What I Would Have Said At the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly

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Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, Fellow Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Last summer, while I was having lunch with a dear American friend, we started an interesting conversation. We expressed our thoughts and ideas about how we view the current situation of the world: I told my friend that the differences on many levels between the countries and peoples are not allowing the human individual to understand and live the complete human experience. He agreed and added that the situation seems like people are found or trapped in “bubbles” separating them from other people coming from different countries and different social and cultural identities, which explains the division among the people in the world. The Lebanese is in his Lebanese bubble and the American is in his American bubble and so on…

As we face the challenges of the era of globalization, the societies spend great efforts to achieve prosperity and growth while they seek to preserve their identity and traditions. Failing to accomplish development and progress widens the separation among the countries or the peoples. The vast majority of the population of the third world countries still suffers from underdevelopment, poverty and many harmful political, social and economic crises and issues while inhabitants of the different parts of the globe enjoy stability, technological progression and material prosperity. Unlike the developed countries, developing countries waste time or assets in tackling public matters, such as the organization of the country’s infrastructure and management of its resources. This situation gets translated into the disconnection among the peoples and lack of awareness about the values of humanity.

The majority of the people does not share the common sense of belonging to humanity. Some people fail to realize this view because they are distracted and concerned with other issues of daily life, such as ensuring their basic needs; others are not educated nor have the awareness to think beyond their factional, sectarian, or national boundaries and be concerned about the common good of the world – the only path to safeguard and sustain the human life. Yet the dilemma on how to deal with corporations and interest groups that cause damage to the societies of the global community and the environment of the planet to attain private economic gains, interests and agendas – at the expense of the majority, the public interest and the coming generations – still prevails.

A complete human experience can be experienced when the individuals are aware of the characteristics of the other, understand and tolerate the distinctiveness among the diverse cultures and are allowed to have the opportunity to live in adequate conditions – similar to the ones in the developed countries. The latter can only be achieved by the constructive efforts of the state and society that have the responsibility to keep pace with the transformation and progress taking place in different developed countries. The enriching human experience can’t be reached if people of a certain country are missing the development, knowledge, and the vibrant culture of the other and vice versa.
In the age of globalization, when the means and channels of communication are easily available, states are called to work effectively to adopt the pattern of cooperation in the terms of their relations. This is the least they can do as one of their fundamental obligations in order to preserve the intrinsic human dignity, maintain the human life and fulfill the common good. Failing to do so and missing the opportunity to cooperate and address the aspirations, matters and needs of the peoples will cause drastic consequences. Besides the world crises that will go on, they will lead to an aggressive reaction against the trend of globalization and the rise of violent extremism – a trend professed by the groups that suffered from deprivation and were left subjected to deception. However, we are called to adopt the progressive approach in our relationship with the different other as we live in a reality with pluralistic features where diversity is a natural quality in all the different aspects of human life.

Therefore, we stand at a point with two diverging paths where we have to take a decision that will determine and shape the fate of mankind. As stated by Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Thank you.

– By Antranik Manoukian, our regional intern at the World Youth Alliance – Middle East.