Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Stuck in the Past
After today's post, I am going to move on from the topic of war and causes of war. But I want to offer and ponder one more aspect of war and terrorism in our time.
A few days ago I was reading a piece in The Atlantic by a reporter who had an ongoing relationship with a Hamas leader. The article was a mixture of ode and homage to the man who had recently been killed by a bomb dropped on his home in a refugee camp. This highly articulate man with a "bigoted worldview" had written his master's thesis on martyrdom and had sent one of his sons to his death as a suicide bomber. With all of the contradictions of east versus west, Israel versus Palestine, haves versus have nots; what came clearly to the writer and to me was this leader's "fatal obsession with the past."
How does anyone get beyond horrors that are inflicted upon them by others? Some are able to forgive, often as a sign of faith. But hundreds of intra-tribal conflicts simmer or rage around the world from the Middle East to East Timor, the Congo, Sri Lanka and certainly Afghanistan and Iraq. How do cultures, tribes, countries and races move beyond the mire of blood-stained history?
I don't have the answer but I strongly sense that imposing democracy with combat soldiers and predator drones is not ever going to succeed. Foreign aid that mixes wheat, soy, rice and C4 explosive is unlikely to win the hearts and minds of any population. Particularly when that population is itself divided by hundreds even thousands of years of racial and tribal hatreds.
Yes, I suppose we must keep on trying but killing one segment of the population seems to align us more with the dark side and not with the international rhetoric of peace we spout to the media. History teaches us that violent suppression does not work, never has and never will. So we must stop. The only way to truly give peace a chance is for the strongest military power on the planet to renounce the use of war as an instrument of foreign policy.