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OPPOSE VIOLENCE, OPPOSE WAR February 23, 2015

Posted by wmmbb in Peace.
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Andrew P Rant at The Sydney Morning Herald suggested that the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, is looking for a war to boost his lagging, perhaps waning, popularity with the voting population at large.

So I wrote this admittedly off-beam response:

We should never make light of war. I know this is humorous but perhaps it accurately reflects the PM’s thinking. War produces unnecessary destruction, death and suffering, not only for its victims but for its survivors. We are responsible for those that engage in the barbarity of war in our name, for what they do and for what happens to them. Rather, let us summon the power and courage to pursue peace with justice, and if necessary offer our lives for that goal, rather than allow the murder of others.

The word pacifism connotes weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth. To give in to anger, to mistake rage for strenght, to engage in revenge without a mind for consequences, not merely for oneself, but for others, those we are charged to protect and foster, is simply pathetic. This has long being known. For example, I noticed the following quote from Marcus Aurelius:

The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.

There are other quotes, worthy of interest and skepticism. Stoic philosophy seems out of fashion, other than as an anodyne for the acceptance of “austerity”, and the gracious benefits of our supposedly natural and greedy betters. Perhaps the inspiration was not transformed into the regression of humanity that if seen in the light of interconnection and interdependence is simply stupidity, to which its proponents are blind – as might be expected.

Violence is not just a method. It is, equally and importantly, an end. The purpose always is to either create or reinforce existing structural violence. Needless, the so-called last resort, or rather first resort if the military advantage is believed to exist, is the most profound expression of violence and it’s concomitant purposes.

The known evidence points tends to suggest that Tony Abbott has a predilection for violence. Poor man. However, we are responsible for his ascent to office of Prime Minister despite his widely known incompetence to hold the office. Very few of those among us could perform the responsibilities of the office with distinction, and needless they will be subject to human vulnerabilities as the rest of us. It is not easy to find people who can meet the requirements and we have failed. We must accept responsibility, and not engage in scapegoating, another form of violence, in this case with Tony Abbott as its sacrificial victim. The plague is bound to return, unless we choose to behave differently.

I don’t have an answer to the inherent contradiction in offering death for life. Words reflect mind, the truth of the ideas are to be grounded in practice. If there is an inconsistency between mind and practice that is a problem bespeaking at worst hypocrisy. It is also necessary this is,in a different form, for example, the arguments of the converts and adherents of Da’esh, who the PM calls a “death cult, ignorant of his own version. Perhaps, a detailed explanation might be provided for spending $60 billion to build submarines. Surely, it is not to create 500 jobs! That is the now and the future. Then there is history. We should not forget our own enthusiasm for war fostered by “public men and cheering crowds”, which provides a legitimacy and cover for what is going on.

We should not ignore the scourge of corporatism, with the implicit opposition to worker organized enterprise, the only fully democratic, peaceful, just, alternative(?):

Let us remember the Vietnam War still marks us in ways we sometimes are not aware of, and to be aware of those ways is to confront hatred that does not distinguish between victim and innocent, but is violence directed not to a personal history but to a dehumanized individual. In this instance dehumanization is recast and reformed independent of context.

Martin Luther King speaks on Civil Rights, Peace, and the need to speak out against the Vietnam War. He is soon to be murdered.

On reflection, it is obvious that Jamaica would be important to Afro-Americans. The relevant question here, after his time of reflection, was Martin Luther King aware of an increased personal danger he was in by taking on the war system? An editorial in the Jamaica Observer (19 January 2014):

Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr, who will be memorialised by the annual holiday in his honour in the United States tomorrow, visited Jamaica in June 1965. Accompanied by his wife, he delivered addresses at the graduation ceremony at the University of the West Indies, Mona and to the public at the National Stadium. He was profoundly affected by his short sojourn.

Dr King saw the freedom he was fighting for in the US in action in Jamaica, a politically independent majority Black country. Dr King was so comfortable in Jamaica that he returned in 1967 and rented a house where he completed the manuscript which became his most important book: Where Do We Go From Here.

He chose Jamaica of all the places, not only because it provided an opportunity to reflect without distractions, but because his spirit and vision were inspired by this independent Black country.

This interlude of reflection came at a critical point in the struggle, both in terms of the direction of the civil rights movement and in his own thinking and vision which had broadened from civil rights in the USA to human rights for mankind.

He had come to the realisation that there were commonalities between the issues in the US and the rest of the world, as did Malcolm X after his trip to Africa. Dr King expressed that global vision of interconnectedness as: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Martin Luther King was murdered by a sniper on 5th April 1968.

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