Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Elections are sacred to the people

Syria just finished the referendum and the results indicate that the people wish to have a multiparty political system. Yemen just had their one candidate election as well with a 60% turnout. One candidate, why bother voting?
One of the fundamentals of life is personal choice. At the base of choice is the option we all have to continue living. Even then we have that choice taken away in certain circumstances. Going deeper into our existence we have society which has limits to what we should and should not do. Acts such as violence against another and theft are two examples of limits most societies discourage.
Another element society discourages has many names which is best described as dishonesty. These other named acts include fraud and corruption. With these examples the limits we put on each other are there to ensure a peaceful society. No matter what system people choose, these elements are quite universal. Whether the system is a democracy, dictatorship, monarchy or fascism, most systems have limits or guidelines for the general population to follow. Even then it is a personal choice to follow these limits or not.
On the topic of choice there will always come a time to choose those that will lead. The process of elections is a vital component to a legitimate government. When the process is tampered with to force a certain outcome, this act of corruption needs to carry as much weight as murder. In the world of politics, the punishment for murder is loss of power.
If the publics’ trust is diminished, rebuilding that trust will take more effort than it took to destroy it. For a peaceful society to flourish, the elements of trust and freedom to choose are corner stones to build on. There will be times when the people may not like the options but if they trust the information provided they will follow the decisions made.
The electoral process is the most sacred part of any legitimate society. If that process can not be trusted, the entire society will crumble. We are witnessing this very thing all over the world.
Egypt and Libya will be going through elections very soon. Each will have a very difficult time with ensuring the peaceful transition. There will be many calls of voting fraud because such tactics point to legitimacy of government. if the trust of the process is questioned the entire government and the system in place is questioned.
Here in Canada we are dealing with our own issues of election fraud. Not if fraud happened but why. To me this is act should bring down the political party holding power in government. For such an act to take place is nothing short of spitting on the graves of every person who paid their lives in Afghanistan. Such an act is illegal and people need to serve jail sentences. The system has been tampered with and it is in question. The line of chaos is still very far off in Canada but if such acts are not treated with great severity we will march closer to chaos. This entire situation is an example of the hypocrisy in which societies fall.
Without trust in society and trust in the systems to assist society there is no peace in that future.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Today is referendum day in Syria. 26 Feb 2012

Today is referendum day in Syria.
I am still wondering how such an undertaking can be anywhere near fully independent and free of tampering in this atmosphere. No matter though, the process sometimes is more important than the outcome and this is one of those moments.
It is possible that this vote is a sham, understood. However, even a sham has some truth in it otherwise no one would fall for it. The important question concerns the benefit of a multiparty system. Basically the people need to have options when choosing/voting. Sounds stupid but if there is no choice why even have a process to vote?
I live in Canada and I am disgusted with the tactics the west are using in Syria. For one, the confirmed reports of Al-Qaeda being armed by the west is below ridiculous and worse than frustrating. Bringing weapons into this situation is about the most stupid tactic that could have been made. Sarcasm would say, carpet bombing the country would be a better tactic. The hypocrisy of the west is simply, disgusting.
The best part of all is that peace is always possible. For that to happen the United Nations Security Council has to act as one. The division within this world body is negligent and should be reprimanded for dereliction of duty. If the permanent Five members and Syria can not come to a unified plan, this world is in big trouble.  There is no reason why Syria should be experiencing this level of violence this long.
All in all we need better leaders. This cycle of violence is a waste of time and completely manageable, better managed than it is now.
Well we have the Russian elections coming up, let us watch the issue of Syria be debated – if at at.
if you are intersted in my plan to deal with Syria I have written such a plan in many of the past articles, here are a few posting dates  2/9/12, 1/17/12,  9/27/11

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Peace and conflict

Often I find it quite amusing that I focus on areas of violent conflict and yet I work in the area of peace. Sometimes I wonder if there is any improvement. Now there are times when I say that there has been great improvement. Plus the academic results suggest that we live in a more peaceful world.
We do have to recognize that we are coming out of the most deadly century known to us. Two world wars, El Salvador, Zaire/Congo, Cold war, Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, Afghanistan twice, Rwanda, Columbia, Indonesia, Kashmir, Yugoslavia and the list goes on.  Being a more peaceful time was not all that difficult considering the non-stop fighting we have just come out of.
One of the elements that sparks many of these wars is the desire for change in leadership.  I know that is a simple cause to state but it is a reality. The buzz phrase is “regime change”, which has a certain identity of corruption, brutality and violence attached to it. Of course the reality is that even in the most peaceful country an election can bring regime change.
In the grand idea of unity, we are all striving to live in a country where regime change is done peacefully. It is difficult to think of anyone that would want to live in a country where you are oppressed, fearful and living with violence every day.  However for many that is exactly what life is like the entire time they are alive.
It is odd that the average person is a very peaceful being yet we have the governments they elect being very violent. For example the RUSA, most people in this country are very peaceful so you wonder how can their government be so violent? Where is the disconnect? We can see the same thing in Israel and Palestine, the average person is against the use of violence, yet it has been a constant part of life since 1948.
At some point there is a major disconnect between the people and the leadership of this world. We spend more energy on killing each other than we do on helping it seems. Many governments are willing to engage in violent wars with no thought of an end strategy other than kill as many as possible. When it comes to peace efforts most leaders bark about the cost, it takes too long, it is messy, it is not done right and/or it is too complex. Such thinking just leaves me in a spiral of futility.
As I sit back and relax I realize that there is no need to worry about when our tasks will be finished. That day will come for each of us when we die, but the task will still need to be worked upon. It is the legacy of peace that is left for others. We are all human and we all deserve an equal opportunity to live a peaceful life. So with that I sense that being closed minded means you just found the edge of understanding, the frustration you feel is telling you to expand your understanding of life and others.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Syria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain are all on a similar path.

