This November 11 we commemorated in many parts of our world, Armistice Day, the official end of The Great War one hundred years ago. It was the war that was to end all wars.
There were a number of factors that lead up to WWI: mutual defense alliances, imperialism, militarism, and nationalism. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were to lose their lives.
Little did the world know at the time, that these same forces of evil would conspire once again to start WWII, followed by Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, with more loss of life in this insanity we call war.
If we look closely at the root cause of conflict amongst peoples, it stems from three predominate negative human traits. If we did away with, or at least greatly diminished the effect of these three traits, what a different world we would discover!
The first is fear — fear of what we don’t understand — rejection of others different than us, whether it be colour, gender, language, religious beliefs or cultural differences. Fear is the single biggest roadblock to any kind of change.
The second is greed. Both the Great War and WWII were over land grabs and the power acquired. We see today’s manifestations of this all the time. Some wanting more, always more at what ever cost and with total disregard for sharing with others in need. We even see some governments’ policies that are driven by greed. This has raised the frustration level of the average citizen who see the wealthy getting wealthier at the expense of everyone else.
The third trait, racial superiority, has been with us for centuries. People, somewhere as an individual or as a group, feel they are better than someone else. This is the whole drive behind racism. This was certainly a huge factor in all the historical wars and is still the single largest roadblock to bringing cultures and people together.
Historically these catastrophic events didn’t happen over night or by chance, but through the orchestrated breakdown of the rule of law, removal of individual rights, muzzling the press and attacks on minorities. The perpetrators use a well defined pattern of propaganda of misinformation and outright lies to divide the population.
As we have seen, the decline of society has only taken a few key individuals to inflame the fears, raise the spectre of greed and racism to divide us. We see it again, now in many parts of our world. There are mighty forces, some in the disguise of democracy, that work to destroy, not to build.
But this only happens if we allow it. So today, with history behind us, we as individuals in society, need to change. We must change. By focusing on recognizing and accepting diversity, and accepting those that are different, we can use those differences to create strength through cooperation and inclusion. If we as individuals can do this, and demand it, then we are on the right track. Imagine the collective power of many united. Each of us can make a difference by word and action.
Today I reflect what my life might have been like If my Dad had not returned from WWII. I am so grateful he did, but many dads, sons, brothers, best friends and yes, moms, sisters, and daughters did not. The bullets and bombs of the day did not discriminate as to gender, colour, race or religion. Many of those that stood together, died together. Families forever scarred by the cost of war; today my heart goes out to them - their ultimate sacrifice shall never be in vain so long as we all remember, and as a society, learn from history, not to make the same mistakes again.
At various times in one's life, there comes a moment to evaluate where we are and where we want to be, who we are and what we want to become. Seize the moment and change. No time to waste. —Lloyd Osler
About the Author: Lloyd Osler is a veteran, professional engineer, serial entrepreneur and business leader with heart. He has seized every opportunity to reinvent himself, resulting in several challenging, and exciting careers throughout 50 years in the military, advanced education, IT and health industries.
What a ride! And #notyetdone — he is exercising his right brain in pursuing his passion as a writer.
Lloyd relishes the opportunity to give back and has a long history of mentoring in education, business and community. Husband to one, father of four, papa to five, he is passionate about future generations and is a strong advocate of social issues such as mental health, gender diversity, and equality. He currently serves on the international Advisory Board of sitatthetable.org, promoting global gender mentoring and equality in business. He is also a co-founder at cormosaic.shop.
Follow me on Twitter at @powerofpapa.