English Africa Service – Vatican City
Marie Dennis, a member of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative executive committee and senior advisor to Pax Christi International’s secretary-general hopes that the COVI-19 pandemic will help the world recognise the critical need for a transformative shift away from violence.
According to Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, the impact of the pandemic is universally felt as it crosses political, geographic, economic, social, religious and cultural boundaries, powerfully illustrating the reality of global interdependence and calling into question basic assumptions about security and the politics of fear and division.
Spending on weapons robs the world of resources
“Spending hundreds of billions of dollars annually on weapons and preparations for war has not given us the tools to address a global pandemic. In fact, military spending steals resources from providing for healthy, resilient communities across the country and around the world that can slow the spread of disease and more quickly recover from serious threats like the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marie Dennis in a reflection.
Dennis underlines that “the coronavirus does not respect political borders, physical barriers or cultural differences. Responding effectively to transnational threats requires respectful global cooperation to promote the well-being of the whole earth community rather than xenophobia and nationalism.”
COVID-19 affecting vulnerable communities the most
Dennis has also called for the recognition that those who live on the margins, exposed by war and forced displacement, poverty and environmental disruption, are the most vulnerable to the pandemic’s ravages. The violences of economic injustice and ecological devastation are intensified by this global crisis. Catholic Nonviolence Initiative holds the view that national and international priorities must, therefore, be shaped by and meet the needs of the most vulnerable communities.
A new understanding of security
“This time of crisis is urgently calling for a new understanding of security that is based on diplomacy, dialogue, reciprocity and a multilateral, collaborative approach to solving very real and critical global problems. Nationalism and unilateralism undercut the cooperation necessary for addressing disease, including COVID-19 and Ebola, as well as climate change, hunger and poverty, resource depletion, war, the forced displacement of millions of people, terrorism, weapons proliferation and other threats that transcend national boundaries,” emphasises Dennis.
Catholic Nonviolence Initiative calls for authentic security in which the whole earth community can thrive and emerge in a spirit of global solidarity rooted in nonviolence.