What happens in Syria if the current government is toppled?
We have many examples to look at, Egypt and Libya are two.  There will be a struggle of communicating effectively and making progression swift enough. Both of these will combine to erode the legitimacy of any new government.
In Egypt the military is still in power. In Libya the government is an ad hoc group that was a natural progression. Now in Libya the international support has dried up leaving it twisting in the wind. In both situations the people are left to seek other options other than what is being offered at the moment. These options will come from armed groups because we live in a reality where might makes right.
This might makes right attitude can only be culled by the mass peaceful rally of the people. We have learned from Poland, Czech Republic and Egypt that if the people stand united in peaceful mass rallies, the use of violence is defeated. The defeat of violence will give space for peace.
Next there needs to be a strong effort to communicate the planning process. This process has to have a constant avenue for public inclusion. Such inclusion provides transparency, legitimacy, stability, and unity. With these four elements, society will hold a great deal of patience as a new government is brought to power.
There is no mystery to how or why revolutions take place. The people simply no longer trust the leaders, they feel alienated by their own government and they lived with fear of the government too long. This combination of reality factors in every revolution. At the moment mistrust and alienation are quickly rising in Libya.
A peaceful transition is still very possible in Libya. What needs to be done is a major show of support by the international community in the form of leadership visits, major funding of programs, and infrastructure building. Within this support, armed groups will have a point of reference to hold trust in as the governance processes are continually worked on.
The capacity is there and so is the determination of the people to achieve peace. What is missing is the work needed to connect the people with the government on a unified vision of the future. At the moment there is no such unified vision, nor is there an avenue for dialogue to discuss this vision.
Communication builds trust, it can also destroy trust as well though. Due to that, the communication must settle on finding a cohesive and agreeable path forward to peace. At the moment the communication between the government and the people of Libya needs greater support and effort.
With all of the above, we can see exactly the same situation in Syria. Poor communication, mistrust, no clear vision of the future, alienation of the people and ultimately violence can be mapped out to see how Syria fell into such chaos. The road back to peace will begin with lowering the weapons, increased communication, inclusion of the people and building a common vision of the way forward.

Foreign Intervention in Syria

The United Nations Security Council has voted that no foreign military intervention is to take place. Now we are learning that the RUSA is positioning forces. Plus rumours are swarming of the RUSA arming their sworn enemy Al-Quaeda. The positioning of forces is a not an intervention in Syria. The arming of opposition forces is an intervention.  
In the world of politics, such speculation of rumours usually has truth to it. Weapons are being provided to the opposition somehow. The bordering countries are Turkey to the north meeting up with Iraq to the east. The Iraq border continues south to meet with Jordan. Moving west the Jordanian border moves along to meet up with Israel. This border moves north to meet with Lebanon. The Lebanese border moves north then turns west to the Mediterranean Sea.
Iraq is not stable enough to even monitor its borders so weapons would be easily brought in through that area. All the other countries are questionable at best. Also you have to question the security at any sea port. Add to that the capacity and ingenuity of people to get weapons in.
As China and Russia take a great deal of heat for voting no, the points in which they based their thought upon was correct. The other three members of the United Nations Security Council actively pushed for the current government to step down. This push is a direct interference in the sovereignty of that country and that course of action is as responsible for each death as China and Russia are. However, placing blame does not solve the problem and I should not play that way either. Setting the record straight is of no importance to a child being held in complete fear.
The Permanent Five members of the Security Council, (China, RUSA, Russia, France and UK) and the government of Syria need to cobble a team together, send them to Homs to hammer out a game plan. No luxury hotels or ten car motorcades, get in there and do not come out until all of you have an agreed game plan.
Again I live in a bit of a dream world. I know there is no strong will to solve anything with the determination that is necessary. If we had such a will, Israel and Palestine would be a thriving metropolis filled with cruise ships, hotel strips, vacation resorts and region wide support for all the religious celebrations. The peaceful celebrations of the major religions would be a universal positive impact to all people. Unfortunately we have war, hatred, segregation, and deep rooted racism flourishing throughout the region.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Iran vs Israel 21 Feb 2012

Simplicity and peace can be both allies and enemies at the same time. Take any situation where violence occurs or threats are made, now try to make sense of why such events continue. Simple reasoning states that a person just has to walk away or put down the weapons. However actions are only the manifestation of thought. Thought is where the true battles take place.
The realm of thought is the labyrinth we must find peace in. Today we have the reaction of Iran to the threat of attack from Israel. This cycle of insanity has to end. It is our choice to have it end using peace or we can go through the hell of war. Either way, peace will be the end result. If we decide to go the route of war, no one may live to experience the peace.
To find a way through this I looked at the constitutions of both Iran and Israel. Israel, like Britain has no formal constitution. However, Israel has their Proclamation to Independence as well as basic laws which culminate into a form of constitution.
The reason I took this route is because at some point there needs to be a leap of faith taken to secure peace. To do that, you have to see a point to leap for. Such a point is most often found within the culture, identity and laws of a country. The core of a modern society is founded in the grand ideology of its identity. That identity is supported by the laws of a society
For Iran the point of faith that must be held to is this portion of their constitution:
Article 2
The Islamic Republic is a system based on belief in:
Section 6. the exalted dignity and value of man, and his freedom coupled with responsibility before God; in which equity, justice, political, economic, social, and cultural independence, and national solidarity are secured by recourse to:
Sub section 3. negation of all forms of oppression, both the infliction of and the submission to it, and of dominance, both its imposition and its acceptance.

If you want to be negative, you can easily find faults with the above exert from the Constitution of Iran. However it is just as easy to see where peace can be held onto. This is your choice, I am for peace so I decide to see the positives.
For Israel there are a number of laws to point to. Having such a system is problematic because a clear definition or ideology is impossible to make. Due to the many points of reference it is easy to argue about which law takes precedent over another. However we need a point of reference to have as a point for peace. So I have made these two sections of the Basic laws of Israel my points to leap towards.
Protection of life, body and dignity  4. All persons are entitled to protection of their life, body and dignity.  
Personal liberty  5. There shall be no deprivation or restriction of the liberty of a person by imprisonment, arrest, extradition or otherwise. 

Many will say that these points are only valid within the countries themselves. Well to that I would say, if you do not feel your laws are valid enough to be a model for international peace in the world then what good are they?
To stay on point here, both countries have laws that no person is to be oppressed. Any threat of violence is an act of oppression. Now please do not start arguing about who started the fight, that is a waste of time, energy and intelligence. Besides, we have been doing that very thing for thousands of years and all it has given us is death, hatred and hell.

Each country is in a state of mind where they feel threatened. Escalating the violence is fuelled by revenge, hatred, fear, mistrust and narrow mindedness. Peace needs expansion of ideology and tactics. Continuing on the same path as we have for centuries will give us peace only when complete destruction has been achieved. Using the laws of each country solidifies the points of peace that will provide a foundation of negotiations.

Based upon the passages from each set of laws, there is a common understanding of a persons right to live peacefully. No one is enjoying that due to the constant oppression each country is waging. Such actions are contrary to the very laws of their own country. "Be the change you wish to see". Simple to say, apparently impossible to do.

Each country speaks to a foundation of peaceful existence very quickly in their respective laws. These laws must be used as building blocks for peace. It is these laws which must be pointed to so that trust can be fostered.

We have lived with the threat of war for too many years. Clearly the leaders of this region can not bring peace by themselves. Due to that reality the rest of us have to stand up for all the civilians who crave peace. For that to transpire, the world has to step in to police and disarm the entire region.

