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Namibia must choose Peace

Namibia must choose Peace

Chris Jacobie

Peace is in a world of turmoil: there are those who want to create the impression that the four horses of the apocalypse, conquest, war, famine and death, are racing towards Armageddon and now is the time to choose sides that must divide the planet into East and West.

Namibians, including the private sector, government agencies, regulators and civil society will have to brace themselves and stand shoulder to shoulder as they did when in 1989 they voted the country free and silenced the guns to usher in the longest continuous peace in the nations recorded history.

So . . . spare a thought for those students that returned home after experiencing more war in ten days than most Namibians ever have or ever will experience. They went through hell and deserve every empathy and support.

Just as the Ovaherero and Nama descendants deserve empathy and healing for a war that took place 114 years ago. Today they are divided, traumatized and fragmented political factions on a never-ending road searching for peace and unity that they find difficult to discover amongst themselves.

Namibia, as a product of international dialogue between East and West, The Frontline States, the South African apartheid government and Cuba after many bloody battles and two world wars in between, surely knows the cost of the folly of a world that then took sides. Battling soldiers fought to the last bullet.

The search for peace by those that are privileged by peace is the only remedy.

Days before the 32nd Namibian Independence celebrations, it will serve all Namibians well to remember that the nation is experiencing its longest period of uninterrupted peace in recorded history.

Independence, freedom and peace are team sport which does not come without injuries. Shortly after Independence, the infamous failed assassination plots and a coup d’état of a group of friends was unravelled and the then ringleader faced the law and spent time in jail.

Namibia also successfully warded off the doomed Caprivi-rebellion with its ringleader fleeing the country, being in exile in Denmark while his followers spent more than a decade in a Botswana refugee camp.

This onslaught on peace only seems small now that it was successfully suppressed by the authorities, but at the time it cast the ugly shadow of suspicion amongst the different people of the country against each other.

The brutality and lasting effects of war cannot be better illustrated than the ongoing genocide debate 114 years after the Ovaherero/Nama and German wars to which all sides admit complicity and seek remedy for both the victors and the vanquished.

Namibians don’t need more motivation than their own bloody history to always give only peace a chance.

Choosing sides hardens warriors on both sides. There is no better example than Namibia where both sides were prepared to fight to the last man, including Cubans and Angolan soldiers in the trenches.

Namibian Independence and the Constitution is a contract amongst the citizens to use their democratic tools, freedom of the press and tolerance to understand why war is senseless and solves nothing.

The facts are that every war in the history of mankind ended in peace.

Maintaining the peace, however, is a harder battle and requires self-sacrifice and building trust. Wars that cannot be prevented can be ended by peace. Of that, there is no doubt.

Unlike the saying that everything is fair in love and war, there is nothing fair about war. Sadly, heroism is often confused with desperation to stay alive.

Namibians should know that better than most, because they themselves are or know the survivors of many battles.

The reasons for the obligation of every Namibian towards peace are many.

It is somewhat annoying to see those who choose sides and put warring factions against each other, doing it from the safety of their Namibian homes.

Peace is so entrenched that it is taken for granted, forgetting that it arms Namibians against storms that would have torn other societies apart.

Namibia has the pedigree, the obligation and the international credibility to promote peace and national unity anywhere in a conflicting world where silent guns for an hour spare lives on all sides.

Peace is a team sport and it is up to Namibians to promote every opportunity to attain and maintain peace in the furthest corners of the world.

If a small door is open for dialogue when bullets and bombs are flying it is the door of the Namibian house.

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