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Responses to terrorism. (Caux 2002).

The final conference of the summer focused on `Human security in a changing world'.

`Good governance and democracy play a big role in the elimination of hunger, poverty and insecurity,' said Osman Jama Ali, Deputy Prime Minister in the Transitional National Government of Somalia.

Jama Ali was a cabinet minister for 12 years in Siad Barre's regime, before seeking refuge in the West. `We made a lot of mistakes through ignorance, fear of the future or fear of losing position,' he said. `In many Third World countries, access to power means access to resources for personal benefit. Many people of my age have to accept that they have a share in the disasters that have overtaken our countries.'

`Human security is imperilled not by blind fate or natural disaster but through man's irresponsibility,' former Dutch ambassador Edy Korthals Altes said. Altes, an honorary president of the World Conference of Religions for Peace, condemned `strategic doctrines which envisage the actual use of military means for conflict resolution' and `simplistic notions of good and evil nations'.

The paradox, he continued, was that rising military expenditure led not to enhanced security but to greater insecurity. Security should be based on the premise, `If you want to avoid war, you must creatively and actively pursue policies leading to a just and durable peace'.

Lloyd Axworthy, Dean of the Liu Center for the Study of Global Affairs at the University of British Colombia, Canada, struck a similar note in his Caux Lecture. `We must apply the lessons, common sense and pragmatism of a human security approach,' said Axworthy, a former Foreign Minister of Canada. Military attack alone might `momentarily restrict the activities of terrorist organizations', but would at the same time `feed the anger, poverty and rhetoric which create and sustain terrorism'.

Terrorism could be diminished `by addressing the root causes: poverty, despair, disenfranchisement, religious fanaticism, and absence of effective and meaningful democracy'.

Axworthy, Jama Ali and Korthals-Altes took part in a three-day Political Round Table during the conference. Another of the participants, former US Republican Congressman Arlen Erdahl, also called for nonmilitary responses to terrorism. `Peace is not just the absence of war, but the absence of the conditions which spawn war,' said Erdahl. He regretted the US's `unfortunate mood to insulate and isolate ourselves from the rest of the world'. `We have a great responsibility not to go it alone, to work with others,' he concluded. `A responsibility to lead and share.'
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Publication:For A Change
Date:Oct 1, 2002
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