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International Arms Trade Treaty: Children of the World – We are Standing Watch for You


International Arms Trade Treaty: Children of the World – We are Standing Watch for You

Oscar Arias Sanchez

Twenty-eight years ago this month, an indigenous woman stood in the plaza in Guatemala City, watching as the presidents of Central America walked out into the street after signing the Peace Accords that would end the civil wars in our region. When I reached her, she took both my hands in hers and said, “Thank you, Mr. President, for my child who is in the mountains fighting, and for the child I carry in my womb.”


Of course the USA is not signatory to this treaty, flawed as it is. The NRA (and many other right-wing corporate lobbyists like the Heritage Foundation) is against it!


Those who see war or fighting with weapons AS a solution continue to make life miserable, if not impossible for the rest of us.

I’ve long held the position–and remarked frankly upon it–that had gunpowder never been invented, the history of the world (up to and including the armed imperial conquests of foreign lands) would have been quite different.

Now, with those whose homage is made to Mars, god of war, in their final hours of dominion, it’s not surprising that they’d litter the globe with weapons and remain utterly unmoved by the legions of limbless children (courtesy of landmines), babies with partial brain development (courtesy of deplete uranium residue), and so much denuded DEAD habitat… not to mention millions of desperate refugees searching for homes amid hostile conditions.

Violence is a curse and it’s now at epidemic levels. Bravo to any groups that would seek to use what’s left of The Rule of Law to tame this unleashed beast!


Thank you, Mr. President, for this marvelous exhortation in this commentary for peace in our wonderful world.

In May of 2012 our daughter and I had the great fortune of visiting Costa Rica for a week. I remember the vacation like it was last week! In the land and the people are an awesome beauty.

Costa Rica stands for decades a beacon for justice and peace, with no standing army and no national defense spending. An incredible accomplishment! Intelligence and courage are trademarks of this visionary citizenry.


Oscar Arias deserves congratulations for his work to end the arms trade, but it should be noted that during his political career he was always a faithful minion of the USA.

His party, National Liberation, (the equivalent of the US Democratic Party and just as bad), was defeated in the 2014 presidential election by Luis Guillermo Solís of the Citizen’s Action Party (the first victory for this party, which is the mildly leftist equivalent of the US Green Party).


“I urge the 72 nations that have ratified the treaty to define an
alternative to consensus so that one party cannot paralyze

There is an alternative to ‘consensus’. In the Quaker tradition there is what is known as ‘the sense of the meeting’. This is only a brief overview. The process calls for each participant in the meeting to come prepared and then to center in silent recognition of the sacredness of the whole (each being incomplete without it), in which each is integral part that far exceeds the sum of the parts. One individual who has been agreed upon to serve as clerk, a mediator of the process, known for the capacity to always bring a meeting back this sense, serves to maintain the diverse concerns gathering in clarity of this recognition. After each person speaks, the gathering returns to the silence to hold what is said in the recognition of sum of the parts being most importantly respectful process and towards a goal which entails integrity and deepening of the process. Dissent in this context demands concise, simple clarity of expression that the meeting can also work with to bring it to clearest expression. One who is unable to agree with the sense of the meeting can ‘stand aside’ and go on record with their dissent duly noted in the minutes of the meeting.

The beauty of this, to me, is that the premise and structure are methods to bring the meeting participants to recognition of the elegance within which our shortcomings are not scorned but rather held in the light of the elegance and intricacy of a creation none of us created individually but that all of us are integral and equally sacred part requiring us to discipline into listening, humble and respectful listeners in effort, and all achievement dependent on aligning with an elegance we can discover only by holding ‘goals’ as integrity of process.