Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Revising Nationalism or Condoning Slaughter: Part II

Posted by Cardozo

I was heartened to read of the Israeli Prime Minister’s proffered olive branch to the Palestinian leadership – a wholly unexpected bright spot in what has seemed a never ending cycle of dreadful world events. This news reminded me that compromise and the high road still exist, and must always, because…

I refuse to believe in the inherent maliciousness of humankind, or of any individual human being. Is this my Achilles heel, Bush? Does it reflect a naiveté, preventing me from arriving at sound opinions on world affairs until I rid myself of its intoxicating illusions? Perhaps. Nevertheless, the belief in the goodness of humanity is what propels and surrounds me; without it, I would not be Cardozo but some other being.

Clearly, the goodness inherent in all creation is not generally assumed in politics. Otherwise you would not go around creating axes of evil. Neither would Osama bin Laden launch a jihad against massive populations of “infidels,” nor would governments employ capital punishment to snuff the life out of those who commit murder.

It is equally clear that a belief in evil incarnate has failed to bring about more good in the world. Death, disease, and dis-ease are as rampant now as they were in any page of the history book.

How would it change the world, if, as its superpower, America began to assume that its enemies were not acting out of an endemic badness, but something else? Would it alter your strategy in the “war on terror” if you had absolute faith that inside the body cavity of every suicide bomber from Gaza to Saudi Arabia lurks a beautiful, if corrupted soul?

I would never suggest that terrorist atrocities go unpunished. But it’s time to try out a more nuanced strategy in combating violence, one predicated on the belief that violent people are driven to violence by hatred and a sense of victimization (real or perceived.) And while hatred is inflamed by more hatred, it will always succumb, in the end, to compassion, understanding, and perspective. (The pillars, by the way, of progressivism, Bush.)

Why does the world revere Ghandi, King, and Mandela – the great exemplars of passive resistance? Because, Bush, these leaders risked both life and limb; staked them on the idea that hatred can be diffused by incontrovertible evidence of our common humanity. The world makes heroes of such men. The idea strikes a chord. How about we try it for a while, by investing in the hope of peaceful coexistence between ourselves and the entire league of nations? There are many who would gladly wipe us off the map entirely, if given the chance. Can we win them to peace by showing restraint, not bloodthirsty vengeance? By showing humility, compromise, and an acknowledgement that we, too, have sinned?

What might such a foreign policy look like, in practice? That’s the debate we need to have.

8 comments:

PeterAtLarge said...

I'm with you on this one, Cardozo. It strikes me that many of those in power (particularly, I regret to say, the men--and not only our own!) have such a fear of appearing naive or, worse still, weak, that they are led to strut and posture and preen around the world, to obviously detrimental effect. In the immortal, and perhaps painfully naive words of John Lennon: Give peace a chance!

Carly said...

P: You guys should see the documentary, if you havn't already: Why We Fight.

It puts a whole new angle on your touchy, feely emotions. IT'S A BUSINESS!! for crissake. What's the statistic? Our empire has something like 134 bases in 98 countries. The actual numbers are in the movie.

Plus there is what Einstein said, "As long as there are men, there will be wars".

There is one thing that may limit future war monger posturing, wars are getting too expensive in light of the upcoming other problems.

While you're believing in the good of the common man, got any idea when he is going to put his foot down about stopping all this crap?

Hey, there's a great movie about that too, Joyeux Noel. or Merry Christmas from Netflix. Must see film about what the common man really believes about war, his superiors, etc. And it's a true story.

Cardozo said...

Carly,

You say that "it's a business" and I can only agree with you, given the seeming callousness with which wars, atrocities, and responses to atrocities are executed.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Remember the debate over the execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams last year? There's an example of a convicted murderer who spent his prison life working to convince young black kids to stay out of gangs. This clear sign of humanity won him a mass following of folks who appealed for his pardon.

What I'm saying is that people act differently when confronted with the real, live human being rather than the "monster" that the words "murderer" and "terrorist" invoke.

Starting to reinforce our common humanity between nations is a concrete, not a touch-feely step. How to actually begin this process?
That's another story.

Thanks for the comment.

PK said...

Peter, hi:). We don't just have the ones in power struttin' their stuff... we have separate parts of our populations who are of the same mind. They keep things stirred up with their witty, sarcastic remarks. They are difficult to avoid. I would like to see peace be given a chance, if only we can stop the rhetoric from those who "strut and posture and preen around the world"... and their followers. ..Cardoza, good post:).

