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Voice of BRICS a chorus for Gaza peace

By XU WENHONG | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-25 08:51
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The BRICS grouping held an online extraordinary joint meeting on the Palestine-Israel conflict on Tuesday. Although the member countries have subtle differences in their points of view, they issued a joint declaration condemning all kinds of attacks on civilians, calling for an immediate and comprehensive cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, avoiding further spillover of the crisis, and demanding an end to the Palestine-Israel crisis on the basis of a "two-state solution".

Since the end of World War II, the so-called international community and the so-called mainstream media have been deciding what is right and what is not right for the world. But the narrative for all kinds of situations has always been set by a few Western countries. As a result, the world has not become stable, peaceful or prosperous. On the contrary, the international situation has worsened, becoming more turbulent and seeing more conflicts and wars, while unsettling the global economy too.

The world now faces crises in Ukraine and Gaza. Why have these things come to such a pass, and in which direction should the world go? All these facts have forced the world to think deeper, exposing the contradictory double standards of some, and how easily fake news can spread. Because of decentralization in the internet era, some countries have stopped dominating the discourse and the world is moving toward a new era of introspection.

It was against this backdrop that South Africa, the rotating presidency of BRICS, organized this first online extraordinary joint meeting on the situation in Gaza. The voice of BRICS on the Gaza situation demonstrated that the Global South can take its own decisions on the basis of its own understanding of events. The world has woken up to the reality that besides the G7 and the European Union, there is yet another voice in this world, which is the "voice of BRICS".

The special online meeting on the Palestine-Israel conflict by the leaders of the BRICS members and invited leaders sent a clear and loud message, different from that of the so-called traditional international community, but on behalf of a majority of developing countries. The meeting showed that after its expansion, the BRICS mechanism can respond more actively to regional and international issues, and its role and influence in global governance have been further enhanced.

If the BRICS mechanism, a term coined by Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill, had limited influence in its early days, today's BRICS cannot be ignored. After all, it now represents voices across continents seeking fairness and justice, and the proposition of peace and security that it upholds cannot be ignored by the world. Concerns about war, security, terrorist attacks, separatism, extremism and other issues top the agenda of BRICS members. The yearning for peace and development is far more urgent and direct in the Global South than in developed countries.

In the context of weak global economic growth, BRICS countries have become an important force in leading the world economy out of trouble. The size of the economy of BRICS members exceeds that of the G7, and the emerging economies that have contributed more than 50 percent to global economic growth in the past 10 years have different ideas from the West on how the global economy can get out of trouble. The rapid development of China, India and other BRICS members proves that this proposition works.

BRICS members have made the world different, bringing more choices and a beam of light amid the gloom. They have truly become an important voice calling for world peace and security. This online meeting made a good start to "BRICS cooperation" whose membership will increase from January 2024 with the addition of six more members.

The online extraordinary joint meeting is just the beginning. As more members join the group, it will make the BRICS countries' voices louder and that will increase its influence in the world. Thanks to the joint efforts of BRICS members, a multipolar world is emerging.

The strategic goal of BRICS is not to compete with the West, but the voice of the BRICS countries from this online meeting clearly shows that the current international order has a certain irrationality to it, and the countries of the Global South are striving to present a joint voice and to have a greater say and influence in international affairs.

In this special meeting, the voices of the Chinese leader attracted great attention.

China has ties with both Palestine and Israel. In particular, China has gained the trust of the Arab and Islamic countries, including Palestine. Focusing on the long-term peace, stability and development of the region and the whole world, China has successfully mediated between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Therefore, China's words are gaining more weight internationally.

The northern hemisphere is still staring at a long winter, but the ice is full of cracks. As more member countries join BRICS, the voice of BRICS will get louder, bringing spring sooner than later.

The author is deputy secretary-general of the Center for One Belt One Road, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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