ON the eve of today's United Nations Alliance of Civilisations summit in Majorca, Archbishop Desmond Tutu warned the Bulletin that the world is sliding into chaos and the West's hard-line economic and foreign policies are not going to achieve world peace. The 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner is one of 18 special UN commissioners attending the inaugural meeting of the Alliance which was recently created by the Spanish government to combat Islamist terrorism by bringing together Christian and Muslim nations. Tutu said in Majorca yesterday that he has high hopes and aspirations for the Alliance, but he does not share the same level of expectations for world peace being achieved by the way the West is throwing its weight around. What I hope is that, through the Alliance, we can help people realise that we are not living in a bi-polar world with everyone concentrating on the West versus, or vica versa, the Arab and Muslim world. There is a significant amount of human suffering of all kinds in many other places, it should not be just about the conflict between the West and extreme Islamic elements. There are bombs going off in Delhi and Bali and many countries with other civilisations and faiths in danger. Firstly, we need to have a truly global perspective of what is happening, the Archbishop said in an interview yesterday. Secondly, we need to recognise that there are very few faiths, none that I know of, which sanction crime and the abuse of women and children. There are minority factions and hard liners which do need to be oppressed but we have to be very careful not to categorise faiths because of their very worst elements. As Christians, we can be a bit arrogant as we pontificate about other faiths, but we must remember that Christianity caused the Holocaust and Apartheid and the troubles in N. Ireland but the Christian community would not want to be categorised by those actions or judged on the actions of the Ku Klux Klan or Oklahoma bomber in North America. Not all Muslims are bad people, in the same way neither all Christians are, Tutu said, before adding that the way the West is treating the Arab and Muslim world is creating resentment. It is being too heavy-handed and people on both sides are starting to realise that what the West is trying to enforce on the Arab word is unfavourable to them. We need to have a more equitable world community, there needs to be more social and economic justice, otherwise the West is just playing marbles and it will not win the war on terrorism. There is growing resentment amongst the American people towards George Bush. There is growing resentment towards Bush in Latin America, Argentina most recently for example, once a part of the world prepared to embrace US economic values. They don't want the United States riding rough-shod any more, they have their own aspirations and more and more countries are not endorsing the United States. The President does not have a carte blanche to do what he wants and his countrymen are starting to realise that, hence his ratings are plummeting.
The Americans have had enough of losing so many of their own people in Iraq and the same can be said in Britain where a family is prepared to take Tony Blair to court over the death of their son in Iraq. They want to know why Iraq was invaded. I said long before the invasion took place that the inspectors should have been given more time and that, in the event of military action being taken, it had to be done with a United Nations sanction. The mere fact that the United States had to persuade the security council suggests that neither the American government was 100 percent convinced of its reasons nor did it have the legitimate authority. Why the need for persuasion? I hope that one day politicians realise that they are not infallible and that they can make amends. That one day they learn to apologise, that they get up and admit that they made a mistake. Bush and Blair are working their way round it by saying ok we found no weapons of mass destruction but we removed a dictator', but that doesn't really wash because what about Burma, China and N. Korea. We're talking about regime change and that again is a very dangerous line to follow - what's going to happen if India decides there should be regime change in Pakistan? They're setting a dangerous example. The world is sliding into chaos and we need a rehabilitated United Nations, Archbishop Tutu told the Bulletin yesterday. Bush and Blair owe the international community an apology...
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