Julius Arile’s Message on the #ArmsTreaty: Take this seriously

March 22 2013, 7:47 AM  by Lorey Campese 

The expression ‘one in a million’ is overused and often inaccurate but in the case of Julius Arile it is absolutely correct.  Julius, from Kenya, was the ‘Millionth Face’ of the Control Arms campaign in 2006 and met Kofi Annan at the United Nations conference that year.  Seven years on, he’s back in New York not just to attend the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) talks but as a professional runner too.  On Sunday, he braved the New York cold to finish eighth in a very strong field for the annual half-marathon.   

So what was more nerve-wracking – meeting Kofi Annan or the start line of the New York Half?: “I was very nervous when I met Kofi Annan,” laughs Arile “But on Sunday I was just cold!  It’s very different weather to Kenya and that was a challenge.”   

Julius discovered his gift for running at the same time he signed up to Control Arms as the Millionth Face. This was just after he swapped a life of rustling and raiding for a life of running.  He emphasises the necessity of a strong ATT for Africa: “Innocent people are suffering and dying so it’s very, very important.  When we stop the flow of these weapons, we will truly have a free Africa.” 

His message to governments and campaigners is a simple one: “Please take this seriously.  Let us not just talk and then forget what we have said and heard.  Let us all take it seriously.  Let us not lose the hope of our dreams.   

“A strong Arms Trade Treaty will change the world and when we get one everybody must come to Kenya to celebrate with my family and I!” 

Julius is back in New York in November to run the marathon.  We hope by then that the strong and robust ATT of his dreams is a reality.

Blog written by Martin Hall based on interview with Julius Arile