Thirty-two years-ago, as a young journalist, I went to the 40th Session of the United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) in New York City, New York, with great expectations that this international body I had long admired, would fix all of the world's problems - inequality, hunger, war and the environment, while establishing and sustaining world peace.
My coverage of the event for a small Caribbean Weekly newspaper in New York City were exerts of speeches by the likes of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and other state-leaders of the world. The debates and speeches I witnessed at the time, did not solve the world's problems. As a matter of fact, more conflicts and crises ensued in the following years.
Later, as I left journalism to pursue higher education, the book, The UN: A Dangerous Place, by Abraham Yeselson, made even more sense to me. That the dimension of polarization within the said body for peace inevitably leads to more conflicts, became an understandable argument and truth of fact.
Therefore, as debate at the 72nd UNGA starts tomorrow with slated speeches by Donald Trump and other world leaders, I am forced now to sadly accept that there there will no world peace next week or the following week, or the following month or year.
What is real is the fact that tens of millions of the world's people are displaced. Human rights are being violated on every continent. Conflicts abound in the East and are re-threatening again in Africa and in many other places. Moreover, a strong likelihood remains of a major conflict involving North Korea, which could involve the use of nuclear arms. The Rohingya people and many other communities remain stateless. Young able-bodied men continue to flee Africa as well as Syria, Libya and other states.
However, instead of debate, the UNGA could start a new path to peace and stability by establishing the ways and immediate means to end present conflicts and to prevent others from starting.
This year's UNGA theme: "Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet" must not just be recorded as a debate, but as a call and a concerted effort to effect beneficial change. The good people of Planet Earth have high expectations, but dwindling hopes, thus it is up our elected leaders to deliver upon the tenets of liberty, peace and happiness.