By Thomas Baganineza
Politics isn’t necessarily a dirty game; dirty politicians play dirty politics and clean politicians play clean. But obviously politics is a game, and a gamble. It’s the real opium of the masses — not religion, as the saying goes. There is often a thin line between politicians and magicians. Both are driven by the quest for power, publicity, and control. They both draw their strength from the numbers of people who follow them. They both promise miracles and wonders they will perform at all costs. Is it true that the world demands and expects too much from politicians Can we really trust world leaders to give us peace? Much of what we see and hear from them is sabre-rattling, war rhetoric, bullying, cyber attacks, propaganda — the list goes on, and all for what? To reclaim the lost glory of empires and kingdoms long since fallen? There’s a ring of truth to the saying that politicians will shake your hand while campaigning to be elected, then shake your confidence once they get what they wanted. That’s why I don’t believe the Nobel Peace Prize should be given to politicians. Instead, such powerful recognition should be given to the peace-loving leaders from all major religions in the world. As far as global peace is concerned, we shouldn’t expect so much from politicians. It is high time the world turned to other leaders for a lasting global peace. More than two-thirds of world’s population are religious. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Baha’ism, Confucianism, Jainism and Shintoism are rated as top ten organised religions of the world. Many leaders from these faiths are tireless in promoting peace and conflict resolution, and should be recognised for it. However, if religions fight among themselves, how are they going to convince the rest of the world, including atheists and sceptics, that peace is real and can be achieved here on earth? Religion is a lot like food. If you don’t eat what I eat, why should we be enemies? I eat what I like and you eat what you like, full stop. We don’t need to fight because of the people or things or ideas we love. We should grow up and understand that life is simple and we shouldn’t complicate it. Religion should make things easier, not burdensome. I don’t comment on other people’s religions; I can only speak about my own faith and allow others to tell me about theirs. And I don’t need to doubt them or think that I am better than them. Religious people have a great opportunity to work for peace and promote it. After all, blessed are peacemakers for they will be called the children of God. Thomas Baganineza is director at TugOfHope.org, a think tank focused on peace building, climate change and humanitarian crises.