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We can't make this issue sexy, but it deserves your attention
July 25th, 2014
We can't make this issue sexy, but it deserves your attention
(2'17'' video)

   Back to basics: living in fear (in Israel or elsewhere) is unpleasant, but it never  justifies killing hundreds of others just to avoid fear.

   "Distraction tactics" (based on anything, e.g. highlighting protests frighteningly echoing some not-so-distant past…) are likely to alter one's perception of reality: back to reality, the victims are the people dying en masse,  not the ones using their fear as a sufficient justification to kill, not the ones fearing a return of past discrimination! Present discrimination is more in our face than the threat of a possible return of a past discrimination!

   Wanting security, wanting a 'minimum' of comfort, wanting not to live in fear, might seem a 'natural' bias (although most leading economies don't seem ready to grant this 'natural' wish to others, if profits can be made from selling weapons, from appropriating resources or from exploiting the workforce…) but wanting security doesn't ethically justify seeking others out in order to kill them.


   Conflicts might also be justified on the other side's rhetoric ("listen to them! They want to kill us, so we kill them first!").
   Certainly it is no fun to receive hate speech and threats, but no amount of speech rightfully justifies killing!
   Most countries, notably America, were and still are the targets of hate speech by many minority groups (but sometimes also by entire nations, cf. the cold war) and, should their leaders see this as enough to go to war and ignore nearby civilians (calling them "collateral damage" anaesthetise people enough from 'killing'? How convenient!), the USA would have wiped the whole planet! When an American leader almost fell so low, McCarthyism didn't exactly gave the USA the moral high ground!
   Certainly it is no fun to receive hate speech and threats, but no amount of speech rightfully justifies arbitrariness, paranoid selfishness or killing! Appropriate responses aren't extreme responses.

   Since many know the above, of course the next justification commonly given to go to war is that the 'other' side is already attacking "for real", beyond mere rhetorics. Conflicts are routinely justified as "a right to defend oneself". Conflicts might even be 'framed' as "the right to exist" or "survival". 
   This solely is propaganda when  several orders of magnitudes more people die in road accidents than at the hand of one's 'enemy' (and one doesn't particularly worry about 'survival' based of traffic accidents —even if one doesn't stop the prevention with regards to road traffic, and shouldn't stop the anti-missile system either), and when the population is steadily growing…
   The point of this propaganda is to bypass the ethical debate: 'survival' is an emotionally-loaded word which apparently switches off any moral thinking in many observers, who then assume that everyone has the 'right' to survive… But this totally is a logical aberration, and a denial of facts, when  this is used to justify orders of magnitude more deaths on the weaker side than on the stronger side, of course, while  the stronger side is the side talking of 'survival'! Anyone falling for it has simply let one mere word, 'survival', switch off their rational capabilities.


   Conflicts with invasion and occupation are used to enrich some businesses, divert from internal political difficulties (creating artificial unity against a 'common' enemy), acquire territories and resources (under a righteous pretence)…
   'Defence' doesn't lead to invasion. This is quite understood, and e.g. the definition of "self-defence forces" in Japan acknowledges a need to defend oneself without generalising it to a need to deploy further afield, abroad. Defence requires true courage rather than knee-jerk paranoia; e.g. Japan's Basic Policy for National Defence requires to avoid becoming a major military power that might pose a threat to the world, to refrain from the development of nuclear weapons, to ensure civilian control of the military, to build up defensive capabilities within moderate limits, and even to limit one's potential profits (strict limits on arms exports). Defence starts with the brave refusal of an arms race!
   Conflicts with invasion and occupation are not 'defence'. The opposite reflex justified antiquated military thinking (it might even have made some sense there and then, when anti-missiles didn't yet exist) but no longer does.
   Conflicts with invasion and occupation hide other motives than 'defence', even if they're still served as 'defence' to the majority of the population. With a growing population, pressure will increase to make resources (including 'space') one's 'own'… until we have the courage to drop the logic of exclusivity.

