Aye Aye Thant was a longtime Westporter, and the daughter of U Thant — the 3rd secretary-general of the United Nations (1961-71).
Today is UN Day. In honor of the organization’s founding 78 years ago, she writes:
On October 24, as we celebrate the birth of the UN “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” I reflect on my father’s ideals and his belief in the role of the UN as a means towards lasting peace.
“The principle of non-violence is also a basic concept of the UN Charter. One of the most fundamental principles to which member states have committed themselves is to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force.
“History teaches us that no durable solution can be found for any human problem except by persuasion and by common consent. The use of violence is double-edged, as violence is bound by the doctrine of reciprocal action, to provoke violence in turn. Before long, we find that the rule of law has given place to the rule of the jungle.
We have therefore to go back to first principles and to observe the Charter commitment regarding the non-use of violence or the threat of violence in international relations. In modern war there is no such thing as victor and vanquished. There is only a loser, and the loser is mankind.”
It has been a source of great hope to witness convoys of trucks carrying the UN flag bringing in urgently needed food, water, and medicine to those in a desperate situation in Gaza.
This mobilization — which engages the entire UN system for a humanitarian effort — embodies human solidarity which, my father said, reflects the fundamental moral values of the United Nations.
Happy United Nations Day!