by Robert Markland Smith.
Nobody really knew why nor how, but this is what happened.There was no election or change of the guard. There was no revolutionary leader influencing others to lay down their weapons. But here and there across the world, like an epidemic, like lightning shining from East to West, one government after another decided to pull their troops out of the war. And within a few weeks, the business pages of local newspapers announced that one arms maker after another, one arms trader after another was converting its armaments factories to peaceful purposes. Was it because the world was tired of fighting? Were the armies out of breath? Not really. But on the front pages of newspapers and in the evening news on TV, people could see one general after another resigning and taking retirement. The good news was that finally, the nuclear powers were showing the will to dismantle their bombs. Had all the world leaders gone mad? What about the enemy? What about the economy, which had relied so much on manufacturing weapons? And yet, the presidents and prime ministers were calmly announcing a new policy worldwide. At some level, it didn’t make sense. And those who should be in favour of world peace were the most upset about the new policy of abolishing war. The radicals who used to demonstrate against war now had to find another cause. But the populations of the world just expressed a big sigh of relief. A truce! Finally, a truce! So many thousands of people who used to work in the arms industry had to find new jobs in the new peaceful sector. And yet governments were laying off all the folks who used to manufacture guns and tanks. The new economics books no longer discussed a guns and butter economy. It was now entirely a butter economy. And yet the stock market didn’t crash, there were no food riots. It was as though peace spread from one household to another, from one human heart to another. There was no more need for intelligence agencies or spying. There was a new atmosphere of trust in the air. And gradually people began to dance and sing on the streets, in Jerusalem, in New York, in Madrid and Melbourne; suddenly, the oppression of war was replaced with overall joy. People who had invested in the arms business seemed relieved and went on vacation. Instead of soldiers marching through public places, there were tourists and picnics and festivals. Children began carrying flowers. I don’t know, I couldn’t explain it or understand why, but benevolence now reigned where malice and cynicism had before. Nevertheless it was business as usual – people stopped taking drugs and pushers flushed their heroin down the toilets. Had the world gone mad? Yet everything was peaceful, crime rates dwindled, there was no more need for police. People began cleaning up land mines from war zones and many who used to be militant began helping handicapped victims of war. Suddenly, there were funds released for veterans and rehabilitation programs were created for former soldiers. In areas where war was not visible, the news came out that local businessmen used to invest in arms and banks shut down any investment which wasn’t green. Parks were built slowly but surely in areas where there had been gunfire. There was gradual reconciliation between conflicting nationalities and religions. This process had begun suddenly, but snowballed until peace reigned in every heart. Little boys stopped playing with toy guns and war videos. In schools, teachers ceased to teach about the enemy out there. People started realizing that Russians and Chinese people were just like us, and the propaganda machine ground to a halt. Happiness started to spread all over the world. Fear and paranoia were now a thing of the past. And love was no longer a dirty word.