Thank you for taking the time to learn about these issues which are so urgent in the world right now. You may find at times that the information in the Reader will leave you feeling sad or angry that such atrocities occur in the world, but in the end I hope that it leaves you inspired and empowered. Inspired by the stories of individuals that have survived the worst of human conditions and empowered by knowing you have the power to make a difference. Confucius wrote, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and today you have taken that first step.
The topic of small arms and light weapons is a complex and heavily debated issue. Every country has its own unique gun culture or the way they feel towards small arms and weapons. This can make international discussion about any sort of arms trade treaty difficult and slow. Right now the United Nations is in the process of drafting a new Small Arms Treaty. Countries in conflict and those in post-conflict situations tend to push for stronger arms control because they see first hand the destruction that can be caused with relatively simple weapons.
Unfortunately, because these weapons are so simple, small, and easy to operate, they have become a key tool used by individuals, gangs, rebels, military, and terrorist groups to control others. Small arms and light weapons are often bought legally in one country and trafficked, along with people and narcotics, with surprising ease, across international boarders and sold to almost anyone, even children. When large supplies of small arms enter an area with long standing cultural, political, and/or religious tensions, the result can be devastating. Small arms and light weapons give a group the ability to overpower and control a frightened and unarmed civilian population, thereby threatening human security. Just as the trade of small arms and weapons does not respect international borders, neither does the conflict it creates.
Thank you again for taking the time to learn about these issues. Awareness is key, and if you have been inspired by anything you read here, I encourage you to share with those around you, because you have the power to make a difference.
Brittany Keegan, Connections Academy
WorldLink 2010 Summer Intern