Panel on Politics, Nation-States and Militarism
Presenters: Padma Rao, Phongjarat Ruayram, Sirote Klampaiboon
Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, third founding president of Soka Gakkai International writes, “No matter how great the divide between our ideals and reality may be, there is no need to give up hope or accept this. Instead, the ordinary citizens of the world need to come together to create a new reality. The prohibitions on land mines and cluster weapons that have been realised in recent years are the fruit of such solidarity.”
- Role of Military:
- Long Term
- Abolish armies.
- All foreign forces to withdraw immediately from sovereign soil.
- Use military expenditure in other sectors.
- Short Term
- Engage with army personnel at local, community level. Identify with army personnel at human level (e.g., He is Thai. He is someone’s son, father and nephew).
- Use dialogue to change perception.
- Convert army tactics of turning community members against each other to tactics of trust, friendship, and inclusiveness.
- Set up events where soldier is engaged as human without uniform i.e. joint student camps like Prem Tinnasulanon’s ‘Statesman’ programs with Mahidol University .
- Rights of Civilians:
- Connect local Human Rights for civilians to International UN standards. Empower local communities with means of enforcing their rights and fighting against false charges imposed on them.
- Abuse of state power during emergencies must be monitored and controlled (i.e. watchdog organisations consisting of local community members, military personnel, young, old, outsiders, etc).
- Speak Up Not Out:
- Encourage awareness in a multi-faceted way (all viewpoints) and discuss in every local forum (family, neighbourhood, community) under rules of respect for all views without censure.
- Individuals to use all forums of media and influence to exercise soft power of protest against force i.e. talk shows, peace yatras, etc.
- Empower Humanitarian Assistance:
- All neutral personnel in conflict areas i.e. Doctors, NGO personnel, etc. to be trained in dialogue skills, conflict area psychology and used for actively fostering cooperation between military and civilians instead of being instruments of the military.
- Empower Individuals, Local Communities:
- Strengthen community unity.
- Use existing local institutions such as women’s groups, schools, community and religious centres to build togetherness irrespective of diversity.