Carly said...

C: Didn't mean to throw you off with 'touchy, feely". I agree with you 110%. I only meant to remind, that the world does not revere Ghandi, King, and Mandela as we do. Only some of us do.

In a world like that, to think the trillion dollar business of militarism will ever go away with or without upheaval is a pipe dream. Einstein is probably right. It's not so much that wars are executed as a business, but that they are the RESULT of the business of weaponry and weapon systems, which are being designed for future wars in space. The man in the photo with the black cloth of death wrapped about his head, loves to blow things up. It concerns his sexual, egomaniacal superiority.

If Peter is listening, I would say, we sometimes project our despair on a vision, but the reality is that some men are deeply evil and revel in it as we do in art.

That warrior presents a new, invigorating challenge to design even more elaborate war capabilities. Thus the business redoubles itself automatically. It's growing evolving. They call it the "art" of war. The posturers are merely the front men, the shills who sell an illusion to the man in the street,.

Yes, there are many examples such as Tookie's. But, I am reminded that when push comes to shove at the level of business, the greatest of these was crucified and the others were assasinated. You are right again, how to proceed is a huge if not insurmountable problem. (First, ban Play Station.)

Magnanimous leaders on a world scale are murdered. And there is the problem that power at that level corrupts the greatest of men. Example, Alexander the Great.

But we can dream, can't we? Personally, I dream of omnipotent power and would punish the one's doing the evil. I am planning a series of work on the subject, inspired by the Kriminalmuseum in Rothenburg, Germany I recently visited. Can you imagine Bush in a shame mask and Rummy in a iron maiden and Bin Laden in a chair of nails?

Let us temper our idealism. They think we are fools, but no, we artists are dreamers who cannot be fooled.

Please. See Merry Christmas (Netflix), a brilliant, poetic film on this subject. Peter will like it for it includes a country pastor.

GringoWithoutBorders said...

Cardozo, hits another home run! Well Done!! Let us remember the following:

1.) George Washington was a terrorist and also had a bounty on his head.

2.) Not all people respect & revere these great men of moral integrity (King, Mandela & Gandhi) as they ALL, every single one, stood AGAINST the racism of Zionist Israel and in support of the Palestinians. Can you believe that Carly? Imagine, the intellectual dishonesty when Zionists try to label them anti-semitic and drag their good names throught the mud!

Carly, did you know that USA spends more on the Military then ALL, every single other nation in the world COMBINED and USA is the world’s largest arms dealer, 48% of all world arms sales in 2003, up from 41%!

Yes, it really is amazing, the more one learns the more the illusions shatter.

Cardozo said...

Carly:
I will definitely try to catch those films.

I would submit that business is not an evil in itself. Businesses are run by human beings, and human beings are subject to a moral compass. Yes, infusing business with morality is a large task, and maybe insurmountable, but a better approach (to me) than retribution of the fat cats.

Gringo:
You are clearly all about the zionism, as a root cause of...everything bad in the world?

I have to say you have great points and excellent stats to bring up, but if you agree with the spirit of my last post, wouldn't you also agree with the following:

that mistakes made during the creation of the Jewish state may have had something to do with PTSD after Jewish persecution throughout Europe and elsewhere?

After all, the Jews were a targeted people! The desire for a haven makes sense.

Yes, I believe that the Zionist movement did not give due respect for the Arab inhabitants of the land they wanted for Israel.

But that is now in the past, and it makes as much sense to give the land back, as it does for U.S. citizens to pack up and leave.

I am clearly not as well-versed in the conflict as you are, but it certainly seems you are singling out Jews in a rather punitive way.

Let me as you a direct question: Do you believe Palestinian suicide bombs in Israeli buses and marketpalces are an appropriate means of resistance?

GringoWithoutBorders said...

Sorry Cardozo, I’m against ALL Racism not just Zionism, which is criminally supported by many Jews and many “White” Christians alike but very few others including the Earth’s blacks, Latinos, Asians and many Europeans. Please revisit my comments on November 28th regarding my support and friendship with fellow Jews. I hold ALL my friends, regardless of race/religion, to the same moral standard I hold all humans. Just like being against the KKK is not being against all American white people, nor is being against Nazism, being against all German people. Hopefully, you still honor the intelligence, compassion and integrity of men like Gandhi, Mandela and King for their similar stance in regards to their description of the immoral and unethical ideology of Zionist Israel. I do believe that Zionism is the root cause of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, NOT all world conflict as you said.

