Drop your weapon!

How does a gun make you feel? Does the thought of holding a weapon frighten you, or empower you? Does watching a bomb explode, launch a cinematic style excitement within you, or does it make you tremble thinking of the greater impact that bomb has? Or are you completely apathetic to such symbols of death and devastation that acts like a disease to the advancement of humanity? We have after all grown up in a world.

Take a moment. Think. Feel. Empathise.

The past week, 24th-30th October, marked UN Disarmament Week. Or did you already know this? I didn't. It was only through following @UN on twitter, that I came to know that it was Disarmament Week (herein lies the beauty of social mediums).

On the whole, disarmament is focused on two increasingly worrying issues.

Weapons of Mass Destruction- WMD's are just one side to the grim coin that burdens our society. These include weapons of a nuclear, chemical and biological nature. Earlier this year, after the US released information that it held 5,113 warheads in its stockpile, William Hague revealed Britain had a stockpile of 225 that and it would not exceed that. This all came in a bid to be more open and frank with the public.

Hague told the Commons: "we believe that the time is now right to be more open about the weapons we hold. We judge that this will assist in building a climate of trust between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states and contribute therefore to future efforts to reduce the number of nuclear weapons worldwide."

So, in essence the nuclear states want to create trust, by being "open" with their nuclear capacity. Is this not just another way for such states to express their supposed supremacy over non-nuclear states? A war with nuclear weapons could never happen. With current capabilities it could cause the end of the earth. One warhead alone could instantly destroy and devastate lives. Even their very existence puts strain on diplomatic relations and creates more tension between nations not to mention acting as an economic encumbrance. And now our governments operate in fear of such weapons being used by terrorists or rogue nations.

And we live in fear.

The UN has made great progress with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. However although the UN are moving towards nuclear and general complete disarmament, that goal is a long way off. It has been reported that there are still 30,000-50,000 nuclear warheads, their potential physical damage is unimaginable and their damage on world relations is quite apparent.

Despite the best efforts of the UN, it can only do what nations allow them to do.

And in all honesty, that isn't much at the moment. Distrust between the nations is only exacerbating the problem as the UK and the U.S.A's own possession of nuclear weapons and our determination to upgrade them, yet still endeavour towards having greater trust, is being totally undermined when attempting to lecture countries like Iran and North Korea about their own nuclear ambitions.

The other and as equally dark and less distanced issue, is that of small arms, and in particular their availability to the average Joe, or more pertinently the average teenage Joe. It's one thing for governments to be playing around weapons, but a whole other ball game for our children to be exposed to such trappings of demolition.

The case of Omar Khadr, currently held at Guantanamo Bay, is especially sad. This week, he admitted to all five charges against him, including murder and supporting terrorism, after he threw a grenade aged 15, killing an American Soldier. He was 15. Eight, long and no doubt torturous, years later, he has matured and grown up in a Guantanamo jail cell. This is no life for any teenager. Whatever the situation, Omar Khadr was too young to be in a position of such close proximity to arms.

A poignant picture below shows adolescent boys, in a town called Rumbek, Sudan, walking away from the arms that they once operated as young child soldiers. Positive steps towards positive change.

In the last month alone, gun crime amongst teenagers has been widely reported in the media in and out of London. And this is not teenagers in war, fighting on a battlefield. These are children in our streets. From Mill Hill to Plaistow, young teenagers have been the players and unfortunate victims of gun crime. And it seems to be escalating. Furthermore, most of the cases that reach the media are those that involve deaths, but unreported are the days that many teenagers and families live fearful of gangs in their neighbourhood.

People need to feel safe in their communities, which in turn can allow for social and economic development and through this renew the idea of 'community'.

So which is to come first? Disarm our nations or disarm our children? As long as our governments feel the necessity to be armed in such large scale capacities, so will our children, and their children's children. We are becoming a world reliant on arms for 'protection'. But what about protecting one another from arms? Even the smallest gun can cause the greatest heart ache and pain.

Disarmament is the crucial component in securing a more stable community, nation and world. The idea of Disarmament Week is to raise awareness and call for a change in our attitude to weapons of any kind. It is also an outlet for us, to all put pressure on our governments to enact change and drop their weapons!

For whatever reason, a call to arms is not the answer and can only lead to greater setbacks to global unity. So put down your weapon, physical or psychological and share some love.

In the spirit of Restless Beings: LOVE, LIGHT and LOLLIPOPS to ALL


Mabrur Ahmed

dont you think the micro and macro levels of disarmament have different complexes at force?

09 November 2010 delete