Saturday, March 5, 2011

Peace quote of the day - pick your poison (i.e., your preferred type of violence)

"All violence is wrong, and violence can never contribute to peace. Even though some glorify violence or piously disguise it, it must always be exposed and repudiated."

"It is interesting to compare modern warfare and suicide bombings. Due to sophisticated technology, war has become 'impersonal.' Bombs are fired from long distances. While reeking devastation and killing hundreds of people, distant soldiers do not see the enemy nor do they observe the wreckage. Christ Hedges has described 'the impersonal slaughter of modern industrial warfare.' Viewers do not generally see the atrocities of warfare on television, but they do see the devastation wrought by a suicide bombing. How can they condemn the latter and not the former? How can people not be repulsed by the destruction of a helicopter gunship or an F-16 fighter jet, which kill many more people than a suicide bomber ever could? Our wars have become more vicious because they have become more impersonal. Suicide bombing, on the other hand, is a very personal thing, which makes it more revolting to people. B'Tselem, an Israeli peace organization, reported that in 2006 Palestinians killed 17 Israeli civilians (including 1 minor) and 6 Israeli soldiers; in the same period, Israeli forces killed 660 Palestinians, half of whom were not taking part in hostilities, and the number included 141 minors."
(Naim Stifan Ateek, A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation)

A common view among people in the Middle East that I've talked with is that the American government is as much "terrorist" as the suicide bombers are. I know that Americans have a hard time seeing this, but people here feel that the act of shooting missiles from a distance and killing large numbers of people, including noncombatants, can be described as nothing other than "terrorism." Certainly, people on the receiving end, who did not personally start any war with America, are terrorized by the American military machine. 

I am becoming more convinced that to be for peace, we must be radically for life, and against war, against killing of any kind.

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