There are more than thirty ongoing violent conflicts waging right now around the globe. The United Nations defines Major Wars as military conflict inflicting 1,000 battlefield deaths per year. Wikipedia expands that definition to include wars that cause destruction and humanitarian crisis of outstanding severity." Ongoing civil wars fueled by racial, ethnic, or religious differences come with a new twist that distinguishes them from wars in previous generations - civilian casualties. During World War I non-combatants made up less than 5% of casualties. Today, the number is a staggering 75% civilians killed or wounded. Less than thirty days from now we will engage in another BlogBlast For Peace. By my research and estimation, there are at LEAST 30 very good reasons to fly a peace globe. To begin your activism. To increase our awareness of the suffering of others. To talk about peace. To write about peace. To be part of a larger voice for peace. To invoke peace. To pray for peace. To focus on peace.
Who is fighting? The government of Peru and The Ronda Campesinas against Shining Path and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement
Why are they fighting? Shining Path launched guerrilla warfare in the mountains of Peru in 1980 during Peru's elections, burning ballot boxes. The group followed Mao Zedong's teachings and believed in "choking off" the cities by guerrilla style fighting in the countryside. The aim: pure communism. Another group calling themselves the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) claimed to be fighting against the government for true democracy. Of course, the two groups methods and philosophies were at odds. They began to fight each other. Shining Path made more violent attacks on the National Police of Peru and the Peruvian Armed Forces began to fight the militant group. Sadly, atrocious human rights violations were allegedly made by the government while searching for Shining Path members. (see the Accomarca massacre)
The retaliation of the Shining Path was gruesome and often, unbelievably, aimed at civilians. The peasant people formed "rondas" groups to combat the attacks. Shining Path commanders were captured and killed publicly in the town square. Massacres by Shining Path on peasant communities - including babies, children, women and unarmed citizens were carried out, also kidnapping children and forcing them to fight as soldiers in their war (mid 80s).
In 1992, Shining Path set off a bomb in Lima and began a larger bombing campaign. The leader of the group was captured and sentenced to life in prison for terrorism. The guerrillas have declined in strength and number but they still persist in small-scale attacks. Although the MRTA has largely been destroyed, the Shining Path strategy since 2003 has been to take hostages for ransom.
I am appalled by the needless suffering in my world.
Images: Public domain