My Sunday praise today is for all the people and organisations that work for peace. I have thought a lot about war lately. Bought on in part due to my increased awareness of government spending on war, and preparation for war, whilst cutting back on essential services. Not that this is anything new, and as a Quaker I have long opposed my taxes going towards war, but it´s more relevant today than ever.
Wars have become more common and some countries have fought an almost unbelievable amount of them in the years since the end of the second world war. Take for example The United States of America. I was going to list all the wars they have been involved in but the list would run into pages, it’s almost every single year since 1950. That´s shocking. It´s more than shocking, it´s immoral. This is the link if you´d like to see the long list for yourself here .
I chose North America as an example – I could have picked almost any nation on earth. Instead of us all evolving and finding more humane ways of settling our differences, we are going to war more often, and with more dangerous weapons than ever before. So what is happening here? Are we under the threat of attack more often than was true pre 1950? Has the world become so threatening and dangerous, that we now must constantly scan for “trouble spots” and send in the troops before these places threaten to overcome us?
Please folks, don´t believe a word of it. The one single good thing I can think of that has come from the now world-wide economic crisis is that most people have become aware of just how much governments everywhere are run by big business and extremely rich individuals.
Pre economic meltdown I was anti-war. I was anti-war because I am a pacifist. I believed and still do, that nothing was ever achieved long-term through a war. There are plenty of examples of non violent change to let us all know that its possible Mahatma Gandhi , Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela; these are just three of the more famous examples of men who achieved great change whilst refusing to embrace violence. So history has taught me that war is futile, and change is possible through pacifist means. Obviously as a Quaker, this is a subject which is close to my heart.
For years I thought wars were the result of a sort of blind ignorance to peaceful methods amongst our leaders. A lack of knowledge about better ways to manage conflict, and whilst I always thought war was wrong, for the longest time I was completely ignorant of the fact that governments actually lied about why they went to war. Yes, even the then young budding anarchist me was unaware of the breathtaking amount of involvement of big business in government. And this is the one good spin-off from the financial meltdown. There are now few people on the planet who don´t know governments are bought. Governments cover up, legislate and even start wars for the benefit of the people who pay them billions.
When I see young men and women (in all countries) going off to war, proud to be fighting for their country, I want to weep at the shame of it all; young people sent by rich people to die, not for honour, but to save profits, protect oil resources, control or put in place “friendly” foreign governments more likely to protect trade links……and a thousand other reasons, but not for honour; not for ideology; not because our governments really care what may or may not be happening to women or human rights of any kind: For money.
For the single most immoral reason I can think of : cold hard cash for the already rich. The absolute immorality of this is almost beyond words. We should shout in anger each time a young person is returned home in a box. Yes they were brave, yes they went off thinking they were defending their country, but they were lied to. They were fed the biggest lie of all, and it cost them their lives. It didn´t have to be this way. Shame on the people who did this.
And so my Sunday praise has to go to all the people and organisations that are attempting to end war. To all the young people who still hold peace rallies and know there is a better way. To all the people who put both their freedom and lives on the line by exposing the truth about war. For all the veterans who return and say, I was there; I know it´s wrong. We were all lied to.
Please, give peace a chance, and start this Sunday.
Have a good day everyone,