LAST week was remarkable. First there was what the Washington Post (March 23) headlined as “Sophisticated bombings in Brussels alarm intel officials.”
This was somewhat overshadowed by the long-awaited sentencing of Radovan Karadzic, the “Butcher of Bosnia”, convicted of murdering over 7,000 people and other crimes against humanity committed some 10 years ago in Bosnia.
A special UN court in The Hague ruled him accountable for the Srebrenica atrocities where the genocide of Bosnian Muslim men and boys were planned and executed.
According to Amnesty International it was “the most serious crime under international law carried out on European soil since the Second World War” by Europeans.
One notch below that of the Nazis.
Yet Karadzic arrogantly predicted: “My expectations are the same (as they always were). I know what I wanted, what I did, even what I dreamed of, and there is no reasonable court that would convict me.”
He was dead wrong! After a long trial over eight years, he was proven guilty of 10 of the 11 charges against him, including extermination, persecution, forcible transfer, terror and hostage taking in a UN “safe area” meekly manned by the Dutch peacemakers.
War criminals must not be allowed to strive on their exaggerated sense of self-adulation with the world keeping their eyes selectively shut.
The Criminalise War Club-Tun Suffian Foundation held the 1st International Symposium “Coalition of Younger Generation Say ‘No’ To War” in Putrajaya last week. It was well attended by young Japanese and Malaysians actively interacting with each other.
The timing could not have been better.
Approved by the Ministry of Education on Oct 19, 2012, the first Criminalise War Club was established by students of Kolej Tunku Kurshiah, a year later on April 11.
This was followed by Cempaka International School on Sept 25, and Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah on June 20, 2014.
The aim is to build a community led by the younger generation with the full knowledge, awareness and understanding of the effects of war, especially on women and children.
It strives to forge understanding and a sense of responsibility among the students to oppose wars and armed conflicts, to inculcate high moral values that war is a crime against humanity and global peace, to inspire compliance of school regulations and the laws of the nation, to formulate guidance to encourage students to carry out activities to promote peace and humanity, and to create a student community ready to accept its responsibility towards religion, people and the nation.
It is backed by the Criminalise War Clubs Charter that was oficially launched and endorsed on Nov 20, 2012 at Dewan Tun Dr Ismail, Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur.
The event saw a presentation by a Nagasaki bomb survivor, Sumiteru Taniguchi, who related the tragic experiences that he went through on Aug 9, 1945, three days after the first bombing in Hiroshima.
Over 200,000 people were killed in both atrocities. Karadzic’s horrendous crimes clearly pale in comparison.
Taniguchi on the 70th anniversary of the event last year had warned the Japanese prime minister that changes to the country’s pacifist constitution would lead Japan “back to the wartime period”.
This he reiterated saying it goes against the wishes of the survivors and it jeopardises the long-standing movement for nuclear abolition that is actively supported on many fronts.
He should know because his life is left literally scarred. He was thrown from his bicycle while delivering letters as a postman.
Being within a kilometre from the epicentre of the five-tonne plutonium bomb explosion, detonated 500 metres above him, his back was spilt apart.
Then he was just 16. Now frail at 87, his body is criss-crossed with deep scars. Since then he has not been able to fully straighten his left arm, while three of his ribs have rotted away following the attack and still press against his lungs, creating an unnaturally sunken chest.
To reduce the constant pain and irritation, his wife has to apply “moisturising cream” on his scars every morning. Still his resolve to work with the Nagasaki survivors’ group that he leads in the struggle against nuclear proliferation remains unabated.
The question that comes to mind is that if Karadzic, who “exterminated” some 7,000 civilians, could be charged and convicted by an international tribunal, should not the same force of international law apply to events that took the lives of tens of thousands of innocent victims in the most inhumane way.
Even though it is a posthumous gesture, it firmly anchors the case that wars and warmongers have no place in today’s civilised society as wars become a daily occurrence.
To effect this it is imperative to ultimately remove the “deadly playground” globally by criminalising all forms of war and its proponents.
With some four decades of experience in education locally and internationally, the writer believes that “another world is possible”.
Posted on 29 March 2016 – 08:04pm
Dzulkifli Abdul Razak