quotes An opportunity for peace at the UN

18 September 2023
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Updated 19 September 2023

An opportunity for peace at the UN

The world is in a challenging bind these days. Globally, we are suffering increased instability, injustice, conflict, climate-induced disasters and environmental degradation. We do not need to go over the potential consequences of the war in Ukraine or statistics on the devastation we have unleashed upon the oceans, the air and the diversity of living beings perishing at an unprecedented rate.

It seems the UN itself is breathing its last breath, powerless in trying to resolve the conflict in Ukraine and unable to hold the world’s attention long enough for nations to come together and finally make active commitments to protecting our environment.

We have reached a point where it seems that hope has been all but lost. This is, however, precisely the moment when humanity must find the power within to turn the situation around.

Saudi Arabia has served as a positive example these past months, looking toward the future by building hope at home and easing tensions in conflicts that many believed eternal. As a result, the Middle East has become a region of hope and bold change. US President Joe Biden seems to have taken a cue from this in his visit to Vietnam in the hopes of strengthening ties with the nation and sending a message to China that America does not intend to start a Cold War with it, but instead seeks to build stability and see everyone succeed. Too many forget that politics is not a zero-sum game. We all stand to gain by tackling the challenges in front of us, however daunting they may seem.

Let us show that, as humans, our capacity for love is greater than our capacity for hatred.

With the UN General Assembly being held this week in New York, there is a tremendous opportunity for congeniality and constructive meetings to spark hope. Every world leader has the opportunity to address the General Assembly by pointing the way toward action instead of pointing a finger in blame. Just imagine a UN that, against all expectations, again lives up to its name and brings people together, united in a common goal to achieve peace and sustain the environment that sustains us.

It is baffling to consider that we have brought ourselves to the brink of our own extinction, be it by devastating the environment or by allowing some madman to carry out a deadly science experiment of atomic proportions. To think that nuclear weapons could spread in a matter of decades to the smallest of countries or land in the hands of the most determined terrorists. It is a frightening thought that we must prevent at all costs.

Amid all the hatred and destruction, we have no option but to try to reduce the venom by carrying a banner of peace, hope and love. We must all strive to bring hope back to the UNGA and to every conflict we face, be it against others or against our environment. Let us show that, as humans, our capacity for love is greater than our capacity for hatred.

Hassan bin Youssef Yassin worked with Saudi petroleum ministers Abdullah Tariki and Ahmed Zaki Yamani from 1959 to 1967. He led the Saudi Information Office in Washington, D.C. from 1972 to 198, and served with the Arab League observer delegation to the UN from 1981 to 1983.