Thursday, June 4, 2009

We're Number On- er, 83

OK, but how much exactly do you want to be burning stuff surrounded by automatic weapons and ammunition?

The new Global Peace Index ought to bring us down a peg or two:

On top of the many humiliations that have rained down on Iceland recently – the implosion of its economy, banks and currency to name just three – the erstwhile Viking tiger today lost its title as the safest place in the world.

New Zealand is now officially your best bet for a risk-free destination, according to the new Global Peace Index (GPI), an annual ranking of the world's nations on the basis of how peaceful they are.

Despite the much-vaunted progress on security, Iraq remained bottom of the list, below Afghanistan, Somalia and Israel, which found itself listed as more dangerous than Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the top, the usual Nordic suspects clustered below New Zealand: Denmark, Norway and Iceland came second, third and fourth, followed by Austria and then Sweden.

Britain was 35th: better than last year, and one position higher than Italy, but still below most of Europe and countries as diverse as Botswana, South Korea, Malaysia and Qatar.

The United States has clawed its way up six places to 83rd – still weighed down by two foreign wars, a high prison population and the general availability of guns. Its slight rise was attributed to the number of years since 9/11 that the country has avoided a terrorist attack, and the relative decline of other countries.

Our colon- occupied zone, Iraq, managed to grab the dead last spot. If only we could somehow make New Zealand a protectorate or something, then we'd pretty much be spread across the chart.