Not taking sides can be the side that really matters

Nick Taylor, CEO for Warrington’s Foundation for Peace, recently posted an article on LinkedIn saying they don’t take sides and that’s how they work. He asks:

Violent conflict is increasing, the first time since the second world war, and yet many of us are immune to the news feeds and the horrors that are taking place in front of our eyes. So what can you do to help? What do you think of our position? Do you think the side of ‘peace’ we take is right and will make a real and lasting difference? Join in the debate and let me know your thoughts.

These are my thoughts.

I’m already a convert to that way of thinking. Revenge creates more revenge. “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. If things don’t change, they’ll stay the same.

Mind you, not taking sides and tackling the violence with peaceful means is slow, it is hard work, it is a long slog, it is not glamorous, it does not win votes and does not result in valuable non-executive directorships in weapons manufacturers. It also reduces widows, orphans and embittered young men but also reduces opportunities for global corporations to implement ‘economic developments’ for the benefit of their shareholders. Before we know where we are we’ll be talking about open communication, understanding, cautious respect, individual empowerment and sustainable local economies.

So, can’t we just send in some more airstrikes? (I don’t mind who just so long as it is someone else.) They make better TV news than peace talks. I know they’ll mean another generation or two of easily-recruited martyrs, but I’m sure yet more airstrikes can deal with them. If we bomb them enough (whoever ‘them’ might be next week), they’ll thank us eventually.

Forgive the above sarcasm, but current and recent foreign policies of “bomb / drone / airstrike / missile them into submission to gain peace” is blatantly insane, ignorant and short-sighted.

War ends when the remaining survivors prefer peace. The sooner we get there, the better. But adding more guns and explosives to the conflict surely cannot be the way to get to that point, can it?

For humanity’s sake all this killing needs to slow down, calm down, and pause long enough for some listening to happen. Or genocide. It’s one or the other.

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