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Give Peace A Chance!

November 26, 2010

While criticism against North Korea mounts regarding the exchange of artillery fires between the divided Koreas, Hirofumi Kono, a member of a Japanese NGO Sloth Club, sent the following message to the organization’s electronic mailing list on Nov. 25.

“The day before yesterday, the news of artillery firing in the Korean Peninsula came to me as a surprise. Although it has not yet gone into an all-out war and the combat itself has calmed down, I feel very frightened as the situation, if left alone, seems to be headed right into a Second Korean War. Furthermore, I am concerned that the Korean Peninsula may become the second victim of nuclear weapons as their use is conceivable.

Despite such a situation, responses of governments of South Korea, Japan, and the United States, among others, have been inflammatory, single-mindedly accusing North Korea as “evil”. Dosing so will only help to escalate the situation, and THAT needs to be criticized. Even if the attack by the North Korean military was a “savage act”, instead of preparing for a war, what is needed now is to seek a peaceful solution through negotiations without relaying on military force.

Those who suffer first from a war are not the military leaders but soldiers who are deployed into the combat zones and the local civilians. Especially in the case of North Korea, many of the soldiers have likely joined the military out of desperation of living in poverty. I think there won’t be many who will willingly head to the battlefields.

The public opinion appears simplistic in only accusing North Korea, and many opinions I’ve heard appeared as if people want a war, saying “Squash them with force!” These people could say such a thing because they don’t even imagine what happens if their towns become battlefields or nuclear weapons are used on them. That is clearly immoral and needs to be reconsidered.

Furthermore, I hear that the Japanese government is going to impose economic sanctions against North Korea, but such a response also needs to be criticized. Economic sanctions also hurt the civilians and the poor. And, in the end of it all, North Korea may still decide to go to war, just as Japan did in the past during the World War II.

We need to continue raising our voices at every opportunity we get, and I sincerely hope that you will do so in your own ways.”

Mr. Kono was not alone in this as the Sloth Club members positively responded to his message, and here we share his message with you. How about giving peace a chance?


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