The Zionist ideology DID NOT happen AFTER WWII, this racist ideology essentially began in 1896 and then with the Balfour Declaration of 1917(Please read, only 3 paragraphs) which was later expounded upon and replaced with a further explanation by the British Occupiers in the White Papers of 1939, to which the idea of partitioning Palestine into 2 racist states was abandoned in favor of an independent Palestine governed jointly by Arabs and Jews, which I support. Both saying, “being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country".

Your article referring to Israeli Prime Ministers “Olive Branch”, is a typical biased example, although I do hope he is serious. This is actually the way the news occurred in international news sources:

23 Nov 2006. “Palestinians offer rocket ceasefire”
24 Nov 2006. “Israel Rejects Offer”
25 Nov 2006. “Hamas says they will begin 3rd Intifada”
26 Nov 2006. “Mid East Leaders commit to Truce”
27 Nov 2006. “Olmert Reaches out to Palestinians”

Furthermore, Cardozo states that what has happened is in the past and land cannot be returned. I guess we should not have freed the blacks after a few hundred years of slavery. Maybe Gandhi should have packed his bags instead of fighting for freedom from 1918-1946. To bad you cannot say that to the Zionists who refer to crimes over thousand of years, to support their brutal occupation. Why give women the right to vote in America after they were considered property for 300 years. You do not make sense. Things should change and people should be freed from medieval racism and ideologies of hate and separation!

As far as suicide bombing, the first Palestinian suicide bomber was in 1994!!!! Not that long ago huhh. This occurred, after Goldstein, a Brooklyn-born Israeli settler who, dressed in his military uniform, entered Hebron's Ibrahimi mosque during Ramadan in 1994 and killed 29 Palestinian worshipers before he was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher. Israel's response was to put the Palestinians of Hebron, but not the Israeli settlers, under total curfew. After the 40-day mourning period, the first Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up inside Israel. Just think after 70+ years of invasion, genocide, racism did one Palestinian finally turn to this desperate act. Pretty amazing it took so long!

Here is where I stand. I support the use of ALL resources, virtually ANYTHING, in repelling an invader, occupier or racist/genocidal policy. I also hold to account ALL civillians in a democracy for the racist or genocidal policies of their elected government, as they are directly responsible for any crime committed by their democratic government, in a democratic society there is no escaping ones responsibility in immoral and racist atrocities. I also believe that humans in desperate situations such as invasion, occupation, genocide and racism have every right to fight all humans who support these evil polices whether these evil individuals provide moral, financial or military support. I also believe that children should not be used, however not sure about age (a 16 year old living under genocide and occupation is much older and has more life experience then a 16 year old living in America), or be forced to commit this act, only those who have free will. Furthermore, these defenders may not only fight All Israeli citizens but also All American civilians, as we democratically support this racist genocide in our unethical moral, financial and military support. I am not a pacifist and do believe in ones inherent right to self defense. I would love to believe in pacifism but I have been involved in the realities of invasion and occupation and have serious doubts as to its effectiveness against an invader or occupier that feels a racial/religious superiority over that of different humans. Mass psychoses, is a human phenomenon which is not stopped by pacifism as both German Jews and Palestinian Muslims can attest to.

If you would like to stop the defenders from using all means available to liberate themselves, either 1.) Immediately stop the genocide and racism it attempts to legitimately fight or 2.) Provide F-16s and tanks so that they may use those instead of their bodies, just as you provide to the criminal occupiers. One uses their body because they have no other recourse and they target civilians because they cannot destroy the thick military armor of tanks that condemns them to a life of occupation & genocide. Also it is the only way to bring attention to the crimes, as 70+ years of suffering did nothing.

I also support all humans who live under Dictatorships, to fight for their lives and freedom from both the dictator and his criminal moral, financial or military supporters. This includes all Pakistanis, Saudis, Kuwaitis, Egyptians, ect.. in their fight against the USA supported dictators they are forced to live under.

May I ask you a couple questions Cardozo? Do you believe that humans should be separated by race and religion? Do you agree with policies that mandate one race/religion should always rule a given territory? Do you agree with international law that ALL refugees have the human right to return to their property?