Monday, February 20, 2012

No sympathy for stupidity

At what point does it sink in that firing bullets and missiles solve very little? As I woke up this morning to read the news the first headline informs me that Israel has to be urged to not bomb Iran. How stupid is the leadership in Israel to even think shooting at Iran is a good option?
Honestly, can the world grow some courage and disarm the entire area known as the Middle East, now.  But I have to be realistic here. The world would rather see bodies stack up than have to listen to the complaining as the countries are disarmed.
In another point of thought, which is quite contrary to all of my beliefs, if Israel is that stupid let them fire away. In tandem with that action, every other country should withdraw all military support to both sides and let the shit hit the fan. Sometimes a person has to get beat to near death before the light of reason sinks into the brain. Tough love is what they call it.
If you want to go and get your head kicked in that is your choice, personally I see no need for even thinking that is an option. At what cost do you think it will take to win? Do you even know what winning looks like? Are you seriously prepared to send the world to the brink of hell because you are too stupid to work harder at peace?
Another point must be made clear.  Do not even bother telling me about some bullshit injustice that happened two thousand years ago or even five months ago because each side is just as full of horse shit as the other. You want to cry about such injustices, go ahead. While you are at it just understand that you are creating more of the same each day with your insanity. ASSHOLES!!!
As long as this mentality of shooting each other is in our minds peace will never be possible. It is that simple. Just to be a selfish prick here, if you want to fight to the death go ahead, I can sit on the sidelines and watch. I know that in all truthfulness, my daily life will not change one bit. Blow off as many nuclear weapons as you wish. The fallout will only equal what France has done in the South Pacific, so in thirty years the area will be well on its way to repair and hopefully the idiots will be gone as well.
You get no sympathy from me if you choose to engage in a fight when all the world tells you it is the most stupid move you can make.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chaos and insanity are now the norm in Syria.

How many does it take to lead a country to complete chaos? For Syria, that number is still being counted as it appears everyone is jumping on that band wagon. The craziness has only just begun. Within a few months there will be no way of distinguishing who is on what side and of course no one will have the courage to do what is necessary to stop any of this.
I spent a great deal of time looking at reports and emails to gather information about the situation. With each piece of information I grew more and more frustrated. We have known for months that there are extremists inside Syria fighting the government. Some reports indicate that the Syrian government has brought them in and other reports indicate that a weakening of the border is a factor.
To be as clear as I can, the fact that civilians will die by the thousands should be more important than who or what crazy bastard organization is involved. What we have here is a classic bar room brawl. The situation is already so mixed up that no one has a clue as to what side anyone is on.  This is going on now in Syria. With that understanding, does anyone think the government in Syria has any control?
We are looking a failed state very soon. With that destabilization, the surrounding countries are in grave danger. Due to this danger, the sovereignty argument for non-intervention is no longer valid because the threat to international peace is now within reach. Easing the violence is not even possible for the Syrian government anymore. Two months ago they could have but not now and with each passing day, controlling the peace becomes more and more difficult.
As it stands right now China is the wild card among the Permanent Five members of the Security Council. Russia has stated that force will be used if the Syrian government does not quell the violence. The other three, France, RUSA and UK have already voted in favour of intervention. Tougher Sanctions, more observers will most likely be the next move. What should be done?
Well if I were in charge, demand China, Russia and a host of other countries to build a peacekeeping force of no less than 60 000soldiers. March them in and secure the border as soon as possible, no one gets in or out. This will stop or at least slow the flow of weapons and extremists. As soon as the border is secured, get the negotiations going.  Have the Peacekeepers enforce the current laws of Syria that pertain to breaches of the peace. This will help sweep the country clean of any and all small to medium weapons.
Will that happen, never. The world just does not have the will to actually do such a thing. Basically civilian lives are not worth the time, effort or cost. The funny part is the time factor. No one is willing to engage in a peacekeeping mission if they have no sense of how long it will take. However, many countries are willing to get into a huge fight without a sense of how long that will take to end. The frustration I feel because of that mentality leaves me speechless at times.
Syria is without a doubt a perfect example of the term “cluster fuck” and it is going to get worse. Sanctions and observers will not stop this war in Syria any more than it has stopped the shit show between Palestine and Israel. We need a complete lock down accompanied by the largest disarm, demobilize and reintegration program ever thought possible.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Elections in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

28 Nov 2011 was the date for the people to decide the leader of that country. Since that date there have been many reports concerning the lack of legitimacy of those elections.  Millions of votes were found illegal as well as procedural violations cited. As I am writing this article many protesters are now in the streets complaining about the election. At this very moment, the government has shut down radio stations and detained those that protest.
None of this is a shock because we had understood the reality of life in that country. However the situation needs to be resolved. As sad as it is, the current government must be allowed to govern, even though there is no doubt that the current leader has abused power.  That leaves us with the question of what to do?
Now as I have said many times, life is insane and this is one of those situations where a persons’ morals are in direct conflict with reality. We can be certain that any challenge to power will be met with violent force. The use of violence is not the choice of a peaceful person but when you are left with no options you must defend yourself. With that in mind it must be understood that no government rules without the will of the people.
The method or tactic being used by the current leader to hold power/control, is a combination of fear, corruption, loyalty and entitlement. In order to defeat the current leader there has to be a sustained focus on the use of those tactics and strong alternatives to every policy being offered. These alternatives have to be communicated. This is the task for the people of the country and they are doing many of these. The opposition is also using the other four tactics as well and that is where the international community can help.
We all have opinions but when it comes to international politics there has been a code of not talking publicly about who should lead what country. That is one reason why Russia and China do not speak about changing the leadership in Syria. Anyway, the NGO community does not have such restraints so many governments use that avenue to voice such concerns. For me I have no idea if the current leader would is any better or worse than the opposition leader and that needs to be a focus.
The focus for achieving peace in the DRC needs to be concerned with the independence of the Electoral Commission and strong education concerning peaceful societies. The institutions of the country and the average citizen need to be given great support so they feel safe in voting how they want. Right now is the time to begin that support in preparation for the next election.
All too often we only focus months before the date of elections. This not so alarming in a peaceful society but in a post-conflict society this lack of attention is harmful. As we witnessed in the past election, the Electoral Commission was poorly organized during the election. Also the opposition leader openly supported the use of violence no matter what the outcome.
The international community needs to step up the efforts to educate the people and those working in government. The education has to be focused on the responsibility of the people and the institutions to support the rule of a free and fair society. The chaos of conflict will grip any country as long as the ideology of disconnection exists. We have to get the people to practice the knowledge which holds a country in peace. That time is now because it can not be done in a months time, it will take years. As it stands now we have years before the next election in the DRC. Get to work now.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A persons’ choice is their own

