The triumph of fear

By | 2003-03-26

A powerful article from Tikkun (one of the only major Jewish organisations to oppose the Iraqi invasion) which attempts to raise the anti-war argument to another plane. I quote some passages below to give the flavour, but the whole article is well worth printing out and reading.

1. The Decline of Hope

How could it have come to this? The fundamentally decent people of the United States destroying the homes and lives of innocent Iraqis, just twenty-eight years after most Americans were so sickened by war-making that they chose to abandon the ill-conceived war in Vietnam!

We would love to see Saddam Hussein’s regime replaced by a democratic and human rights-respecting regime in Iraq. But war is not the way to achieve that.

The human race has already recognized that any line of reasoning which leads to the conclusion that “I must kill some Other who stands in my way or does not act the way I wish” is a fallacious way of thinking.

Americans are in a state of fear, and that fear has been manipulated by militarists and political opportunists to lead ordinarily decent people to the conclusion that we can be safe only by wiping out others.

“Ah, the September 11 syndrome again?” you might wonder.

Well, yes, partly. But that fear goes much deeper than September 11. To understand it, we need to consider how it functions in the daily life experience of people. Let’s start by considering the central fallacy that underlies all this fear: the belief that we are separate from each other, and that our individual well-being can be achieved without the well-being of everyone else on the planet.

2. The Anti-War Movement

Rational arguments against the war-apologists have their place, and we should continue to refine them and do our best to communicate them. And if the bombs are falling, and Iraqis are being massacred, Americans with a moral conscience should also be willing to act in powerful and non-violently disruptive ways to challenge this war. Civil disobedience is on the agenda.

Yet if you have followed our argument up till here, you will understand that the most important task for the anti-war movement is to project a new vision of how to create safety. 

The most effective thing we can do it to get every American to grapple with the following question: will we be safer through more war and domination or more love and generosity? [emphasis added]

We’ve tried to coerce people into being good, being peaceful, and going along with our agendas. It hasn’t worked. The realists brought us the war in Vietnam, and now they are bringing us the war in Iraq.

So forget that realism. It doesn’t work. Remember that “reality” as portrayed by the media and by the government is only “their reality,” and that there are millions of people determined to shape another reality.

[L]et us proclaim that this is the time when the world needs utopian realism—a strategy of insisting that this is now the moment to rebuild the world upon a new bottom line of love and caring, ethical, spiritual, and ecological sensitivity, and awe and wonder at the grandeur of creation.

Source: MetaFilter

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