What Good Is The United Nations? – Part Two

thinkingTime to put on our thinking caps. Time to search for values and principles that the whole of humanity can embrace. Time to work tirelessly so, at least, our great-grandchildren can have some measure of peace and tranquillity.

Sure, you could avoid thinking hard about these issues but, in my experience, if things weren’t going well and I avoided the effort of critical thought, things got immeasurably worse.

Also, this quote from the last post should lend tremendous power to the effort of thought leading to action:
“The great peace long envisioned by the peoples and nations of the world is well within our grasp.”

In the last post, we looked at some of the immensely critical issues testing the effectiveness of the United Nations—the continuing subjugation of women and girls, neglect of cultural and religious minorities, unbridled nationalism, massive refugee flows, narrow economic agendas exalting material prosperity, and the growing importance of the role of religion in discussions of global crises.

How in the world can all these things be resolved in time to avoid a global meltdown?

There is no longer any rational doubt about what can provide the power to make all the changes we must make—The Principle of Oneness—the awareness that we are All  in the same boat and we must include All  in the bailing out process…

If you think you don’t have to be involved or that other people have the job of resolving these issues, you’re ignoring one of the most basic laws of the universe: Everything Is Interconnected.

There are certain important areas of change the United Nations is involved in and some they need to bring to greater urgency in their agendas.

The following points of focus come from the Study Guide to the Bahá’í International Community’s 2005 statement to the UN.

“…at what point is it morally legitimate and necessary for the international community to intervene in the affairs of sovereign states? In 2001, in response to this question, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty defined
sovereignty not only as an inviolable right (as it had been previously understood) but as a ‘responsibility to protect (its citizens).’ In a historic move during the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly member states, after much debate, endorsed this new understanding of sovereignty.”

“For many years, the level of ‘development’ of a nation was assessed primarily by its Gross National Product (GNP), its GNP per capita and other commodity-based indicators. In 1990, under the leadership of Mahbub ul Haq (former minister of finance of Pakistan) and Amartya Sen (Nobel prize winning economist from India) —the UN released its first annual Human Development Report stating that ‘people are the real wealth of a nation.’” Read the report.

“Several factors have contributed to the near complete rejection of religion in concepts of international relations.”

“In [David Held’s] book, Democracy and the Global Order, he states that the ‘future has to be conceived in cosmopolitan terms’ which include a set of global institutions shaped by democratic law and which act as a ‘government’ by implementing and enforcing that law. Citing philosopher Immanuel Kant, Held states that ‘cosmopolitan law’ is not a utopian way of thinking about law, but rather a ‘necessary complement’ to the existing code of national and international law and a ‘means to transform the latter into the public law of humanity’.”

Former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, introduced a major report that “took a comprehensive approach – stressing the interdependence of development, freedom, and peace and emphasizing human solidarity as the basis for effective and sustainable solutions to global challenges.”

“As the number of countries with significant minority populations grows, states face the challenge of devising policies to effectively govern increasingly diverse ethnic, religious, and linguistic populations.” Read the report, Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World.

This is only a representative offering of the super-critical issues facing not only the United Nations but each of us as World Citizens. Will we, through lack of initiative and action, let our world implode on itself?

Spiritual Quote:

“It is my hope that this standard of the oneness of the world of humanity may be upraised with the utmost solidity so that the Orient and Occident may become perfectly reconciled and attain complete intercommunication, the hearts of the East and West become united and attracted, real union become unveiled, the light of guidance shine, divine effulgences be seen day by day so that the world of humanity may find complete tranquillity, the eternal happiness of man become evident and the hearts of the people of the world be as mirrors in which the rays of the Sun of Reality may be reflected. Consequently, it is my request that you should strive so that the light of reality may shine and the everlasting felicity of the world of man become apparent.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 12

Please leave your thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

You can also explore and discuss the ideas of this post at
Our Evolution‘s Forums.

Make It Easy !
Get a Free RSS or Email Subscription
For FREE Subscriptions to our monthly newsletter just send us an email at amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com

What Good Is The United Nations? – Part One

United Nations
Does the United Nations actually help in our crisis-laden world?

Can they actually do anything that counts—anything that addresses humanity’s ills and facilitates solutions?

From Forbes: A Real Election Choice On The United Nations “U.N. reforms proclaimed with fanfare in recent years have fizzled.”

From the New York Times: U.N. Blocked From Pulling Workers Out of Congo “…the peacekeeping troops were overstretched in trying to protect the civilian population, which is caught in the middle of vicious fighting between a rebel group and the Congolese Army.”

From The Hindu: Give developing nations a say in financial crisis talks “A day before the United Nations meets to discuss its taskforce on the global financial crisis, ActionAid, along with more than 400 civil society organisations across the world, has issued a statement demanding that developing nations be included in crisis talks.”

This post will present some of the most pressing international concerns as discussed in a major document presented to the United Nations on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of its founding in 2005. It was presented by the Bahá’í International Community, a Non-Governmental Organization registered with the UN. The document is called The Search for Values in an Age of Transition. It is not casual reading and there’s also a detailed Study Guide to help understand the issues and solutions it provides.

I’ll give you the essence of the issues dealt with in this post and the solutions they present in the next post.

One of the most powerful statements in this document is: “The great peace long envisioned by the peoples and nations of the world is well within our grasp.”

