Do we really believe in world leaders who choose peace over war?
Peace as we understand it signifies weakness, lack of will, and not asserting one’s might and superiority.
A leader who chooses to make peace and invests heavily in education, healthcare, and overall development is not considered as powerful as a leader who invests heavily in expanding the nation’s military strength and exerts tight control over citizens.
A leader who manages to stifle and heavily censure the media, opposition, activists and the judiciary is considered more powerful than a leader whose leadership makes space for criticism, dissent, and protests.
A leader who promotes secular values and furthers religious tolerance is considered weaker than a leader who ensures religious homogeneity at all costs.
The list goes on, but the point is this: until our idea of strength doesn’t change, our idea of power won’t change. Until our idea of power doesn’t change, violence won’t stop.
The interrelationship between strength, power, and violence goes back for thousands of years. While these notions may have served our forefathers, they certainly no longer serve us. The only way to break out of these shackles and progress is by each of us individually and as a society re-examining our notions of strength and power, and the interplay between strength, power, and violence.
The question one may ask is how re-examining our notions would impact society or our country at large. The correlation is strikingly linear and direct. The moment we begin to re-examine our notions of strength, the people we will want to see occupying positions of power and give our vote to will drastically change. The leaders now making decisions for us will be more empathetic, tolerant, secular, and development-oriented. Our leaders will no longer be propagating hatred, bigotry, and investing large amounts of public money in mindless violence and wars.
It is imperative for each of us to individually and as a society re-examine our notions so that we can create a space for true leaders to emerge who will guide us toward a society that reflects our highest values and highest selves.