The use of religion as a societal foundation is a landmine of issues. On a parallel of ideology democracy is a form of religion as well. As a peace worker I have to understand that a persons’ choice is their own. No one has control over that choice any more than someone can force another person to enjoy eating sand.
In that understanding, when a group of people tell another group of people that they must follow a certain religion for their own good, right from the start that demand is flawed. Now this demand to follow a certain religion goes for politics and economics as well. Going back a few years there was the issue of the newspaper that published the drawing of an Islamic figure. That event set off like a bomb in a toilet pit.
In reality the person that made the drawing was not Islamic. That person is not bound by Islamic laws any more than a person from Paraguay is bound by Moldovan law. As for respect, well when idiocy is factored in, respect is to stand back and say, “Many images of god and prophets have been made over the years, what is one more ”. Going further, what is more disrespectful than forcing others to follow a set of rules that they do not belong to or believe in? This is where life gets really tricky because in order for peace to be achieved there has to be mutual understanding.
A peaceful society where mutual understanding exists has elements of respect and trust. Now for all the complexity the world has the mutual understanding is very simple. For me the understanding is that I am not to be feared for any reason and I ask that of everyone else I encounter. That is the root of my religion and the foundation of any society in which I work to rebuild.
Expanding that foundation of no cause for fear thought, I do realize that operating in such a manner brings a perception of weakness. This perception is a very strong element of our global society today. Gang violence, warlords, bullying, arseholes and governments use fear to control people. Ruling by fear is very much a “live by the sword die by the sword” method.
Now before anyone gets too simplistic here, not all use of fear is bad. For example, most places have laws for not wearing seatbelts when operating a vehicle. The rationale is that if you are caught you pay a fine. No one wanted to pay the fine so they started to wear the seatbelts. The same with drunk driving or texting when driving. Obviously the fear of causing an accident was not great enough on its own so government (you and me that is) decided to punish those that are caught engaging in such activity, thus the fear of being caught and punished. So there is the upside to the use of fear.
It is a tangled world we live in. Religion is just one method of governance/control we invented to maintain order. There are some that get out of control and take life to the extreme. These people will preach peace and the word of god, then shoot you for thinking differently. To be flat out honest we are all part of it. Everyone of us contributes to the slavery of societal ideology and yet we all think we are free.
Example, take any group of people and ask them what they would do if they won the lottery. I bet you will get the same answer from 98% of the people- house, car, vacations. That is mental prison right there, yet most would believe they freely made those choices. If it were truly free why is it that almost everyone has the same dream of material ownership? Then of course the charities will come into mind just to ease the guilt of looking bad.
Perhaps I am discounting the impact of collective thought projection? Who knows, all I can say is that peace is a very difficult state of being to maintain. However it is a great deal more fun to be trusted as a peaceful person than feared. Once again, it is a choice how/who you wish to be.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Biased Media or Lazy Readers?

Going about my day I was reading stories about the countries that are experiencing the Jasmine Revolution ripple effect/Arab Spring. I hit upon a few news items that discussed the number of countries impacted. As I looked at this list I began to feel information overload, it is quite a list of countries. Then I thought of the great equalizer of quick information, Wikipedia.
Take a look at that.  Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria are the most often referred to but somehow Yemen has stayed off the watch list. So has a Bahrain and I recall protests in China as well. After a bit more searching I came across one opinion for the lack of information on all the other protests. It was biased media.
The two links above provide information as do the websites of the United Nations, Alertnet, ReliefWeb, and others.
Now I have been very harsh towards the media and sometimes I am overly critical. As I search, there are reports from each country that are experiencing protests. The media is doing their job. Here in Canada I would have to say that few know we have imposed sanctions on Syria. My point here is that the media needs our help to dig for information as well.  
I do wish there was a one site for all news but there is not. Multiple sites have to be searched. This is no different than the fact that any large city usually has three or more daily newspapers. Each has its own identity or bias and with each you should delve into that understanding of the world.
There is a great deal of life going on in the world and no one news outlet can handle all of it. This is very much a case of the individual having the intelligence to seek out all the sources they can. The capability to do that is exactly why technology has been pushed on us. The crazy part is that we are still too lazy to do the work.
Imagine the person that only gets their news from one source? Now imagine having a conversation about world events with that person. Is it the of fault media for not presenting more information to its readers? There was a time when I would have given a large yes to that question. Now I am a great deal more understanding because doing such a thing is near impossible. However I am sure that each news outlet will defend their balanced news reporting.
On another point, the media is not just newspapers and websites. There are academic papers, documentaries, government websites and of course the blogs.  There is a wide spectrum of thought out there, some insane, some perplexing, some compelling and others you just wonder who even needs to know such things. Happy news searching.

Talk or Shoot?

One of the great sources of frustration in the minds of peace activists is the fact that every violent conflict ends with a negotiated settlement. For example, during the early stages of the Afghanistan war Canada sought a strategy of communication with locals and Taliban forces. This strategy was soundly rejected as futile. Almost ten years later that very strategy is now being used even though the situation in Afghanistan is no better than it was ten years ago.
Another example is in Syria. The people of Syria asked for a democratic method of governance. That request was met with bullets and here we are today. Alas, the government of Syria has set 26 Feb as a day of referendum. This vote will seek to change the constitution of Syria.
Now in both examples why was the communication efforts denied at those early stages? Okay, I know that such a question solves nothing and really only cements hatred because the past is unchangeable. We can do nothing about those decisions even if we had answers. However, what we can do is focus on the efforts now. The past is something we must learn from and those answers must be viewed as positives to peace not crutches to death. Although I am deeply sorry for the lives lost because of the missed opportunity to negotiate peace rather than kill for it.
The referendum in Syria is to be held on 26 Feb. That is eleven days away. To be honest I have no idea how anyone can accomplish that feat, even in a peaceful country. Polling stations need to be organized, ballots printed, questions formulated, debate, voter registration compiled and then distribution of information and resources to hold the referendum. To me this is not possible in such a short time, unless the entire event is a smoke screen.
As a person that operates within a peaceful mindset, I have seen such ploys before. A person that is willing to talk will always be trusted and therefore seen as easy prey. This is a reality of peaceful existence. The peaceful person is often brought into an ambush under such a smoke screen. These are very difficult moments for a peaceful person. If they stand up and say that the offer of peace is just a ploy/ambush they are branded as being uncooperative. If they go along they risk being killed. What do you do in such a situation?
For the peaceful person they realize that the current situation has already killed them. The offer is agreed to but with a great deal of trepidation. International media must be allowed in as well as any other observer forces that are willing to monitor, document and witness the entire event. With that can anyone see such a situation taking place in Syria?
When dealing with such a situation the only thing you can trust is the fact that someday you will die and today might be that day.
Going back to the situation in Afghanistan, the Taliban are in the stages of opening a political office so that negotiation can take place. This was a similar tactic used by the Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein. Such a step needs to take place for discussions because those that employ such tactics need to be at least one step removed from the battle field.
In the case of Syria who will lead the opposition? There have been a wide range of religious groups tied to the opposition as well as economic alliances. To me, both of these connections should take their ideology and shove it. The religious groups in this area have only prolonged the torture and the economic groups will be happy with anything as long as the attention is gone. In my mind neither the religious or economic groups are interested in peace. They are more interested in power and control.
As the event unfolds we are going to hear more about which religious group is seeking to rule, which economic group is backing who and all the while people will die as the cities are destroyed. For what? All because a bunch of stubborn idiots. Well is that not what religion and politics has been all about? My way is better than your way and to prove that I will kill every last one of you. And they preach peace. What a pile of dog shit.
As the violent situation continues the people will fight until enough are dead. Finally, as the grave yards fill someone will  make a connection with the other side who has a great idea, Why not stop shooting each other, sit down and find a way to co-exist? I guess that is just too difficult for some at this moment. Shooting is the only option because talking will only lull you to death.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Libya 14 Feb 2012

