Peace cannot exist without security. As we seek to foster peace and prosperity in even the poorest of nations, we cannot ignore the deterrents which make stability so difficult to achieve – the threats to human security around the world. Human trafficking, the drug trade, gangs, terrorism, and small arms violence continue to mar our efforts at stability, and, as we learned in editing the WorldLink Reader, are by no means confined to the developing world. Though poverty often hinders the effectiveness of justice systems, it does not serve as a border or restrain these crimes to poor nations.
As we edited the Reader and researched Crimes Without Borders: Threats to Human Security, we became aware of the shocking scale of violence and organized crime. We came to understand the many challenges involved in the distribution of justice, and learned the surprising degree to which these crimes go unseen. It is no wonder that global efforts at peace face such long odds – we cannot hope for peace if we are unaware of the factors which obstruct it. The drug trade is one of the most lucrative markets in the world, many gangs have greater control over their countries than their governments do, and the United States of America is a popular destination country for human trafficking. But this information is widely ignored, and the crimes continue to grow. This is why we are so glad you have taken the steps to educate yourself and make use of the WorldLink Reader.
We hope that as you immerse yourself in the Reader, you feel indignant. We hope you feel anger that these threats to human security are allowed to exist. Most importantly, we hope that you feel moved to action. In the words of the old African proverb, “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” Our goal in the Reader, and in all WorldLink events, is to galvanize you to become part of the solution. Educate your community, demand action of your government, and never watch in silence as crimes are committed.
We commend you for broadening your awareness of global affairs, and we sincerely hope that your experience with WorldLink is only the beginning of your participation in efforts to foster global peace and security. The crimes you will learn about in this year’s Reader are unacceptable, and any anger you feel at the circumstances which allow them to exist is entirely justified. But we urge you not to simply feel anger. Become part of the solution. We urge you to act.
Katie Athis, Academy of Our Lady of Peace, and Elena Bellaart, Patrick Henry High School
WorldLink 2010 Fall and 2011 Spring Interns