Thursday, December 20, 2012

Guns, constitutions and hypocrisy

Each of us has a responsibility to protect the rights of others. That responsibility is not often made clear in societies where personal freedom is paramount. In no small manner was that right to protect usurped in the Soviet Union. The collapse of the Soviet Union had more to do with the corruption and greed of those that ruled. The responsibility to each other gave way to ensuring the best lifestyle for the individual at the expense of country and culture.
The very same attitude is at the crux of gun control in the Republic of the United States. In the coming months we will hear the arguments about the right being enshrined in constitutions. The reality is that the right which is being debated is band aid/patch work to the original. With that there must be some wisdom applied to understand that amendments are very much time/circumstance oriented.
In other countries such as Belgium, the constitutional talks there had left them without elected government for months. This was due to language protection. Although there has been little violence over the course of the decades long conflict, the fact remains that the constitution was in need of change. Similar to Canada during 1982 and has always been on a slow burn of political discussion.
At this very moment Egypt is dealing with its constitution. Syria had a public vote during 26 Feb 2012 which resulted in an 80% agreement to change the constitution. Of course that was shot to hell as rebel and government forces clashed.
Even with these constitutions, which spell out the responsibility of the people, the reality is that constitutions are only documents invented/shaped by our ideology. As we know, ideology can and will evolve. As ideology evolves so will culture. Overall, the culture of the world has been changing and the control of weapons is one area that has an urgent need of evolution.
It is true that weapons will always be apart of life. A pointed stick or a rock is always available, as are knives, and let us not forget the most deadly weapon – our minds. At debate is the availability of weapons. This fact is very evident in conflict zones. There are so many weapons in East Africa that no one really knows where they all are or how many. This is how we get 12 year old children being experts on how to maintain and operate a wide variety of small weapons such as rocket propelled grenades.
In the past five years we have seen great efforts to curtail the weapons trade industry. There has been some success but there still is a long way to go. To that end I understand the reality of war and come to terms with the fact that a total ban is just not possible (yet).  In addition I know that education is a frontline issue in this conflict as well. Still, the curtailing of weapons is needed.
As shocking as such events are, the average person is numb to the vastly more devastating carnage taking place. Thousands of people are being killed by the very governments that speak out against such violence. This is the hypocrisy of world politics. Until that is changed more innocent people will be victims, never mind constitutional change. First live up to the current standards we have set because at the moment we are doing a very poor job of that.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

ramble of peace

As each year closes out we like to look back and see what has transpired. Such an exercise should help us improve on our methods to bring peace to the world. In the grand picture there is a great deal more certainty in the world than there has been in some time. Even with that grand picture there are areas we have much work to focus on.
There is no way to know what will be the point where a person decides to kill someone else unless you are the person making the decision.  If you are not that person, all you can do is be aware of those around you. At some point we must acknowledge that everyone (you and me) has a responsibility to ensure a peaceful world. No leader can massacre thousands of people without the assistance of others. That leader can be a warlord, president, gang leader, terrorist or whatever label a person gives themself.
Each person that engages in violent actions has gone through some sort of metamorphosis. This change/transformation is education. That education is provided by the daily interactions with the people in which each of us live our lives. So when a single person acts in a violent way we must look at how the larger society has influenced that single person. That understanding is supported by the widely held philosophy which states; it takes a community to raise a child. Furthermore, it takes a community to ensure a peaceful environment as well.
Each one of us is unique. There are no two people alike. There are no two countries alike either. What there is though is commonalities each of us share. We can equate the actions of the individual with the actions of their government. This is a reality because no government can act without the consent of the people. Due to this there will be times when the individual will act exactly as the government. If the government is brutal, it is because there will be those that must act in a similar manner. How else does a government act brutally if not through its agents? The same goes for the community, family, gangs, corporations or any other group of people.
I keep telling myself that everyone acts in a manner that they feel is best to ensure a peaceful society. It is my responsibility to understand how someone can believe that a violent act is the best option they have. On the international stage how is the situation in Syria the best option for peace?
On the surface it seems like a proxy war. Some call it a civil war while others call it an international conflict. In my opinion Syria is first class lie/screw up. The best option for peace is for each person that reads this to demand better leadership. We must have the courage to stand up to the hawks and tell them might is not right. We must seek to have as many weapons as possible controlled more effectively. Further more we must educate about peace. We have to prepare to be peaceful because in moment s of chaos there is very few that can act with a calm and peaceful attitude.
Peace education in our schools is something that can no longer be an afterthought. Peace education needs to be a focus. Community building and understanding that it takes a community to ensure peace is needed.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Middle East Hypocrisy

