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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Have we the “will to live”?

Ralph Bunche echoes after almost half century
Excerpt, minor edit for modern language usage by Carolyn Bennett

United States Diplomat, United Nations Representative and mediator Ralph Bunche writing in 1969

“The ever-widening gap between rich and poor is the most formidable of all problems” yet “astronomical sums are being wasted on nuclear and conventional arms”  … for a war … that no one can win, which makes it senseless and incomprehensible.” 

Reversing the current trend and narrowing the gap between rich and poor can be accomplished by diverting “a substantial part of such [weapons of war] sums” and intelligently using them “for and by the developing peoples to strengthen their economies and raise their living standards.” 

Humankind “should be able to eliminate the causes of alienation, to work out reasonable and equitable solutions to all problems of human relations. The crucial question is, [have human beings] the will—the will to do what must be done to rescue the world? Can the will of [humankind] be summoned and mobilized in time, or shall the world continue to indulge in its tragically outmoded habit of futile warfare to the insane point of self-extermination?”— Ralph J. Bunche Selected Speeches and Writings edited with an Introduction by Charles P. Henry, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press 1995 (Chapter 26 “Race and Alienation,” p.316).

“The United nations, I am confident, will persevere in its historic efforts to achieve secure and enduring peace in the world. It seeks always to induce the parties to disputes to reply upon reasoned discussion and negotiation rather than armed force in the resolution of differences. The UN, I believe, can succeed in this effort, but only if it receives resolute support from the peoples of the world.”

espite their “frailties and follies”, human beings will “survive on earth through reason, common sense, and the will to live.” And “through the unlimited creative capacity of their genius, [humankind] will continue to advance.”


Ralph Johnson Bunche (b. August 7, 1904, Detroit, Michigan; d. December 9, 1971, New York, N.Y.): U.S. diplomat, a key member of the United Nations for more than two decades, known also for his successful negotiation of a 1949 Arab-Israeli truce in Palestine. He took academic credentials at the University of California-Los Angeles and Harvard University (government and international relations) and studied in England and South Africa [Britannica].

This excerpt is from a US Vietnam War-era speech, which sadly rings true and even more so today, 46 years later in the midst of clusters of endless wars, unending madness, and unconscionable inequality. 


A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora

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