In the past month or two there has been very little news in the mainstream media about Libya. Everyone must feel that the transition is going well. This is the time to increase the attention on Libya and raise the level of support.
The situation in Libya has improved since the revolution but the transition is still a work in progress. Security is still the main focus of peace due to the amount of weapons in the hands of “irresponsible people”. The hope is that these people will transition into the national army. We have to acknowledge the reality that some will continue to operate in conflict with the peace. We still have gang violence in Canada so why would there not be such activity in Libya?
I recall a conversation I had in 2003 with a number of soldiers while we shared a few beverages concerning Haiti.  We were talking about the best way to clear that country of weapons. The tactic most agreed to was a dragnet tactic (I can not recall the military term, perhaps it was “sweep”). Although each soldier noted that it would never be used because of the time and cost. There is another reason too. The argument against such a tactic is that once you have gone over the area you have to go over it again and again.
Dragnet tactics is simple to understand as dragging a net across the ground. You can see it being used in wars where battle lines drawn, World War Two for example. With situations such as Libya, there are no lines, other than the existing international borders. The tactics used in such cases are what is known as sector security reform.
Sector security is the setting up of military posts and that post is in charge of a certain area or sector. This method has been around for centuries. Basically it is the same as the local police station in any town. They have a defined sector to patrol and hold. France and Britain used it here in North America building forts and out posts. It is the most popular method of war/peace operations today.
The situation in Libya is best suited for sector security because of the tribal composition, weak national army and lack of legitimate authority held by the Libyan government. To ensure that sustainable peace returns to Libya, a strong communication effort must be implemented. There was a major effort in the later days of November and that needs to be followed up with another very soon.
The Tribal leaders have to meet again and discuss the issue of sustainable peace. This has to be the main focus for the people at the moment. The communication effort must focus on the security of each tribe and the efforts that each tribal leader has taken to secure the legitimacy of the current government.
If democracy is what the people want, these talks need to share authority and responsibility of sustaining peace. The grand vision of Libya has to be framed in the view of individual peace as it relates to national peace. Each person needs to feel their part in being responsible for a peaceful country. The armed groups need to understand that power is not being taken away, it is being shared. The best way forward is to share the responsibility of protection. Any tribe or group that violently works against this idea will only be maintaining a cycle of instability.
Libya may seem to be off the news headlines right now but this is the time when efforts must be stepped up. The lack of attention is a point where things can go wrong quickly. To me it feels like a calm before the storm.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

The economic situation in Greece.

The economic situation in Greece.
At what point does it sink in with the people of Greece that rioting will not solve the situation. The situation is dire indeed but the people of Greece must understand that they are part of the problem. I guess everyone forgot the labour strike that put the cost of the Olympics games out of reach.
That labour strike has a direct impact on the economic situation today in Greece. Even more astounding is the fact that the rest of Europe has bailed out Greece, the thanks they get (Germany in particular)is more pressure to give even more money. To me, the actions of the Greek people resembles a temper tantrum of spoiled children.
The riots are founded on the tough measures the government has to make. The people are yelling that the government is poorly managing the country. It is these situations where frustration is so raw that peace is hard to maintain. It is true that money has been misspent. However, what is not being made clear is that the average person in Greece has demanded the government continue to pay for salaries that were out of reach. The people are just as much to blame for this as the politicians and the grand example is the labour strikes just before the Olympics.
This is another example of fingers pointing to every possible place other than the self to lay blame. Being a peaceful person means owning up to your part of the mess and working to solve it. Burning buildings, throwing rocks destroying your own city only makes matters worse. At this particular moment the cycle of violence will continue in Greece.
The term “tough love” may have to be used in this case. The world needs to stand up and tell the people of Greece, not the government, the people of Greece that no more bailouts are coming. Germany has given all it can and that well is dry. If the people of Greece want to completely destroy their own country well that is their choice and they can clean it up too.
Abject stupidity is a dance that no one can be saved from once it has begun and the people of Greece are well on their way to the dance floor. This is the root of frustration because the outside world can see the dance unfold. Yet the warnings are falling on deaf ears. I can not think of one riot that helped the economy- at all. Oh wait, I guess World War Two did end the Great Depression. But really, is killing people a path to economic prosperity?
Not sure if anyone is concerned with the amount of instability which currently rings the Mediterranean Sea, I am. I know how fast peace can be lost. At the moment, there is a great deal of unrest in that region which we have not seen since World War Two. However, the confidence of the world that nothing will engulf that region in total chaos is a pleasant point to hold on to.
The people of Greece have to shoulder some of the responsibility to solve the economic situation in their country. Rioting is a poor method of doing that.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How the world sees conflict