   To consider that the only way to constructively engage with Muslims or arabs or any other "ethnic group" is to invade them (and force them  to live in fear, because apparently if they  are the ones afraid, that's deemed acceptable) is serious discrimination and/or racism. Guantanamo is ethically wrong, the "administrative detainees" by the Israeli military (with indefinitely renewable periods of up to six months, without charge or trial, and denying the right to see or challenge any 'evidence') is ethically wrong…


   There's no 'clean' war, the only clean conflict is to do your utmost to avoid the war, and to share the world without falling into "this is mine (I worked for it, whatever), and I'll kill you if you contest it".  You might want to see 'sharing' as a tax. Taxation doesn't require war as a response, moreover (very) high taxation didn't prevent the best decades of economic growth in America and doesn't limit economic success for Northern European countries! 'Sharing' works because a strong economy is based on more circulation, less hoarding.
   You may try and 'warn' people that you'll destroy their homes, so they can evacuate and you can pretend you're 'protecting' civilians (while you destroy their livelihood?)… but instead of fleeing, they might put themselves as 'shields' of their possessions. That doesn't automatically make them accomplices of terrorists, that makes them desperate to protect the little they have to survive!


   Many people fall for the "if people were attacking my home, I would defend myself too".  This is self-based ignorance and propaganda combined!
   The propaganda is in the "people are attacking me" narrative (so conveniently ignoring the context, e.g. one's illegal settlements, abusive economic constraints or arrests without charges… and so conveniently ignoring that one's defensive fence proves effective and that the attacks don't go through…), and in calling to one's emotions and animal instincts rather than to one's intelligence, wisdom and social nature.
   The propaganda is also in refusing to consider "human shields" as a case of people naturally protecting their home but instead labelling them as terrorists. This amounts to "to protect my home, I'm entitled to go around and kill people, even if innocent civilians will die too… but if the civilians protect their home, it's a proof they're terrorists"!  Wow!

   Non-violent leaders arise when people, who are targets, decide to respond without violence. Martin Luther-King, Gandhi and many other Peace Nobel Prize achieved a lot without resorting to violence… they were at risk, physical risk, but they rejected the 'legitimacy' of violence and achieved results that never were achieved by previous waves of conflicts. Being attacked doesn't require one to become violent; it calls for more intelligence (to find a solution that cannot be left to "letting the storm pass") not less, more human reason, less animal instincts.

   If you think targeting your home justifies 'major'  retaliation (just because it's 'your' home… Apparently you don't help, i.e. you don't care so much, when brigands attack homes in other parts of the world), you're on the slippery slope of condoning the barbaric cutting hands of thefts or the 'righteous' killing of any competitor who might bankrupt your company and take your home away (and yes, the competitor is actively  seeking to be the sole winner of the capitalist competition!). 'Major' retaliation (e.g. meant as a 'deterrent') is another name for "I'll escalate the situation while I think I have the upper hand (at least morally)",  but escalation of conflict is not justice, it's just the rule of the strongest.
   If you think targeting a home justifies 'mass'  retaliation, you're falling for the excuse (based on a rape) of the Burmese massacring large groups of Rohingya people, you're falling for the excuse (based on three teenagers killed) of Israel massacring large groups of Palestinian,  you're falling for the Chinese mass oppression as soon as a few Tibetans show around a photo of the Dalai-Lama, you're falling for the most classical excuse used in ethnic cleansing across the globe (often combined with the 'survival' narrative… by the side winning!).

   Their targeting of your home justifies bringing the criminals to justice (and possibly limiting their freedom temporarily, as a prevention of future crime until the associated intention has ceased), not to create more injustice!

   Nobody wants to be at risk, nobody wants to lose one's home, but no event justifies an emotional self-based response born out of clinging and ignorance. Sometimes people need to accept the loss rather than start a crusade, e.g. the Dalai-Lama has made clear he's not seeking an 'independent' Tibet anymore, only meaningful 'autonomy' (allowing to protect the Tibetan culture, language, religions…). Those who fall for the "if people were attacking my home, I would defend myself too"  are primarily justifying their own aversion to loss. And if they believe this, I hope they'll realise soon enough that such a view would provide the perfect justification for many "at risk of homelessness" to start civil wars. Sharing, seen as a tax for peace, supports non-violence and  economic growth!

   Back to basics: living in fear is unpleasant, but it never  justifies killing hundreds of others just to avoid fear. Beware of the justifications for harming others!


#nonviolence