A Look at Peace in 2010
2010 has come to an end, and as we enter a new decade, we’re looking back at incidences and examples of peace and tolerance around the world in which groups and individuals began to better understand and respect each other and hopefully went a little further on the road towards common ground.
Following months of negotiations, US President Obama and Russian President Medvedev find common ground in their goals to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons. On April 8th, these world leaders signed the “New START” treaty in an effort towards global nuclear disarmament.
Thirty-eight years after the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings of civil rights activists in Northern Ireland, Britain accepts responsibility and absolves the victims of any wrongdoing. Upon reading the Bloody Sunday Report, British Prime Minister, David Cameron, admitted that the killings were “unjustified and unjustifiable” and issued a long awaited apology.
Following international pressure, Cuba announced plans on July 7th to release the remaining group of fifty-two political prisoners from the original seventy-five who were arrested in 2003 for their opposition to the government. Cuba also promised to improve the medical care available to those prisoners.
Because of its racist Apartheid policies, South Africa was banned for years from numerous international competitions. This year South Africa won the bid to host the world’s largest sporting competition, The World Cup. The first African nation to do so, South Africa’s cup unified the nation across color lines and energized the entire continent.
In August, Kenya adopted a progressive, new constitution, supporting equality among all citizens. The new constitution has expanded the distribution of power and created a citizens’ Bill of Rights.
Seven years later and thousands of lives lost, President Obama officially declared the end of America’s combat mission in Iraq on August 31. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Malikiq emphasized intentions to move forward as a sovereign nation to create a new government for the citizens of Iraq.
Serbian President Boris Tadic expressed an overdue apology as well as his regret for the 1991 Croatian Massacre on November 4th. Croatian President Ivo Josipovic welcomed the gesture and both leaders hope to reconcile tensions for a peaceful, cooperative future. Serbian President Tadic also visited Bosnia to express his condolences earlier this year.
Following a violent period leading up to voting day, Guinea hosted its first free election on November 9th, since gaining independence from France. Fortunately, in a country were corruption has been rampant, the Guinea elections went smoothly.
Former Nobel Peace Prize recipient and advocate for democracy and human rights, Burmese Aung San Suu Kyi was released from prison on November 14th. Imprisoned for nearly twenty years, Suu Kyi is described as a “hero” and an “inspiration” by world leaders.
While serving his eleven year sentence for subversion to the Chinese government, peace advocate Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia in December. Recognized for his commitment to nonviolence and human rights, Xiaobo represents hope for many Chinese citizens.