AK-47: The Real WMD!

In a world so obsessively possessed about non-proliferating nuclear arsenal, it is ironic that not a single man has died due to the so-called “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in the post world war era. There are incessant issues that have cropped up, threatening to leave the world segregated on nuclear lines. Wars have been fought, civilians have been killed and tensions among traditional rivals like US-Iran, Israel-Palestine, Russia-Europe have all been accentuated. The word “Nuclear” has brought with it a threat of a potential catastrophe. But if you look closely, you will know the catastrophe will not happen. The United States’ act of naiveté and ignorance at the time – the atom bomb on Hiroshima – has scared the world(including US herself) way too much; I doubt the human race will be foolish enough to repeat that grave mistake. For me, the nuclear arms race is a farce and rationally, a nuclear war is just not possible or feasible purely because nobody wins anyway!

Now that we have ruled out atom bomb as a serious threat, let me introduce you to the real Weapon of Mass Destruction – Avtomat Kalashnikova model of 1947, more commonly known as the Kalashnikov or AK-47. While the world was going head over heels about the ‘highly unlikely’ nuclear threat, this weapon was selling like hot cakes! Kalashnikov assault rifles are the most widespread military weapons in the world. It is estimated that there are between 50 and 70 million of them spread across the world’s five continents. They are used daily by soldiers, fighters, and gang members to inflict untold suffering in many countries. The spread of these weapons continues largely unchecked by governments, threatening the lives and safety of millions as weapons fall into irresponsible hands. More than anything, the Kalashnikov rifle is the weapon of choice for many armies, militias, armed gangs, law enforcement officials, rebels, and other private actors who abuse fundamental human rights and operate beyond the international humanitarian law parameters laid down by the Geneva Conventions and other relevant international law.

Although the United Nations and its member states have taken concrete action to limit the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction through international treaties and monitoring organizations,, the number one tool used for killing and injuring civilians today is small arms, including the assault rifle AK-47, which is reaching more countries than ever before. In October 2006, at the UN General Assembly, governments agreed to negotiate a new global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to regulate international transfers of all conventional arms, including military assault rifles. The proliferation of Kalashnikovs has resulted in such deadly weapons being used to massacre, maim, rape and abuse, torture, and fuel violent crime in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Britain, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Iraq, Mexico, Sierra Leone, the USA, Venezuela, and Yemen.

As Nicolas Cage in the hit Lord of the War,in which he played an arms dealer, put it, “One of the most profitable assets in the vast soviet arsenal is Kalashnikov. It’s a 9-pound amalgamation of ford steel and wood. It doesn’t stuck, jam or overheat. It fires whether covered with mud or filled with mortar. It’s so easy to use even a child can use it and they do. It’s Russia’s No.1 export after caviar and suicidal novelists.” Now that’s a weapon of mass destruction!

Prateek Kapil

[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dunechaser/385847007/]