When was the last time you considered yourself a student? How about a messenger?
A few months ago, I took a class that was worth more than any course credit. That Saturday morning, the Red Cross introduced me to international humanitarian law (IHL). The class explores the “rules of war” and how to preserve dignity in the midst of conflict. One student in my class pointed out that the “rules of war” seemed to be an oxymoron, as he questioned why these laws exist in the first place.
Saudi Arabia, China, Pakistan, Iraq, and lately, Egypt have taken over international news channels. “Brutality” and “destruction” are words that come to mind, but what about “innocence” and “neutrality”? As the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, we are committed to serving victims in the center of armed conflict a dose of dignity. Built on the foundation of Red Cross values — humanity, impartiality, and independence — the “rules of war” are a commonality among people who may not share any other common beliefs.
A returned Peace Corps volunteer, an international relations graduate student and a professor of humanitarian action decided to be messengers of the movement, just as I have. One participant asked, “How can humanitarian law be used as part of a process for global change?”
It’s possible, but it starts with you discussing the essence of humanitarianism to others who are willing to do the same.
By helping the helpless, we – meaning you – are a part of the foundation of humanity. Is that something to risk? Do we settle for inaction when action could begin with something as simple as a conversation? We hope not.
The global part of the change is what intrigues us. By offering this class virtually in real-time to anyone, anywhere in the world with internet access, we’ll spark the conversation together.
Take the first step in making change happen. Take the class. Talk about change. Carry your message. Whoever and wherever you are.
*Light the conversation using the hashtag #RulesofWar on Twitter
By Katie Wilkes