How the world sees conflict or situations of difficulties is in direct correlation as to the options it sees to solve those situations. If the world is stuck in the path of old grievances it will continue to have those as barriers to achieving peace.
The old events of injustice have to be acknowledged but they must also be understood as history which can not be changed. All that can be done is to work at the task of ensuring such events are no longer part of the future.
Take the past situations, look at them and see what should have been done to ensure a different outcome. As those situations arise again, the people involved will feel similar emotions swell in their hearts and minds. These are the moments where decisions of difference must be made. However, the task is to recognize these emotions during those moments.
As the moments present themselves it takes a great amount of energy to stop and think in the moment. The skill to do this only comes from experience. There will be setbacks but those have to be recognized as learning curves for success.
All of that seems great on paper. It is quite a different element when the set back is lives lost, homes destroyed and people injured. These are very difficult events to come to terms with. The fact remains that once such an event has taken place that is it. There has to be an element of resolve in the wake of such destruction.
Lamenting the loss is part of the process. In equal importance a focus on a future of peace must be kept in view. I am not saying that we forget or excuse events that cause injury. What I am saying is that these events have to be understood as part of a larger process. Mourn such events and point to the useless acts of creating more harm. If the reaction to such events is to seek revenge the cycle of chaos will cement itself in a spiral of annihilation.
To put that ideology in context, many weapons have been developed to cause such great destruction that the opponent would see the end result as complete annihilation.  In simple terms we are discussing the zero sum game theory.
The common belief that nuclear weapons would result in complete annihilation is a major factor in the global pursuit to have them banned. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying “I am not sure what world war three would be fought with but I know world war four will be fought with sticks”. With that we can see the show of force in Syria as a similar point where the complete destruction of the country is being gambled.
Power is not the use of force, it is the intelligent use of force. Furthermore power is also shown in the use of restraint. Being able to control emotions and understanding the impact of forceful actions. A true leader would understand the negative impact of shelling a city, shooting people all the while pointing blame at everyone but yourself. Especially when all that was needed was an intense/inclusive discussion. Yet that discussion was so feared that killing was seen as the better choice.
These are the events of insanity that wreak havoc daily around the world. People who call themselves leaders because they use fear and destruction to gain power are the biggest challenges to peace. In reality such people will always exist. All we can do is to work as hard as we can with such people to retrain them somehow.
Seeing these options before us is needed. The world could have pressured all the people in Syria to the negotiation table. Instead we allowed them to shoot each other. We must learn form this. Forcing the negotiation is not an act of breaking sovereingty, it is the act of strengthening it. For some reason we just do not see that in todays world.
How the world sees conflict or situations of difficulties is in direct correlation as to the options it sees to solve those situations. If the world is stuck in the path of old grievances it will continue to have those as barriers to achieving peace.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Syria and holistic approach to peace

First off I want to thank everyone that has visited this site. I hope I have been helpful or at least entertaining enough to gain further attention.

The holistic approach to peace is the foundation of my thoughts. The holistic approach is best understood in the cliché, “be the change you wish to see”. It can also be described as the waves caused by a single drop in calm waters. That single drop is the individual and the impact reverberates throughout your surroundings.  On a more complex definition or maybe more clear, the issues in your life that cause frustration for you will reflect the changes you wish to make to yourself and the world. As you look at any situation, be it in your relationships or how you view events in Syria, Columbia, Sri Lanka, RUSA, Russia or Canada. The problems you wish to change reflect changes you wish to make in your own life on a personal level.
For me, I have been involved in many violent situations. Due to those experiences, I have grown very frustrated at such actions. That is why I am focused on such places as Syria because the violence was/is avoidable. Again there is a cliché that states, “no one dislikes war more than the warrior”. However, most warriors only have a few methods of dealing with their opposition. Add to that the psychology of leaders that wish to be seen as strong warriors yet have little experience of war, the current leader of Syria fits that definition.
I have no idea what the personal issues are for the current leader of Syria. I am sure this uprising is seen as a personal challenge. The current leader in Syria for some reason has decided to use extreme measures to supress the challenge of his authority. There are reports that he sees this uprising as a push to change the religious composition of Syria. There are also reports of a proxy war between Russia, Iran, RUSA, Israel and all the underpinnings of those relations.
For most of us we are outside looking in. There are very few reports on the ground but news is getting out to the mainstream media. Even though there are few reports we all know the situation is getting worse. It has come to a point where Russia had to make a personal visit to this country. This visit may be seen in a number of ways.
It may be seen as support for the current leader of Syria but it may also be a show of warning. We have no information as to what the conversations were like other than the media reports. In one report the Russian delegation made it known that international force was going to be used if Syria does not resolve this issue soon.  
We can not ignore the issue of sovereignty. In stark contrast though, if Canada ever has to deal with such an internal problem at this level, I hope to god the United Nations would send in a peacekeeping force to help settle the violence. I personally do not see the presence of such a force as a threat to sovereignty. I see it more as a group of friends coming in to help put things back in order. Others may not see it as that but then again I see no reason to fear a peacekeeping force.
Also in comparison to Syria we can look at Egypt, similar challenge and similar reaction. To some degree the people and the government forces in Egypt realized the uselessness of violence. They are still waging a battle but at least there is a modicum of civility.
Going back the issue of sovereignty. Look at the case of Britian and Ireland. For years these two waged a brutal civil war and yet no one even thought the need for a UN peacekeeping force would or should be deployed. For more examples we can look at Tibet in China, Chechnya in Russia, drug war in Mexico where in each case thousands have been killed as well. The international community steps back from these cases because of sovereignty.
Even more perplexing is how the UN Security Council did not prevent the war between Britain and Argentina in the Falkland Islands? This war was in direct conflict with all articles of the UN Charter that relate to the use of force. That is another issue.
Back to the holistic approach, we can see the struggle for power being played out in the streets of Syria and how that relates to the leaders. Next we can see the struggles for unity in the UN Security Council as well as fingers point blame and each country saying that it the other side that is causing all this. Same argument, different sphere and that is the ripple effect of holistic understanding.
Oh and if anyone wishes to look up the Peacekeeping Missions of the United Nations, here is a link.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Going to hell in Syria

Anyone shocked at what is taking place is Syria has not paid attention.  Perhaps shock is not the reaction as it may be more disgust. All in know for sure is that more people will die as the world drags its feet to sort out a solution. Again the leaders of the world will argue as to what should be done and under what terms. The arguing will most likely end up with the allowance of an international observer force to go into Syria.
An observer force is a good step and it is a step but really, an observer force? What that amounts to is a person standing with a clip board writing down that they just witnessed someone being killed. For example the United Nations Peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo is an observer force. They have been there off and on since 1956 and they have been yelling since day one that the observer mandate is almost useless. Sending in an observer force is more a lack of leadership than anything.
What is taking place in Syria reminds me of Vedran Smailović - the Sarajevo Cellist. This is a man that I have not thought of for some time and really he is a symbol of peace during a time of absolute hell. His story has been wildly expanded but the truth is that he did play his cello in the ruins of the city despite the threat of being shot.
No one should be shocked to hear that foreign assistance is getting in to arm either the government or the citizens. As with any uprising there are factions that fight just to cause chaos. Syria has enemies and no doubt they are in there fighting. With that it looks as though a civil war will breakout before June if nothing is done.
From what I have read, Russia has given notice that there will be international force coming soon if the situation is not calmed down. Even if an observer force is sent in, I would have to say that civil war would still breakout. I really hope I am wrong and a further slip into chaos is prevented.
It is really astounding that an area of such political, religious and economic importance lives in a constant state of upheaval. How long has it been since there was no war in that region? Add to that the complete and utter failure of the permanent five members of the United Nations Security council to solve anything. As a security group they should not be allowed to watch over school kids in a sand box.

