Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Peace On Earth?

I was watching a satirical news programme earlier in the week when they were takling about a particular story and the host mentioned that New Zealand was the second most peaceful nation on earth. He didn't know what the first was, neither did I and I was intrigued if it was actually something that can be gauged.

It turns out that there is. It's called the Global Peace Index and uses a ranking system based on indicators and drivers. Alhough the host was incorrect in assumption that New Zealand is the second most peaceful country (it's fourth), I was more interested in how world countries measure up.

Taking the top three spots were Iceland, Denmark and Norway respectively and I was not at all surprised at this although it did leave me pondering why Sweden wasn't in the top 5 too as Scandinavian countries have a reputation for peaceful existence.

Another pleasant surprise was Ireland's place at number 6. My mind was reminded of the recent killing of rugby captain Shane Geoghegan in Limerick and the criminal feuding that exists between families in 'Stab-city'. One suspects that if Limerick didn't exist, Ireland might just usurp Japan in the number 5 spot.

Naturally my interest soon flitted to other countries such as the United Kingdom for comparison and I was relatively shocked to see it was sitting on a rather poor 49th place. I believe the reason being is that, glancing at the rankings, there is distrust in other citizens and external conflicts currently being fought, amongst others, that have dragged it down.

As we all know, one of these current conflicts is Iraq and I had to scroll all the way to the bottom to find this country. You don't have to analise the figures too much to work out that they are all ranked as being quite the opposite of peaceful. High numbers of terrorist attacks, ongoing fighting and violent crimes. It's not exactly on anyones holiday destination wishlist.

Whilst probably not an exact science, it's certainly well-thought out and a good rule of thumb that is more interesting in terms of statistics.

How does your country rank?


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