Only unity will bring us peace, says Nobel laureate ElBaradei

The Nation
11 February 2015

People need to change their mindest by transcending tribalism and nationalism for the world to attain peace and well-being, 2005 Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei said on Monday.

"We live in a world that is divided in between 'us' and 'them'. We need to have a change of mindset. We have an amazing ability to stereotype and dehumanise one another", he said.

The laureate was speaking at "Bridges: Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace", a series of talks organised by the Vienna-based International Peace Foundation. Monday's talk was held at NIST International School in Bangkok.

ElBaradei, who was previously director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said up to 2,000 nuclear warheads - mostly in the US and Russia - are constantly on high alert, which leaves the door open to a computer error that could lead to great destruction.

"We live in a world that relies primarily on weapons for security", he told the audience, comprosed mostly of students from the school.

"It is up to you whether you are going to make the world safe and húmane.

"we need to have a different set of values primarily based on human solidarity". Dr. ElBaradei spoke at two international schools on Monday and later addressed the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand.

He spending less on arms and investing more on healthcare and food would go a long way to alleviating the suffering o the world today.

He argues that there is enough money and natural resources to go around and called on the privileged class to recognise the "obscene inequity" that persists in the world.

Gross inequality

ElBaradei said 2.8 billion people have to manage on $2 (Bt65) a day and that 900 million people don't have enough food on their table, while just one percent of all people own half of the worlds wealth.

"There are people yearning for dignity, wanting to be treated like human beings," he said, pointing out that change can bot be achieved as long as people continue being divided by their tribes, creed skin colour, nationality and even immediate family.

"You need to extend the concept of immediate family to the rest of the world. Each one of us has some responsibilities that we need to exercise."

When a student asked what he thought about the territorial dispute between China and a number of countries in the region, ElBaradei replied: "I don't care much about territorial disputes, I care about empowerment and people having enough to eat."