“He who seeks peace should prepare for war” wrote Roman scholar Vegetius during the latter part of the Roman Empire.
Though most would argue the phrase alone is somewhat simplistic, it is nevertheless true that the number one priority of any democratically elected government is the protection and wellbeing of its citizens. This simple concept has been evident among communities across the globe throughout history, recorded in the most ancient of documents.
However, in the current global community, where the boundaries of nation states seem to blur as communication systems and faster modes of travel allow us to access the world at a whim, there seems to be a growing temptation for our leaders to lose focus on the practical on-ground defence of our nation and those who serve abroad in our name.
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Prime Minister Julia Gillard can use her trip to India this week to undo the damage she has done to the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
Until the December 2011 Labor National Conference, the government maintained Australia’s long-standing position of banning uranium sales to countries that refuse to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NPT is the central pillar of the global nuclear regime − it commits nuclear weapons states to pursue disarmament and other countries to refrain from building weapons.
Kevin Rudd explained the previous position: “No-one in Australia wants a nuclear arms race aided by us in the Indian sub-continent or between India and China because we’ve failed to properly ensure the upholding of the NPT and the [International Atomic Energy Agency] safeguards regime under it.”
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It’s an awesome concept – a probe sent from Earth into the Milky Way with messages of peace for any alien life that may be encountered outside our solar system.
We sent them love songs and concertos and messages of peace as a demonstration of humanity. We sent them a demonstration of humanity at its highest – our moments of brilliance, of unity and of selflessness.
Last week, the Voyager celebrated its 35th anniversary of its launch to explore Saturn and Jupiter. Now, it is at the cusp of our solar system, on the brink of exiting the celestial realm that we are familiar with and launching into interstellar territory.
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Many Australians believe that China is a threat to our way of life. Once you have lived here you find this to be most unlikely.
In this China Watch article I hope to describe the Chinese people’s love of community, friends and especially family. In so doing, I will give three reasons to dispel the fears of those Australians.
Family is most important to the Chinese people. I never understood the Cantonese insult “Puc Gai”, roughly translated as “fall down in the street” or “die in the street”, until I attended my father in law’s passing and the following funeral.
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Imagine you spent hundreds of years dreaming about and then building your dream home in a promised land. Then imagine that this dream materialised into none other than the house of God on earth, a land flowing with milk and honey.
Now imagine there was a terrible tyrant who exiled you and your entire people from that land. After being in exile for 2000 years, a situation arose where it became possible for you to return.
As you see your beautiful home, which evokes a deep memory of your ancestor’s connection to a holy land, you notice that someone else lives there now. They have developed their own stories and connections to the land and its olive groves, rolling hills and pristine springs. What should you do?
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Dr Gill Hicks is the Australian-born founder of London-based not-for-profit M.A.D for Peace, and a motivational speaker, author, curator, and trustee for several cultural organisations. She began her career as a speaker in the wake of the 2005 London bombings: Hicks was the last living victim rescued. Both her legs were amputated below the knee, and her injuries were so severe that she was initially not expected to live. She was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital without an identity - she was labelled only as ‘One Unknown’.
Q. What do you think is the biggest threat to peace within Australia?
A. The greatest threat to peace within any country, in my opinion, is division, identity, fear and ignorance.
As we witnessed with the London bombings of 2005, those responsible were not from other lands, the threat was not external – but internal – the four bombers were raised and schooled within the UK – they were British citizens.
Peace, I believe, does need to be defined before we can discuss firstly what it is, and how we achieve it. The core of the work within my not-for-profit organisation, M.A.D. for Peace, focuses on the responsibility of the individual to create an environment in which he/she has choice in every word and action – ensuring that those words and actions are positive and/or constructive. We believe that peace is within – and that peace starts with you.
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One can’t help but compare the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to that of a cat with nine lives.
They seem to die over and over again with no resolution, but how long until their luck runs out, the blood boils over and the Gaza region breaks out in all out war.
Since the establishment of the state of Israel, crisis points have come and gone and the populations of Jewish and Palestinian peoples have found no peace. Unfortunately this time will be no different.
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