Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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.

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