So this slackvitist has rocked off her chair, donned her bright red bata moccasins and made the trek across seven time zones to New York to participate in a series of events around the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations beginning at the UN this week.
It’s about time and whatnot.
In December 2006, an NGO-led movement that began agitating in the 1990s for a treaty to regulate the global arms trade based on universal principles scored a significant victory when the UN General Assembly voted by an overwhelming majority for negotiations to begin on what would be a legally binding universal Arms Trade Treaty.
Fast forward to this, the week when the negotiations begin.
The devil, as we well know, often crashes the party late, making a grand entrance just when the details are being served up.
This is what I have come to see and hear, ever so briefly, firsthand.
I’m very curious to witness, up-close, what major interest clusters have formed or will emerge to coalesce around which different positions and why. And to learn a little more about who’s got their foot on the accelerator and who’s got their foot on the brake and who will bring more pressure to bear to win the day.
As usual, I make a commitment to listen and engage with all sides of the debate, but I make no claims of neutrality on this issue.
States may have the right to produce or procure arms for self-defence and law enforcement but with that right comes the responsibility of ensuring that those arms do not slip out of the legitimate channels of distribution and cross porous borders so that the next thing you know there’s a story on my national television about heavily armed cattle rustlers in northern Kenya making away with thousands of heads of cattle, leaving a trail of death and destruction of livelihoods in their gun totting wake and; there are scores of teenagers wielding deadly weapons running around Nairobi in gangs, wreaking terror on our night life.
Yes, what the raingods conjure up in these lofty parts rains down in torrents where I live. Often with devastating effects.
This then, is personal. (As are most things, in the end.)
So, here I am, to listen and to learn, to ask and to blog.
Let the negotiations begin.