I can’t condone killing – it is surely always wrong. So, like everyone else, I find senseless bombing or shooting of people abhorrent. And at the same time, I can’t condone the reaction of ‘let’s bomb those devils’ either, for the same reason – it’s killing.
World War 1 went on for four years, World War 2 for six years. How long now have we been fighting ‘the war on terror’ to no avail? Surely we can learn something from history, and realise that we need to try something different. And surely with our global communications and information now, there are some different and useful ideas out there.
I was watching a couple of episodes of Dr Who last night, about the Zygons – I know, what is this tangent? In the story, Dr Who gives an impassioned speech that stops the killing that is going on and makes everyone think again. In it he points out that even if you win the war, there will be another revolution, and others will rebel against the ruling group, so war is just perpetuated. He suggests that we just need to sit down and talk, that people making real contact with each other will find a different way. It’s only a story, yet isn’t it time that we at least used our brilliant minds to see if it is possible?
Instead we are fed battle talk, fear stories, and posturing on all sides. Our governments act as if we are innocent victims, yet threaten the enemy with weapons and might. They also kill, and we sit by and say little when we have no interests in the areas where innocent people are being killed – think Palestine, Africa, Syria etc.
There have been examples of taking a different tack: in South Africa, in Northern Ireland, with Iran… it may not work perfectly, but for sure it is better than constant war and war-mongering.
I am glad that there have been a few examples on the news of Parisian reactions that were not outrage or fear but courage and warmth: the father telling his child that the candles and flowers for those who died were more powerful than weapons; the man who said that they had taken his wife and child, so he wasn’t going to give them his hate as well.
We can refuse to be intimidated, we can refuse to think that everyone who is Muslim is a threat to us, we can look for ways of building peacefulness and we can show love and warmth and consideration to others.
It is time to break the circle of fear and threat, and we do that by behaving differently. I know, I’m an old hippy, all about peace and love – but I am not stupid – if fighting and frightening worked, we would all be living in peace now – we’ve done it for long enough!