Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Peace, hope and faith

Across the world the threat of extreme religious sects are causing a great deal of violence. How and why these groups have become a reality is very clear to those that are strong enough to understand the reality of our actions. Basically a person acts violently because they have lost hope in the current leadership, lost control of themselves to be peaceful and their faith in peace has been destroyed. Moving from the basic ideology to the complex, the cold war mentality has allowed groups to play off the Permanent Five members of the United Nations Security Council (P5). In this reality people have lost faith in peaceful means because of the inability of the world leaders to work together and act peacefully. In truth there is no one starting point to say that was where everything went wrong. However the world had its best opportunity to bring peace after World War II. This point in time has made the Middle East a hot bed of hatred. From there we have many Central and South American states in perpetual civil war, African countries in turmoil, many Balkan states have been at war, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other areas impacted by the division of the Permanent Five members of the United Nations Security Council (P5). To get very pointed, the use of Viktor Bout is a clear example of how the P5 have allowed wars to rage on. Again the illegal invasion of Iraq is another example of the P5 lack of peaceful leadership. More recently the situation in Ukraine is now playing out in the cold war mentality. Sadly the leaders do not pay the price of their idiocy. They sit there a wonder why youth are joining groups like the Islamic State. With the situation in Ukraine we know the western countries supported the initial coup attempt, which went out of control. Now the entire situation is being blamed on Russia. Although Russia has been supporting rebels, would this situation even be taking place if the initial coup was not started by western nations? Even though that question is there, answering it is not important because it has no bearing on replacing the peace in Ukraine. Letting go of such answers to place blame is the foremost urgent need. In reality we are all to blame equally. This is where the hope and faith in a peaceful world must come in. We must realize that acting with violence has not brought peace in almost every war that has taken place. Killing each other certainly will not work in the Ukraine, Middle East or other places. What we are left with is the method which brings every war to an end - negotiations. From there we must take great steps to teach the next generation to act with faith in peace. Teaching the next generations to act with such faith in peace is our only hope to realize peace. Each of us must take courageous steps to forgive past wrongs and not to seek blame. For peace to take hold we need a strong show of faith and hope that peace is possible.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Freedom of Speech, Religion and Responsibility

First of all it must be completely understood that anyone can do whatever they want. The argument is whether a person should do what whatever they want. For example, people have the ability to say or act upon the most hateful ideology. People also have the ability to act on the most loving ideology. Within those dichotomies is the reality of thought, which everyone must control and will experience. The difficulty is managing thoughts before a person moves into actions. In essence this is a psychological warfare playground. In the realm of psychology, thoughts are first played upon in order to bring a person into a state of mind or belief. From that state of mind, a person has the capacity to act. No law or decree can stop an individual from acting however they choose to act once that person has decided to act. Again, we must fully understand that only the individual controls themselves. Each of us has the capacity to act in the most peaceful or the most hateful manner. That is the reality. Each of us must decide how we are going to act. At this moment I can write or draw whatever I choose to. This is the crux of the issue with freedom of speech and religion – self-control and responsibility. Outside of self-control we must interact with society. As we interact with others, each of us is responsible for peace in society. The decision to spread peace is our responsibility. Society is made of other people who have their own guidelines for what is allowable. To ensure there are general understandings of social conduct we look to leaders who inform us of acceptable actions. This is how we have built cultures, religions, and other organizations of social structure. From these organizations we must understand how government, religious and citizen leadership relations are very much needed for a positively peaceful society. In simplicity there are the Ten Commandments. One of these ten is the rule that we shall not kill. Now apparently the Jewish faith, Christian faith and the Islamic faith all follow the Ten Commandments. So how is it acceptable to incite death because someone draws a picture of God? That question has been answered by some who have deemed it acceptable to kill someone for drawing a picture of God. As we delve into freedoms, there are constraints on what a person thinks. These constraints come from moralistic ideologies which are played out in the many cultures and religions around the world. As we move through social issues, each of us must understand that each of us has to make their own decisions. However, each of us has to contend with what consequences are acceptable. Also we must understand the relations between what we think, what we say and what we do. The culmination of those three realities defines who you are. If you draw a picture of god, you are an artist to some and a blasphemer others. If you kill a person for drawing a picture of god, you are a killer. If you are killed for drawing a picture of god, you are a martyr, a victim, an artist, and a blasphemer. These are some of the freedoms of choice people have made. Choice is personal yet we must take others into consideration. That is our responsibility.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Tactics of war, the need for change

Going on its fourth year of violence, the war in Syria has made some big steps in regional and global chaos. At the outset of this war almost every world leader sided with the rebel faction. This support even called for the overthrow of the leadership of Syria. Today we have a clear understanding that the rebels are now known as the Islamic State – (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or Islamic State in Levant). The difference of these names is easiest to understand by seeing the ISIS as an internal focus and ISIL as the global focus. To make things even confusing the phrase Islamic State terrorists has even been used. Either way, the world is dealing with a group of misguided and lost souls who are hell bent on violence. If such people really were devout followers of their religion, killing anyone would be seen as killing yourself. However, killing is what is being done. Thus far the leadership of the world has failed completely in handling this war. Those that sought regime change are now proven to be wrong and have wasted both time and resources in such a pursuit. Here we are today with an even greater mess to deal with. In order to end this war there will have to be large numbers of boots on the ground. Old school tactics of building front lines have to be employed. The American tactic of forward operating bases, has failed miserably in two if not three or four wars and needs to be abandoned in face of such failure. The tactic that must be employed is the exact same tactic of the Islamic State. This tactic is to move in and stay, never leave, remain in force, patrol and police every step you take from one end of the country to the other until there is no more need. This tactic is without a timeline, has unknown cost and will consume untold resources and people. However it is a tactic that has and will work, unlike the tactics of Afghanistan and Iraq. In short the tactic is like a pebble hitting the water. From this top down tactic there needs to be and equal effort of bottom up peacebuilding. The grass roots peacebuilding is easier to accomplish with establishing frontline tactics. With such grass roots efforts the reliance on religion is going to be very much needed. Never mind the nuances of religion, the focus must be on the basics of peace which each religion is rooted upon. In fact religion can even be left out of the conversation and the word peace put its place because peace is all that the leaders of each religion asked for. Twist the words of such religion all you want yet Islam follows the same God as the Jewish and Christian religions. With that it is hard to see how the Commandment of Thou shall not kill is over ruled. Both Moses and Jesus bowed to the will of the law to the point where they accepted punishment and death before they would use violence. Even though religion is a major theme in the Syrian war, reality proves that it is the furthest reason or cause. The only reason for this war is rooted in the seven deadly sins. Furthermore, each religion tells us that the best way to fight evil is to ignore it, tell it to go away. Engaging with evil only brings more. Unfortunately most of us do not have the same level of trust and faith as Moses and Jesus.