The reality of the world has its share of moments that are just unavoidable such as earthquakes. Then there are moments where hypocrisy creates untold damage and blame is thrown around. In the past few days we have seen such hypocrisy.
Within the past few days the United Nations General Assembly has voted on the status recognition of Palestine. Another vote that was taken within the United Nations system is the observance of nuclear facilities within Israel. In both circumstances Israel has voted against. To my shame so has Canada. The hypocrisy of such actions is that both (Israel and Canada) have fought very hard for freedom of self expression as well as for other states to have nuclear facilities observed. The hypocrisy of voting no against either of those is just being blind to reality and perhaps being completely stupid.
For a peaceful world to exist we must be willing to accept conditions of ourselves that we ask others to accept. Sadly, as a global society, we are far away from that reality. I know we live in a world where might makes right and our leaders live by the phrase, “do as I say not as I do”. For a person that works towards a peaceful society, those two beliefs are foundations for understanding a great deal of the violence that exists.
We witness the hypocrisy daily as people pray for peace and then commit acts of extreme violence. Such actions are examples of insanity. How do you reason with a person that will stand up and state with great conviction that they are a peaceful person, only to see that very person killing another a few hours later? This is exactly what the world deals with and everyone reading this understands that is true.
Here we are today. If there is no one shocked at the views of the individuals speaking for Canada, they should at least be utterly disappointed. These views are not Canadian they are one persons singular hijacking of the peaceful culture that Canada has so bravely built. Such actions has only added more hypocrisy and chaos to the world.  
However, such hypocrisy is also held within many of the countries around the world. There are very few people that would rather live in chaotic, violent and uncertain situations than live in peace. Here we stand today seeking ways to eliminate nuclear weapons, spread equality, end violent conflict and bring the certainty of peace to children. At the same time we continue to build nuclear weapons and rattle our sabres in threat of violence.
The saving grace is that those that voted for both were of such great numbers that peace was given a very large boost. The world has spoken. Now will it act with similar conviction?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Statehood for Palestine

Palestine is one more step further along the road to full statehood.
The history of the Middle East is one that is filled with broken promises. That is the single reason why the acts of the past must be let go, not forgotten but let go. Everyone in this region has incurred great damage, lies, deceit and blatant violent hatred.
The state of Palestine is not an evil empire any more than Israel is. The evil comes from the people which are taught to hate, not the state itself. We have to understand that a government does not really exist. It is this simple, a state does not exist if the people do not. So to say the Palestine is an evil empire is in reality not possible because Palestine is made up just like every other country we invent. With that if the people change so will the government. So to say the Palestine does not deserve to be recognized as a state because of its ideology is absurd. Perhaps this understanding is too simplistic for most but the reality remains. The people are the government and people will and do change.
We have been living with chaos in the Middle East for centuries and enough is enough. To be honest I really do not care who fired what rocket or who lied to whom.  The fact is that there has been no resolution to the idiocy that has gripped the Middle East and we must seek other options. Recognizing Palestine is a step that is long over due.
We often forget that boundaries, cultures, people and realities change. In forty years we have the opportunity to look back and see this step as the force which brought peace. I hope that is the reality in forty years. As I look around at the leadership of the current world, I have serious doubts. There is a deep distrust today because no one has taken the bold steps towards peace. Let this step be that motivator of peace, not further violence and war.
The violence and distrust that exists in the Middle East is easily understood. Basically there is a great level of insanity within the leadership of the entire region. How else can you make sense of why people choose to live within such chaos? This is what people are not understanding, the situation in the Middle East has come about due to choice. The choice has been to live in a violent, chaotic and peaceless environment, why?
I can hear the answer loudly stated as this. “Because they can not be trusted! They do not want peace! They have never honoured any peace agreement!”
You just have to step back and see how the blaming of others is a zero sum strategy. It solves nothing and only continues a cycle of aggravation as those that are being blamed respond by justification of their actions. We have been witnessing this very reality in the Middle East for centuries now.
The “Two State Solution” is one more step towards completion. How long it will take or even if it happens is only guess right now. Recognizing Palestine as a state is a path that needs to be tried.