Thursday, May 28, 2009

A violent beginning to 2009

Originally posted on the Common Threads Blog,
Centre Daily Times, January 8, 2009

I do not find myself very enthusiastic about 2009 – mainly because of all the violence in the world during December2008 and now in January 2009.

If we are still solving our problems in the 21st century, with wars - which are akin to fist fights - is there much hope left for the human race?

When the terrorists attacked Mumbai, there were fears of a war between India and Pakistan. If that war had taken place, and it still might, would it be justified? Even if it were justified, would it be worth it? If there are other options, other than war, can countries pursue them, and be considered winners in the eyes of the world?

Brute force is easy to use, if we possess the ability to amass weapons. Right now, we are getting rationales for the war in the Middle East between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Many innocent people have lost their lives in this war, pitched as a battle between the state of Israel and Hamas. Is this loss of life justified? Perhaps to some.. Was this loss of life avoidable? I think the answer for me is a resounding Yes.

Today’s Washington Post carried an editorial by former President Jimmy Carter. It was entitled “An Unecessary War.”

I loved the title of the piece, a ray of hope for me in 2009. Even before we decide which side is in the right or the wrong, if we are able to use the adjective “unnecessary,” with the noun “war,” then we will be forced, and find ourselves able, to find creative solutions to our problems, without resorting to war.

Consider this example. When it was considered ok for parents to hit their children, then disciplining consisted of spanking. When that option was taken off the table, parents found new ways of disciplining, which did not involve corporal punishment.
And the world continued to move forward..

Similarly, there must be new ways of engagement between nations. Even when our sovereign territories are infringed upon, are there new ways of interacting with others that preclude violence?

To me, wars are not acceptable in the 21st century – humanity has come a long way, our destinies intertwined, and our abilities to negotiate enhanced.Right now, much of the international community is calling for the war to stop. I hope we will have a cease fire immediately, and am hopeful that we can sort out any problems with dialogue.

This month, many of us will be engaged in honoring Martin Luther King, the US champion of Non Violent Resistance, an idea he got from India’s Mahatma Gandhi, whom he admired very much. As we take part in our local events, I hope we can muse on this question - can we honor his legacy, if we do not protest violence around the world, whether they are caused by terrorists, or by the wars conducted by countries?

Comments: Interesting perspective
Submitted by checkmate on Thu, 2009-01-08 16:26.

It's too bad we can't all live the Golden Rule but for some unexplained reason humanity is not capable of this feat.
When the recent peace accord expired, one side lobbed rockets while the other side did nothing. After several days, one side issued a warning--stop the rockets or else. Pretty simple humanitarian request I think. The rocket launching side answered the request by lobbing more rockets. What outcome did the rocket-launching side expect? Peace? Roundtable discussions while their woman and children headed for cover when the incoming ordinance soared over head?
If the rocket launchers would have simply honored the Golden Rule they wouldn't be running from tanks and grenade launchers today. I realize that is a simple approach but it is the truth.
And yesterday, peaceful, loving allies of the rocket-launching side standing on American soil suggested that the peace keepers be ushered into ovens SCHNELL! SCHNELL! SCHNELL!
What is mankind to do in a situation like that? By the way, I try to live the Golden Rule every day and I hope you do too.

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