Storm's Journal

--| Adding Fuel to the Fire? |--- 

   Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue,
   a state of mind; a disposition for benevolence, trust and justice.
   Have you noticed the way people's intelligence capabilities
   decline sharply the minute they start waving guns around?" 
   (Dr. Who)

   He who fights against monsters should see to it
   that he doesnŐt become one. (Nietzsche)

I'm asking people to pause during these tense times in the twilight
of the extraordinarily terrible events that happened on september 11.

We have been confronted in an alarming way with the fact that there are
some evil people in the world - but we don't know who they are. S ome
suspect a fellow named Bin Laden - but we don't know yet [9/13]. If it is
this man - who advocates violence in the name of Allah - let him know that

But we cannot change the violent man, we can only note our response once
confronted with the situation, and there it is important to note that OUR
already been resigned to the books of history. However, feelings of anger
and revenge WILL ensure that more people die. Revenge is not Justice.
Violence begets more violence.

So now before us lies a decision - as the media bloodlust shrills for
revenge and retaliation, let us think how what we do next will instruct a
whole generation in what is acceptable behaviour towards evil. Do we
really want to tell them, 'when someone hurts you, pound them back'? That
may be the way that one decides, but it will have an affect on the way
children will respond to their peers - through our actions, we will teach
them the law of retaliation - that Rambo was right after all? Is it then
any surprise that the instinct of many is to immediately retaliate with
all possible force, and with due course thrown to the wind!?

   Peace is a habit of mind, a way of seeing, that will make
   harmony succeed. We have made mistrust and coercion our habit
   of mind, and built our civilisation on the balance of power,
   therefore we will reap war after war, and there will be violence
   in our streets and even in our schools and homes.
   (Eknath Easwaran, Three Harmonies, Parabola, Nov. 1991, p. 50)

As Bernard Shaw noted in his play Arms and the Man - we call the man
who kills another a murderer. But suddenly when there is a war, we send
a man across the sea, and tell him he must now kill other men he has
never met or seen, and when he does, he is called a hero. But in both
cases, a human life has been taken. From the same act - in one we find
it unacceptable, and in the other, he has been glorified.

A knee-jerk retaliatory reaction is not the solution. Yet this is exactly
what is happening. Everywhere I see a massive mob-rage mentality with a
bloodlust to anhilate these perpetrators, and they will be satisfied with
nothing less than the spilling of more blood.

But let us come to the criminal - as anyone with such a brazen disdain for
innocent human life as has been demonstrated on 9-11 is certainly a
criminal in the utmost degree - what should we do with them? Well, they
should be rightfully brought before an International Court of Law for war
crimes against humanity. Some people think that sending in massive amounts
of bombs is a good way of achieving this. But this is akin to having a
hammer and treating every problem like a nail. You may as well try and
bomb Sicily to get rid of the Mafia. These bombs have been shown to have
hit civilian targets [the Red Cross camps that were to help 55,000
homeless have been blown away. A hospital with a 100 innocent lives are
now dead at our own hands!]. More bombs will only ensure that more
innocent civilians will become displaced, homeless, and dead. And this
will give potent ammunition to the Terrorist's attempts to polarise Muslims
against those who are doing the bombing, when before most Muslims would
not have considered entertaining the calls of such a radical group.

But this is where I'm worried - because in his zeal to rightfully bring
these terrorists to justice, a certain president Bush has escalated and
enflamed the situation by simply adding fuel to the fire with angry and
hateful words against an as yet [9/13] unknown and nebulous 'enemy'.
He has been praised for his retaliatory attitude, and he sees his role
in this as one of leading all of us - whether we will it or not - into
a 'monumental war of good vs evil'. But those words could have fallen
from the lips of Captain Ahab in Moby Dick!

