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Conflict, greed spell doom for human race

September 16, 2005

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ISLAMABAD, Sept 15: There is no hope for the survival of the human race because it is not likely to shed its culture of conflict, violence and war. This provocative view was presented by Dr Inyatullah, a social scientist, in a talk on ‘Major Threats to Humanity’ at the Centre for Democratic Development, run by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, here on Thursday.

Dr Inyatullah, who has formed the Trust for Global Peace (TGP) after retiring from the United Nations, said intensification of culture of conflict, violence and war (CVW) in the 20th century, exponential rise in the destructive capacity available to the human race, increasing global poverty and population, inequality in the distribution of wealth and material resources, degradation of environment, global warming and shortage of global water directly or indirectly threaten the existence of human race.

Dr Inayatullah warned: “We are not progressing and civilizing. It is not clash of civilizations but lack of civilization.”

Dr Inayatullah said a study done by his Trust revealed that the 20th century hailed for its technological and civilizational achievements also stood out as the bloodiest and most brutal.

“Three times more people have been killed in the last 90 years than in all the previous 500 years. In the wars of the last decades more children were killed than soldiers. Child victims of war include an estimated 2 million killed, 1 million orphaned, 4 to 5 million disabled and 12 million left homeless. And there are more than three dozen conflicts still going on in the world,” he informed.

In comparison, the 40 million unnatural deaths that occurred during the whole of 19th century would be 0.9 per cent of the then global population — considerably less than the percentage for the 20th century. An estimated 44 million people died of genocide and about 40 million of famine in the 20th century.

Since the end of World War II in 1945 there have been over 250 major wars in which over 23 million people have been killed and countless millions injured and bereaved.

“Human capacity to kill other human has increased tremendously in the last six decades. One man with a gun could kill one person at a time in early 20th century. Today a lone gunman can kill tens of people,” he said.

World military expenditure increased from $742 billion in 1994 to $879 billion in 2003 — the greatest increase took place after the advent of 21st century.

Expenditure on nuclear weapons alone since 1945 is estimated at $8 trillion.

In contrast about 1.3 billion people survive on less than one dollar a day and 840 million people go hungry when alleviation of income poverty needs roughly $80 billion — less than the combined net worth of world’s seven richest men.—Anwar Mansuri