Quite a statement, eh? How in the world can an organization make such a statement when we have issues like these to deal with:

“The advancement of men and boys at the expense of women and girls has sorely limited the creative and material capacities of communities to develop and address their problems…”

“…the neglect of cultural and religious minorities has intensified ancient prejudices setting peoples and nations against one another…”

“…an unbridled nationalism has trampled the rights and opportunities of citizens in other nations…”

“…weak states have erupted in conflict, lawlessness, and massive refugee flows…”

“…narrow economic agendas exalting material prosperity have often suffocated the social and moral development required for the equitable and beneficent use of wealth.”

One of the most stunning issues brought up for consideration is the growing importance of the role of religion in discussions of global crises:

“The existing debate about religion in the public sphere, however, has been driven by the voices and actions of extreme proponents on both sides—those who impose their religious ideology by force, whose most visible expression is terrorism—and those who deny any place for expressions of faith or belief in the public sphere. Yet neither extreme is representative of the majority of humankind and neither promotes a sustainable peace.”

Here are a few more snips from the first part of the document:

“…the question of values must take a central place in deliberations, be articulated and made explicit.”

“…the search for shared values—beyond the clash of extremes—is paramount for effective action.”

“…we can no longer be content with a passive tolerance of each other’s worldviews; what is required is an active search for those common values and moral principles which will lift up the condition of every woman, man, and child, regardless of race, class, religion or political opinion.”

This is, no doubt, a challenging document but these are, certainly, challenging times.

You may also be interested in my post, Sweet Words Are Crying Out for Potent Action, one of the most popular posts on this blog, which has the text of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In the next post, we’ll look at some of the changes proposed for the United Nations, to transform it into the global peace-promoting organization it was created to be.

Spiritual Quote:

“No social body, whatever its form, has power to maintain essential human rights for persons who have repudiated their moral obligation and abandoned the divine endowment distinguishing man from beast. Civil definitions of political and economic status, if devoid of moral value and influence, are not equivalent to essential human rights but express the expedients of partisan policy. An ordered society can only be maintained by moral beings.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1947 Feb, A Bahá’í Declaration of Human Obligations and Rights, Presented to the first session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Please leave your thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

You can also explore and discuss the ideas of this post at
Our Evolution‘s Forums.

Make It Easy !
Get a Free RSS or Email Subscription
For FREE Subscriptions to our monthly newsletter just send us an email at amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com

Peace Through Music

musicI’m working on a couple posts about the United Nations and whether it’s effective in bringing the contending nations of the world together. They should be done in a day or so but I wanted to immediately share a marvelous musical experience that my friend Robin Easton shared with me.

It took ten years to make the video and involved traveling to many different countries. There are about 100 musicians all playing or singing the song, Stand by Me.

The fact that these people were separated by many physical miles didn’t stop them from coming close together to create a wondrous (and rockin’) rendition of the song.

So, sit back, crank up the sound, and indulge yourself in a musical peace fest!

Spiritual Quote:

“The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord. If you meet those of different race and colour from yourself, do not mistrust them and withdraw yourself into your shell of conventionality, but rather be glad and show them kindness. Think of them as different coloured roses growing in the beautiful garden of humanity, and rejoice to be among them.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 53

Please leave your thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

You can also explore and discuss the ideas of this post at
Our Evolution‘s Forums.

Make It Easy !
Get a Free RSS or Email Subscription
For FREE Subscriptions to our monthly newsletter just send us an email at amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com

Mother Earth Is Crying

pollution

What will it take for the leaders, political and corporate, to stop killing the very environment they use to make their profits?

From IC Publications, News from Africa: West Africa’s coastline redrawn by climate change: experts

From the Canberra Times: Adjusting for climate change a shared task

From Agence France-Presse: ‘Clock ticking’ on global warming: UN climate chief

One barrier to resolving this crisis is the highly fractured nature of our world community. There are, taking an opinionated survey, a few leaders of countries, some members of legislative bodies, a larger group of leaders and lobbyists for corporations, a number of representatives to global institutions, many leaders of religious communities, a few very rich people, and The Rest of Us . . .

Most of those groups are at-odds with each other.

Most people are struggling to just get along—making ends meet—dealing with depressive tendencies . . .

Many of our fellow family members in the world community are being treated like expendable non-entities!

Here are some personal responses, from Orion Magazine, to this crisis:

Storm’s Coming
Six Authors Respond to Climate Change

Recently Orion asked six authors to describe what the changing climate is doing to them personally–how it is affecting their hearts and souls. Here’s what they had to say:

A Quartet by Gretel Ehrlich

Anticipating Our Future by Jared Duval

Seeing Paradise by Jay Griffiths

The Source of Hope by Peter Sawtell

The Inner Climate by Pico Iyer

The Moral Climate by Carl Safina

The solution is not easy. The resolution of disunity is The major challenge facing humanity.

Today’s Spiritual Quote:

“Our efforts now and in the future to safeguard our common habitat and to promote the well-being and development of all peoples must be characterized by a unified approach within an effective universal framework. The unity we envision is more than an academic matter of geography, climatology or oceanography. It is based on the concept of the fundamental unity of mankind living as one world community, in which the problems of economic relations and the use of natural resources must be addressed from a global perspective with due regard for the wide diversity of climates and cultures. The universal framework proposed by Bahá’u’lláh over one hundred years ago calls for universally agreed-upon and enforceable laws, the equitable sharing of resources, fundamental adjustments to present institutional and economic relations, and world-wide changes in the values, behavior, and consumption patterns of individuals and communities.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1990 Aug 06, Environment Development

Please leave your thoughts and feelings in the Comments.
Let’s have a conversation !

Like this Blog?
Get a Free RSS Subscription
For Email Subscriptions, Contact Me At amzolt{at}gmail{dot}com