that a Belgian defended the values of the United Nations as early as 1849?
Mons lawyer Louis Bara (1821-1857) was one of the first people to pave the way for a law that prohibits war, a resolution that is today one of the priorities, and even the primary goal, of the Charter of the United Nations.
What seems obvious to us today was not at all evident at the time, when war was seen as one of several means, including diplomacy, of settling disputes between States. At the Paris Peace Congress of 1849, our visionary jurist unveiled his memoir, "La science de la paix" (The Science of Peace), and Victor Hugo defended his dream of the "United States of Europe", two approaches that must have seemed pure utopia to many. However, one century and two terrible world conflicts later, these arguments finally appeared self-evident to a majority of States.
Seneca said that it is better to lead a full life than a long one, which perfectly describes the path of Louis Bara. When he died at the age of 36, he had already spent years advocating the creation of a world federation to prevent and destroy the causes of conflict between peoples. If only his appeal had been heard.
A historian from the University of Brussels (VUB) deserves the credit for unearthing this precursor of the outlawing of war, thanks to the research carried out for his doctoral thesis.