacebuilding takes its toll on anticipated outcomes and on the other hand, perpetuators of conflicts are most often the primary beneficiaries of the loots as well as funds established to build peace.
Back home to Liberia, we need to educate our children through the stories and information we provide them with on peace building initiatives and how we overcame EVD. The primary beneficiaries of any peace initiative are our children.
Support the “Ebola Educates” Campaign in kind through your stories or with your generous cash donation.
Until next week, when we come to you with another article on: “Ebola Educates- The Price of Peacebuilding –Part two”, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.