Indigenous History

Methods of governance have been around since two people had the need to work together, whenever that is. As society grew so did the rules of interaction. Most of these rules were passed along through speech, which is known as oral history. This form of information sharing is the largest form of passing information that we have. Many civilizations use oral history to this day. Truth and Reconciliation processes hinge on the people “telling their stories”.
Oral history has long been discounted because those that doubted it were dishonest people.  Even today we share that dishonesty with the phrase “get it in writing”. Yet there is the foundation of a person that often points to character when they are described as “a person of their word”. I am mentioning this because at the moment I am researching the unwritten governance models of the First Nations people in Canada.
I have learned that many of the governance models British philosophers used were based on information gained through knowledge of First Nations diplomacy. People such as Bentham, Locke, Smith and Keynes have all been influenced by the logic in governance used by the First Nations. The reason this is not well known rests on the fact that the First Nations people used oral history rather than written history. Their words meant something but words are easily forgotten.
Here in Canada we have a dark history of treatment towards the First Nations. That history has created a real mess as it has been eroding the fabric of life for millions of Canadians. However we are fortunate enough to understand the loss of knowledge is too great to let it go. We have a great mountain of work ahead of us.
As I worked in areas of violent conflict, the cultural methods of peace were always sought for. In the past twenty years, here in Canada we have looked into our past and retrieved the idea of restorative justice models from First Nations governance.  There will be more changes to our system as we progress.
There is no one turning point because there have been so many points of great progress. For example in 2001 Canada, the people of Nunavut negotiated the largest government and land control transfer ever undertaken in the world. This is one moment when the history of the First Nations was understood as Canada’s history. The entire people of Canada are beneficiaries of the collected efforts of all history in this country. The good and the bad, we all own it and we are all part of it. The history of the Inuit is the history of Canada, as are the histories of all the nations that make up Canada.
Within this information I have been learning, I can see a different future. I can understand the contributions to our culture as it changes. What is even more important to me is that I know I live the words I write here. I listen, learn, understand, change in order to provide a world more peaceful than the one I was born into.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Global peace efforts

For quite some time there has been a discussion around the need for a Rapid Reaction Peace Stabilizing Force. The idea is that there would be a standing force of well trained military personnel for a six month rotation. This idea was put into action with the creation of SHIRBRIG in 1996. On 30 June 2009 this force was closed. What has not stopped is the very urgent need for a force such as SHIRBRIG.
The downfall of that force was that it sought legitimacy from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)as an operational united force. The five permanent members are not interested in unity as is evident in the case of Syria. Rarely do you see all five members working on the same mission. If they do it would be at a very low level.
Now I am not a person that likes to talk about what should have happened, history is not changeable. However it leaves a person to wonder how fast the situation in Syria could have been returned to a state of peaceful unease instead of what we are going through now. Such a force would not stop the people from protesting nor would it stop all of the killing, but it would have greatly reduced such events.
If you care to look at the components of the SHIRBRIG force you will see that the member states are those that top the list of most peaceful countries. That in its self was a show of legitimacy. The five permanent members could not deal with a force with more credibility than their own. So after some great success the powers that be crushed the best avenue the world had to ensure violent confrontations such as Syria were dealt with effectively.
So here we are trying to solve a chaotic situation using a system that itself is not an example of peaceful co-existence. The frustration that this creates only digs each country in deeper as they point fingers at each other in blame.
The entire system is in such a state because of fear and mistrust. Now for me I do not fear any other but I sure as hell would not trust most of the permanent five members. Mainly due to the fact that they continually threaten the sovereignty of my country, for no reason other than they feel they can so they do. We are surrounded by assholes with major insecurity paranoia.  

Monday, February 6, 2012


Wow, not even ten minutes after I sent my last article in I got lambasted in an email asking, “What would you have us do, join the army and go to war? So much for being a peaceful person - asshole”.  I got a good laugh out of that, so I have to respond.
My answer is rooted in many of the articles I submitted, such as duality of responsibility, peaceful transformation, emotional control, society and the individual, where to draw the line and others. Within those I speak to the elements of understanding, learning and changing.

The answer speaks to the choices of responsibility and taking that responsibility seriously. There are a great many ways to change how we are progressing as a society. For starters get news from more than one source and not the mainstream news. Community newpapers are wonderful and usually free. If you live near a college or university all the better because there is usually an abundance of current information just waiting to be read.

Now after you have gone through all the reading and informing yourself you may have settled on a few issues that really concern you.  That is great because now you know where your heart leads you to help. Pick your issue and work to change that. Now you do not have to become the crazed protester if you do not wish to. Working behind the scene is just as effective if not more so.  A few letters of inquiry here and there, a few dollars there do make an impact. I am sure most of you have some sort of social networking avenue to exploit, use it.

For those that live in major cities you can drive less. Walk for a change it will do you more good. For those that play video games, STOP, get the hell out side and play.  Wear proper clothing in the winter, seriously it helps.

Here is one I would love to see, turn off the dam air conditioner, 25 celcius is not that hot. Here in Canada it is a common experience to walk into a home in the winter that is heated to 27 celcius and in the summer that very same house is cooled to 15 celcius. Really, what a wasteful society.

Demand products that are built to last and/or can be fixed. For example a wahsing machine, dryer or most appliances will only last ten years if you are lucky, it is usually thrown out and a new one purchased. Same as computers and other electronics. The automobile industry is terrible for this. A car starts to fall apart after five years. We have to demand better products that last and can be repaired.

For the love of all that is peaceful, quit shoving technology down everyones throat as if others who do not use it have clubbed appendages, cholera, leporsy, small pox, bad breath, a hiar lip, and a two lazy eyes at the same time. Technology only gets you so far, the body, mind, heart and work gets the bulk of it done. Anyone care to challenge that should go work in a post conflict area where society is being rebuilt. The parts of life that are of the most important do not need technology.

Factory farming techniques, fast food, and mass produced food are more dangerous than most of us realize at the moment. We will be paying a huge price in the near future because of these tactics which support our "busy" life styles. Hell no one today is busier than the couple raising eight children in 1903. Slow down, speed kills.

The tone of this article is condescending and really all I want is to motivate and provide options. It is all about enjoying as many experiences you can in life anyway.  With that I understand everyone is doing what they believe is the best they can with the options they have. 

Where to get advice

An element of international politics I have always found a bit insane is the constant rhetoric coming from the military powers. It is always the mighty countries with the wisdom of effective governance. If you look at the list of countries that are the least corrupt you will find the top three being New Zealand, Denmark and Finland. The highest ranking of the permanent five members of the Security Council is the United Kingdom tied 16, RUSA  24, France 25, China 75 and Russia 143.

To me, if I were going to take advice on how to operate a country I would go with a group within the top ten. To be honest, I have no idea how the RUSA got to be as high as 24, seeing as it was that system that caused the economic collapse the world is in.

