Monday, September 18, 2006

International Peace Day

Yesterday as I was driving Andrew up to a mentor's house of his to help him bring in his firewood, I listened to a most inspired broadcast on CBC in preparation for International Peace Day, September 21. It was Michael Enright's Sunday Edition. He was interviewing Paul Rogers who teaches Peace Studies at Bradford University in Bradford England. I was so impressed with the views and opinions of Paul Rogers. I found them refreshing, real, honest and fair.

He talked about if we are ever to achieve real peace in the world, we will have to look past the tactics and dogma of our enemies and listen to their real concerns. For example in the middle east: We won't get anywhere until we look past the hype and see what the real concerns of the average person are - which are about western occupation of their countries and western control of their oil. He said that when we do that, the extreme positions of some of the leaders right now will no longer matter because the average person will not follow. He said the extreme element is actually a minority but the people go along with their agenda because they have a point about standing up for their sovereignity. And actually it seems to me that if we spent as much money researching how to live with out fossil fuels (which are doomed to run out eventually anyways) as we have spent on war in the Middle East that we would surely no longer be dependant on their oil supply anyways.

Force simply doesn't work. Why is it that we sanction the use of methods in other countries that we would never tolerate here in Canada or in the US? But it is okay for us to strip others in other places of their freedom, their dignity and their so-called 'inalienable rights' like the right to self-government, surely. Why are we still figuring this out in 2006? Why do we think that there are some situations that are an exception? There are no exceptions. Force in a very short term solution with long time negative effects. Or haven't we figured that out yet? There will never be a WAR to end all wars. War only begets more war. If we believe that force is the ultimate answer to solve our problems then we will end up with a world like ones described by Aldus Huxley or Margaret Atwood and others where our freedoms have been given up in the name of progress or security.

Michael Enright even brought up Hitler. And I loved what Paul Rogers had to say. He said that before you look at Hitler, you had to look at the economic situation in Europe and how Germany had been treated - this context (for which the whole world is responsible) is what allowed Hitler to rise. I can hardly do justice to Paul Rogers. His eloquence and his intelligence and his loving and accepting way of looking at the world - at the big picture beyond his own nationality and ethnicity - was inspiring. You can read some of his articles here. He writes an column for Open Democracy - a great magazine if you want a fresh perspective on world issues.

There is no 'axis of evil' except the axis of evil inside each of us. I pray in these days coming up to International Peace day that we will be able to find what is good in eachother (what is god in eachother) and what brings us together and begin to construct a world that will have real and lasting peace.


katie said...

it is true that hitler was able to rise to power because of the poverty and unfair repercussions following wwi, but once he rose to power, i don't think that anything other than war would have stopped him. he kept breaking treaties and invading other countries. said...

"There is no 'axis of evil' except the axis of evil inside each of us."

--that's really the point innit. the more I read up on stuff like that and observe, the more I see. everything is so personal and yet universal.

Chick said...

I agree - the holograph effect.