Dr. Amal Moussa
Poet, writer, and professor of sociology at University of Tunis

The Word’s Conscience is in Crisis

Today, April 5th, is the "International Day of Conscience," which was officially declared as a global day of awareness in 2019, making it relatively new. The United Nations General Assembly invited all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as the private sector and civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to build a culture of peace with love and conscience that is in accordance with the culture and other appropriate circumstances or customs of their local, national and regional communities, including through quality education and public awareness-raising activities, thereby fostering sustainable development.

In reality, the occasion brings several themes and subjects to mind. Firstly, the fact that this awareness day exists suggests that the world is without conscience or that, at the very least, there is something problematic about its conscience. It could also be inferred or presumed that, in 2019, global elites became aware that this lack of conscience is an obstacle to the realization of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Indeed, its existence amounts to an explicit public acknowledgment that no goals can be achieved without an active, honest, and vigilant conscience. The world cannot eradicate hunger and poverty if its conscience is deep asleep. Quality education and high standards of living cannot be secured if we do not act in accordance with our conscience. It is clear to anyone who reads them that the SDGs support the marginalized of the world and the victims of its new order, since those who are lagging behind often fail to catch up for material reasons. In other words, the promise to "Leave No One Behind" cannot be achieved or advanced if the world has no conscience. Without it, the world will remain as it is.

This conclusion linking sustainable development, stability, and a culture of peace, elevates the conscience to a prerequisite. It renders having a global conscience the foundation of global security. Here, we arrive at the heart of the matter and the root of the problem. Indeed, the question is: how do we build a culture of conscience, and how can we convince those who yield power around the world of the importance of conscious and sustainable development?

Thus, we believe that today’s commemoration of the International Day of Conscience will put many in an awkward position. It is an occasion that affirms the weakness of their conscience. All the global actors who have no conscience will be exposed: How can we claim to have a conscience after over 33,000 martyrs, half of whom are women and children, fell in Gaza?

It is good to commemorate the International Day of Conscience. It is an opportunity to note and remember that humans have something no other living beings possess, a conscience.

It is a day in which we can advocate for a more moral world. Those who believe that this is an idealistic and pursuit discourse are mistaken. Nothing attests to this more emphatically than terrorism. Do terrorist networks not feed on the marginalized people of the world who have been pushed out of the economy, that is, those suffering from poverty and unemployment?

This clearly means that global security, even that of those who have no conscience, is under threat. The conscience, here, becomes a safeguard. It creates a bulwark against the approach centered on profit and spoils, developing one that accounts for security, without which money and property become worthless.

One thing we can be certain of is that bitterness can be seen on the faces of the words’ nations. It is the result of an accumulation of developments precipitated by the absence of human conscience. There has always been a struggle between good and evil, between those who have a conscience and those who do not. What has changed is that those who advocate acting on it are now without influence or power. That is terrifying, as it allows for global ruin.