That little humanoid is the 8 and 1/2 month old baby daughter of Oistein Moskovil Thorsen and his wife Malena. Right now he is at the finish line of a month-long string of 16 hour days at the United Nations. His first child, is a month away from coming into the world and Oistein chose to use his last days before endless diaper changing, late night soothing and new parent hand-wringing to fight for us…for her.
Tweet: I’m giving an #ArmsTreaty for #BabyThorsen. Join me: http://buzz.mw/-VMp_y @VinoThorsen
The Arms Trade Treaty is in final day of negotiations after nearly a decade of campaigning that grew the idea from impossible dream to plausible reality. Campaigners like Oistein are giving every free moment – foregoing sleep, family time and often their sanity to give this long shot a real shot.
The Arms Trade Treaty will not stop all world conflict. It will not be the silver bullet that finally ends extreme poverty and suffering. Yet, it will make a difference. It will save millions of lives. The Arms Treaty will keep illicit arms from flowing freely to the next Joseph Kony. It will force companies to stop shipping arms to a future dictator willing to kill his citizens rather than cede power, regardless of the veto of one Security Council nation. It is easy to sit back and mock the UN as useless and feckless. Really, it is just us — people who have organized into nation states sitting at a table to figure out how we can survive together on this planet and make it better for future generations, like #BabyThorsen. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was the first big step we collectively made when the UN was born out of the ashes of WWII. Today, the Arms Trade Treaty stands as our best chance to keep that promise that we will never stand idly by while millions of innocents die. The illicit and completely unregulated flow of arms has taken more lives in Congo than deaths in the war that led to the UN’s formation.
I can pile on the facts about how the banana you ate this morning or the iPad you are reading this on face tighter controls and more regulations than the Ak-47s carried by 300,000 child soldiers. I can tell you that two bullets are produced for each person on the planet, every single year, and they are not used for hunting elk in Alaska. In fact the Arms Trade Treaty will in no way impact the domestic sale of guns or right to posses weapons in a sovereign state, though opponents like the NRA want to convince you otherwise.
You have heard all the arguments before. What you likely never hear is the story of the people giving their lives to keep the promise that so many made when #Kony2012 went viral — that millions of us will stand up to protect the innocent and vulnerable. We will not stay silent. It is people like Oistein that carry our message to those with the political power required to have an actual impact.
Why am I singling out my friend? Perhaps it is because I owe him and his wife after accidentally ruining their big baby announcement with a mistimed yet prescient Secret Santa gift. Mainly, it is due to the fact that when our Email boxes and Facebook pages fill up with pleas from organizations like Oxfam, for whom Oistein works, or the nebulous Control Arms coalition we forget that real people ARE these organizations. They are well-educated and brilliant activists who sacrifice more than most of us imagine for that quaint notion that the world could and should be better; that the vulnerable should be protected and the bad guys should be stopped. They could be high-paid analysts in the private sector, but they chose to use thier talents in the service of us all for very little pay and even less recognition.
The seed of change was planted in Oistein at age 11 when he saw convoys of young boys headed to the frontlines in East Africa. The decisions he has made since then have all been in preparation for today, the final day of negotiations and the last best chance at truly bulletproof Arms Trade Treaty. Since that moment he dreamt of a world where warlords had no access to the tools of destruction and the arming of children for battle would be relegated to history. Take action now and give an inspiring birthday present to his daughter and every person about to come into this world — a promise of “Never Again” that goes beyond words and becomes deed. We actually can make this idealistic dream a reality if we act today. Join me and say, “Welcome!” to #BabyThorsen and, “Thank You” to Oistein. The Arms Trade Treaty is a gift that they both deserve, and so do we.
Give #BabyThorsen her birthday gift http://buzz.mw/-VMp_y