As i was reading my book, one name attracted my attention and on the special box, little information was dedicated to him, i was impressed and decided to write my next article about him. This person is Ralph Bunche.
Ralph Bunche was born in 1904, Detroit, Michigan. He was from a poor family and from childhood he worked in different positions to help his family financially. At the same time, he was an excellent student and due to his abilities and achievements, a scholarship was granted him for studying in Harvard in 1927.
During the war times, he worked for US state offices such as OSS and State Department. And after the war he was given his big examination to make Israelis and Palestinians agree to the armistice. He was one of the instrumental figures on the declaration of Human Rights document with Eleanor Rooselvelt.
UN offered a weird solution by parting Palestinian territory like checkerboard and Jews accepted it, while Arabs refused. This caused an escalation between parties and led Arab invasion of newly created Israel in 1947. Then Jews bounced back and war continued. This was a bloody conflict and by time it becomes clear that was very difficult to reach ultimate peace among parties.
In early 1948, the fighting escalated between parties. Ralph Bunche was already participating in trying to stop this conflict, but he was appointed chief aide to Count Folke Bernadotte who was mediator. Bernadotte was assassinated in Jerusalem at 17 September 1948, while doing his duties by Zionist group Lehi. Bunche was promoted to the mediator and it worked.
The hostile parties agreed to proximity talks which means that parties do not meet each other, but they are habiting in a close place and mediator leads talks between them. Peace talks were held in Rhodes, Greek island. 11 months was necessary for making both parties to agree to the peace treaty. Ralph Bunche worked relentlessly as he climbed up and down stairs for making just this truce happen between Arabs and Jews. This truce remained partially stable until 1967.
Ralph Bunche commissioned a local potter to make unique memorial plates which carried the name of each negotiator and after the Armistice Treaty, Israel’s representative Moshe Dayan asked, what would have happened if no agreement was reached? Bunche replied: I’d have broken the plates over your damned heads. He was awarded with Nobel Peace Prize due to his marvellous and incredible success. He was the first Afro-American to obtain this award. After that he continued to be a mediator Congo, Yemen, Kashmir, Cyprus. He was appointed as Under-Secretary of UN in 1968. However, he was ill and 3 years later he died because of diabetes mellitus.
He was a hero of peace, hero of UN and hero of the world for trying to create peace through his actions. He also supported Afro-Americans’ rights and was always against the discrimination and segradation of them. He believed democracy should be color-blinded. I am really honored to learn and read about a person who tried to make our world safer, better not with arms, but with words, not with wars, but with peace.