We can also look at the failed states index, . This index looks at the stability of a country. The top three are: Finland, Norway and Sweden. The permanent five are: France 16, United Kingdom 18, RUSA 20, Russia 96 and China 108. Again this information tells us that if you want to build a peaceful society, none of the permanent five members of the Security Council are in the top ten countries, so why seek advice from them?

So here we are. The world is in a real tough spot and for some reason we keep looking to the same idiots that created this mess to get us out of it. I am not sure who I am more disgusted with, the average person for the sheep like mentality or myself for feeling that way. The average person is just too busy to even notice any of this information because in reality most are not all that impacted by it.

Here in Canada life is very much the same as it was in 1975, sure there are a few more gadgets but really nothing much has changed. However life has changed for the people in China and Russia. Other wise the world has rolled along with barely any major shakeups. Even the shit show of Iraq, Afghanistan and the attacks on the RUSA have only resulted in a delay of a few minutes at the airport/borders for the average person.

At this very moment I can hear all the drama queens, “Oh my god. You have no idea what I have been through since 9/11, economic collapse, tsunamis, earthquake or swine flu.” Well lets put this into perspective by comparing life here in Canada in 1943 to what it is like now.

Food rationing and curfews were daily realities. During that year you had to save up sugar for a month just to bake a cake, same with eggs, butter, milk, chocolate, tea, coffee etc.. The lights in your house had to out at 8,9 or 10pm depending on where you lived. Now today has anyone been impacted anywhere near that, I would have to guess it is very unlikely.

So here we go along again with the five permanent members of the security council. They have a gun pointed at everyone. Most of us are too preoccupied with getting text messages and coffee to really care or they are too terrified to do know what to do. I can understand both situations and I can excuse the people that are terrified, I am as well. But for those that are too preoccupied to care, I am at a loss of words for them. Being a person that tries to be peaceful I know smacking them upside the head is not really an option either. Perhaps one of the permanent five will do that? Oh wait they already are, dammit, we are screwed.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Duality of Responsibility

“The duality of responsibility we have” is a phrase that circled in my thoughts for many years. At that time in my life I had no idea it was even a subject of thought for old dead white guys (the usual philosophers).  As I moved through life I found out that most of them touched on this subject in many ways.  A few popular themes are conscience and sub-conscience, life and death. Machiavelli dealt with business life and home life, although most only focus on his point of “the ends justify the means, business at all cost” philosophy. The manner in which I think about duality is the responsibility to the self and the responsibility to society.
Within that framework I look at myself and the world, just so I can keep things in order to find a way through chaos. This is my method. You most likely have a different one. It would be a boring world if we did all think alike. Although I do wish that people did not suffer because of our differences of ideology. Within this method there are the struggles where self- preservation is in opposition to society.
Ghandi met that duality with starvation. People who put their lives on the line to ensure the safety of others are acts that take place every day around the world, these are the acts of martyrs, intended or not. The thought process of doing something to improve society at the cost of the self is the conflict of dual responsibility, eg., Mohamed Bouazizi.
Take any warlord and you will see self-preservation at the cost of society. Although they speak to the protection of society because they know that is the treasure of power. We can look at the situations in Syria and see both sides speaking to the needs of society. We can look at the United Nations Security Council and see each side making arguments for society. These are the leaders speaking. The people on the street also speak of society yet they also speak about their own lives.
If the question is asked, “why protest” the answer is usually, “We are tired of the corruption, insecurity, no jobs, no choice, no voice and what future is that? The desires of the self, met with the desires of the society.  
We can see self-preservation in the acts of countries as well. The RUSA is an easy target for such acts, just about every war they have started since 1962 has been about self-preservation. Israel is constantly barking about self-preservation.  
This method of understanding the world is helpful to see what the goals are of those that you face. Is the person or people out to ensure their own purpose or are they seeking to ensure the purpose of everyone. Even within that we have those that act with serious intent to secure the safety of society, but do so in a harmful manner, for example Hitler or a serial killer that preys on people they deem harmful.
At some point there will be a choice between yourself and society. People who choose to take public transit for example to help lower pollution are acting in benefit of society, buying fair trade products, recycling, donating to charities and other acts.
At the end of it all, this helps me sort through the garbage. I can listen to the words of others as they speak to helping society and then balancing that with how those words reflect the personal benefits. Just like the sales pitch we got from mobile phone companies, “buy these because in case of an emergency you can reach someone.” All of a sudden that emergency has now become, “Oh my god, what restaurant/bar are you at?” We sold out to the advertising campaign founded on safety but in reality it was to make a dollar. That example has more to it than the duality of responsibility though, a good idea gone to hell because of sell outs and suckers.
Going through the debate on duality of responsibility helps me see what my motivations are. I can ask why I have a desire to act in one way. I can understand if it is self-preservation or not. Perhaps I am not sure, which tells me I need to get clear, otherwise a huge mess is about to unfold. When that happens the task of peace just explodes.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Syria and United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

Down goes a resolution from the UNSC that deals with Syria. Now the blame for who killed it goes around. Both China and Russia did vote no on the resolution so they are the ones that will take the brunt of the blame. However as such things go, why table a resolution that was doomed before the vote was taken?
As the news reports come out we are hearing the reasons for the failure is premised upon the yes side seeking to blame the government of Syria and the no side seeking to blame everyone. Another reason is the yes side wanted to enforce a regime change and the no side wanted that to be left out as it is a decision of the people, not outsiders. There it is. The entire reason more people will die in Syria because the UNSC can not decide who to blame and support the government to step down.
This may sound harsh but I do agree with Russia and China that the UNSC should not enforce the government to step down. Now before you get all indignant, realize that sovereignty is a crucial element of being. Also realize that just because that point is not in the resolution does not mean it will not happen. Furthermore, the entire point of regime change is not possible at the moment considering the fact that the country is heading towards collapse.
At best, international politics is not an easy situation to grasp. People die and that is a fact, which I would rather not have happen. However, in the reality of international politics sovereignty matters. The two countries that have continued to uphold that are Russia and China, at the peril of many lives lost.
In my view I would not care who is to blame or what the future holds, the only concern is to stop the killing, return of peace and allow the Syrian people to figure out what to do next.
If the countries of the UNSC who voted yes cared about those that are killed they would not bother with who to blame. If the countries that voted no cared they would see that the current government in Syria at the very least, needs to be shaken up. The diplomats of the UNSC once again dug their heels in to show more care for their own politics than the lives of civilians.
Now, to be a bit of an ideologist here, this lack of concern for lives is in contrast to the very constitution of the United Nations and it spits in the face of the Responsibility to Protect.
What will happen now? More people will die, more weapons will flow into Syria, More rhetoric and words will spill out in the media as fingers point to blame.
What should happen? Someone should take all five permanent members of the UNSC outside, tie them to any peace  monument and give them a good smash upside the head, in hopes that some sense will go in.
These are the leaders we have. What a bunch of knobs.