The War Machine
Winston Churchill said that “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Children of the world are growing up in war torn countries and are being deprived of a solid education. They grow up knowing only violence and the only education they receive is war machine propaganda. Being force fed misinformation and not having access to an honest education results in the children propagating this war culture and continuing a vicious cycle. Recognizing this problem obligates every educated person to find a solution.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (or UNESCO) is spearheading the movement for improving education in third world countries that are being ravaged by war and terrorism. In their article published to Time Magazine, “Education is the Key to Breaking the Cycle of Violence”, UNESCO Representatives discuss some of the issues: children receiving minimal grade school education, children subjected to violence, teacher abductions, and children kidnapped into militia. They estimate the number of children exposed to this violence is 40% of the 1.5 billion people living in these conditions (Whitaker& Bokova 1). UNESCO believes that by finding a way to bring them an education, this generation of youth can be pulled out of the cycle of violence and learn to promote peace globally. By educating this lost generation, they would be given the tools to pull themselves out of poverty and ignorance to become leaders within their own countries. To address the issue, UNESCO is trying to get all third world countries’ governments active in this pursuit. They are asking that they endorse the Safe Schools Declaration, so that they can protect schools and universities from being used as war camps. With a current $2.3 billion funding gap that is 10x larger than the aid currently being provided, they also propose that a new fund is started to help get this initiative off the ground.
UNESCO recognizes one of the world’s largest humanitarian issues at hand today. They recognize that fighting fire with fire has failed and that education must become the water to smother the fire of terror and violence that has become widespread and has set the world ablaze. Only with the help of other first world educated countries will the children be able to be provided with the support needed to start addressing this issue.
UNESCO has fabricated a starting outline to provide the framework for rebuilding the whole of civilization. Those of us living in first world countries may find that this cycle of violence doesn’t affect us, and that we shouldn’t take resources from the hands of our own citizens to help another country. On the contrary though, many acts of terrorism have branched off from these very same countries and have been imposed against us as well. Think back to tragedies such as 9/11 and other global terrorism acts such as those of ISIS. These are the products of poverty, lack of education and governmental and religious propaganda.
It’s impossible turn on a television or pick up a phone for news without hearing about ISIS. This is one of the groups that is on the forefront of the humanitarian issue. In order to dismantle such groups, first world countries must unite to take away their recruits by providing a proper education and maintaining their safety. UNESCO asks that countries come together to have a plan in place by 2030. This is too long to wait. An education fund needs to get started right away. At the next World Summit, the discussion needs to happen to impose a new tariff on all trades around the world and all the funds would go directly into a Global Education Protection Reserve. If this generation of kids is allowed to grow up in the same environment, then we are doomed with another generation of violence. If we can start with this generation, then we can help cure the world of the tragedies that we face on an all too familiar basis.
Funding for education is sadly only half the battle. If we don’t have further infrastructure in place to protect this education, then this too could collapse. The hardest part of the equation is the necessity of military around the schools to protect them from further harm. This would call for a United Nations Army that could patrol the countries schools while the first couple of generations of kids are allowed to graduate and start initiatives from within the country itself to no longer rely on support from outside sources.
These are simply the ideas from one man at one given moment. While they do hold weight and could provide a plan moving forward if we had the voice of every concerned citizen weighing in, then we could construct a more efficient plan. One that would hold true and could be implemented much quicker than UNESCO’s 2030 timeline. With a concerted effort from everyone around the globe we can provide hope not just for the children of the war machine, but hope for ourselves to see a day with less violence and more peace.
© 2016 Zachary J Ward