Franklin Roosevelt’s idea

by Odimegwu Onwumere

Two brothers were often seen fighting in the neighbourhood to the chagrin of Dad. They were not respecting their dignities. They welcomed violence and rejected peace, worth, manners, and admiration for life, and the neighbourhood.  Dad had to call them for talks someday.

“Do you know what the United Nations (UN) means?” he asked them, but they responded on the contrary.

As I sat with them in the parlour, Dad told us that UN was established in 1945, during the Second World War. He told us that it was perceivable that the fear of fighting another World War might had been the major compelling factor for a man like Franklin Roosevelt to commence with the UN idea, intended to create an avenue for countries to engage in dialogue first, and desist from the temptation to take up arms against each other when provoked.

To make his point, he also told us of the devastating World Wars and that the UN had so far managed to avoid another World War. He stood up and walked up to the boys, touched their shoulders, and lamented: “I still remember the deaths of almost a million people in the gruesome Rwandan genocide of 1994, as well as the wars in Somalia, Darfur, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire, the Biafra-Nigeria war, the Second Congo War and, some other crises across the continent of Africa and, indeed, the world at large.”

In Dad’s judgment, the brothers should form an alliance like Roosevelt’s, which invariably had seen to no World War III. He sermonised that there would be no progress in the absence of peace. He also sermonized that nothing good could come out of tinkering and bickering order than annihilation and suffering. There could not be a better way to counsel us the youth order than Dad’s way.

As if we were not assimilating his references, he hit us again with the peace that never existed with terrorists since they attacked the United States of America on a September 11 that saw twin towers in the country to rubbles. He fired us over-again with the salvo of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attack, which nearly extinguished Japan. As if that was not enough, Dad recalled the Berlin Wall in Germany, the Biafra/Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali wars…

“I want you the youth to have an agreement like The Peace of Paris (1783),” he said. “Do you know what that means?”

“Perpendicularly no,” was the response.

“It brought to an end the American Revolutionary War. America, Great Britain, France and Spain signed treaties.”

After I listened to Dad make those words some years back and the brothers left the house thanking him and never had to fight again but lived in harmony, had I come to understand that if peace is maintained among individuals, the family, village and the country will be at peace. I realised that the world needed more preachers of peace than they need preachers of religion.

Dad was a diplomat like the Indian Mahatma Gandhi who walked the souls of millions of Indians with his peaceful preachments for their liberation. Dad’s approach to reconciling the brothers without any cynical measures reminded me that if the countries of the world could approach each other like Dad did and understand each other like the brothers understood Dad, the world would be free of all the unnecessary rancours that had characterised it.

Poverty, racial and religious jealousy would be sent on an errand and people would live with each other in harmony.

What was perceived as Roosevelt’s paramount preconceived-notion, which was that with the creation of the UN, the tendency of US, perhaps, losing in balance again as was the case in the 1930s, could be avoided, Dad brokered peace which I have seen provides opportunity for people to relate devoid of creed, race or religion. I’ve come to know and, as well, been telling people that with peace, friendliness and co-existence, the world is second to none.

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