Today is International Day of UN Peacekeepers, which is a day that we honor the over 100,000 blue helmets from 118 countries who serve in 16 conflict zones across the globe. As a general rule, peacekeepers go where the no single country is willing to send their troops and are overwhelmingly drawn from countries of the developing world. They operate in some of the harshest conditions on the planet, including South Sudan, Darfur, Chad, East Congo, and Haiti. It is not glamorous work, but separating former combatants, disarming, demobilizing, and re-intigrating former combatants into normal civilian life is key to long term peace in these war-torn regions.
It is dangerous work too. 132 peace keepers lost their lives in the line of duty in 2008.
Without the men and women of UN peacekeeping willing to put their lives on the line the world would be a much more violent place. Take a second to thank a peacekeeper for their service. As George Clooney say, peace, like war, needs waging.