   It makes me nervous to hear George W. Bush talking about 'a war
   of good against evil'. In the minds of the terrorists isn't that
   what started this in the first place? (Moby, 9/12/01)

In order to fund this war -- which is shaping up to be a 'monumental
battle between good and evil', there have been requests, honoured hardly
without pause for Billions and Billions of dollars! Have we really lost
our minds so quickly!? Many of the rights an d freedoms that America stands
for have been broadly taken away. Every eMail and telephone conversation
is now wire-tapped -- can we still call this a free country? And these
words of a 'monumental struggle of good vs evil' trouble me, because this
has been the justification for a tremendous amount of senseless killing in
the past.

When he decided to frame things in terms of 'war' - I have to ask, are we
simply adding fuel to the fire and escalating this entire situation!?
At this time next year, are there just 5,500 people dead, or are there
several hundred times that number dead - due to the escalation of violence
which ensues in pursuing the course of war?

   Each innocent person that is killed must be added to,
   not set off against, the grisly toll of civilians who died
   in New York and Washington. (Arundhati Roy)

So lord, grant that peace and rational understanding will prevail over
'eye for an eye'. For evil is that which manifests hate (no matter how
well justified); and good is only that which can encounter evil, and still

If we respond hate with hate - then we become little better than barbarians
ourselves. Do we really want president Bush to lead us into a war?
As a world leader, he should be helping to calm the situation, and instead,
he is heaping more fuel on the fire - this may end in terrible tragedy - and
all the more so, if that which has not yet t ranspired in war - could be
avoided by not beginning.

By whatever name you may call him - pray to god that peace will prevail,
and that an unecessary war will not ensue. If you do not pray, then you
may pause to consider what a senseless escalation of hate entails.

But by whatever name you may call him, there is only one God who created all
of us. There is no battle of 'Good vs Evil' except within every human
choosing to hate or to love. If you pray - pray that love will prevail
before dog eat dog eat dog - pray no slaughter will begin on the account
of two men's Moby Dick missions of war.

If you are Mennonite, Christian, Muslim, or Jew - our faiths have ALL
shown that a creator does not want mankind to destroy each other, but he
came rather that we might love one another.

Thus, I pray for the wise guidance of the Lord God - who created us all
alike - that he may give understanding to our leaders, and for the leaders
of those we call evil. That the Lord may turn their heart towards
understanding instead of blaming. To loving instead of hating.

Despite what extremist and distorted forms of any religion may say - God
is never on the side of those who retaliate with an 'eye for an eye'.
Religion that does not value the life of a fellow human being - is no
religion, but rather the failure of religion. Do not let more revengeful
killing begin because some man feels he must start a war like a Captain

Anyhow, I am just a citizen of Humanity worrying about the rising and
simmering of horrible moods and feelings sweeping through the minds of all
the good people on this planet in these days. May we always remember: one
wrong doesn't justify another. Acting out of revenge and rage only shows
that we stoop to their level. Love is only love if it can encounter hate,
and still love. In acting out of anger, we ourselves become evil too.



  They that would give up essential liberty for temporary safety
  deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Benjamin Franklin) ¤

  When those who are economically powerful are in a position to use
  their power to wrest privileged rights for themselves, then among the
  economically weak there will grow up a corresponding opposition to
  these privileges; and this opposition must as soon as it has grown
  strong enough lead to revolutionary disturbances. If the existence of
  a special province of rights makes it impossible for such privileged
  rights to arise, then disturbances of this sort cannot occur...
  (Rudolf Steiner - Social Threefolding, 1920)


If you want to do something useful - don't go and blow something up.
Go volunteer and help where people are hurting. All of us are human,
no matter the colour of our skin.

Some resources for Consciencsious Objectors:

- Gandhi on Non-violence
- A Letter from the Dalai Lama
- POPE JOHN PAUL II: 'No Peace without Justice; No Justice without Forgiveness'

- American Friends Service Committee
- Quakers for Peace

- Petition for Peace
- Consciencious Objectors

- So Who ARE these Afghani guys anyways??
- Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold
- So we're told - the War is going well?

- This page is:


Back to Storm's Journal

SUBMIT AN ARTICLE posted: September 13, 2001