Solidarity according to Jozef Tischner is to carry the burden of another person. As found in World Youth Alliance Declaration on Solidarity and Dalai Lama’s Global Family article, we are all but the same human, one family sharing a small planet. Living in such a small planet means that we all have equal needs for happiness and together we try to avoid sufferings. As one family, we are interdependent thus we cannot ignore the happenings outside our own communities because the things which happen in one part of the planet, positively or negatively affect all parts in some ways. This call for the creation of a sense of universal responsibility, helping others in times of difficulties and sharing fortune with others. The sense of universal responsibility should further lay a foundation for solidarity which entails friendship among individuals based on mutual recognition of each individual person’s value.
The concept of solidarity as expressed in World Youth Alliance Declaration Solidarity is a perfect formula for world peace, but sadly, it is neglected today. Today, we see Syria turning into a mass grave, the continuous civil war in South Sudan, Al-Shabaab causing instabilities in Somalia and Northern Kenya, Boko Haram killing thousands of innocent civilians in Nigeria, etc. Key questions in regard to these are frequently echoed: how are the extremists, who are non-respecters of the human rights and dignity which almost all major organizations of the world stand to defend been sponsored? Who is sponsoring them? However, while people are dying every minute around the world from the man-made conditions which are controllable, leaders of the great nations of the world are having meetings in their comfort zones.
Further, as people in developing countries are dying from hunger, drought, and many other curable diseases like Malaria, Cholera, Tuberculosis, Common Cold, etc., developed nations are investing billions of money in developing weapons capable of destroying the universe. In developing country like South Sudan, as reported recently by UNICEF, the three years of conflict had placed millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance. Children in the war-affected regions of South Sudan are out school. Those children faced a severe shortage of food which had resulted in thousands being acute undernutrition, facing the threats of death. On the other side of the developed world, things are very different. For example, North Korea is committed to investing and developing its nuclear weapon programs. Recently, North Korea developed the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) while the United States and its Allies are investing billions of dollars in the development of the Counter Missile Defense System.
Clearly, the world had lost the sense of solidarity, carrying the burden of others which is a recipe for world peace, and the price being paid for this neglect far exceed the cost. Africa is confronted with ideal poverty despite having all the natural resources; Europe is inconvenienced and disquieted by the inflow of immigrants. The United States of America likewise is fearful of the threats from terrorists while the Middle East is faced with religious complexities and extremism.
There would be no sustainable peace in the absence of solidarity. Solidarity indeed is a formula for sustainable development and the building of free, just and peaceful societies. What then is solidarity? As expressed in World Youth Alliance Declaration on Solidarity, it is “the unified commitment of persons to live and work in the truth of who we are and for the pursuit of the common good. It begins with a fundamental recognition and common understanding of the human person. It is built on the use of freedom to willfully recognize fundamental human needs, desires rights and to authentically pursue the fulfillment of all persons.”
Written by Chris Lan, a former Batch 2 2017 intern from Liberia at the WYA Africa office.