Like most people I was shocked at the events in Paris recently and some of the response from around the world. After various conversations and reading it got me thinking about our notion of war and our notion of peace.
What is peace? Is peace always the absence of war? What is the purpose of war? If people describe themselves involved in a faith as peaceful what does that mean?
Peace as a noun can mean freedom from disturbance: tranquillity
War as a noun is defined as a state of armed conflict between different countries or different groups within a country.
Those are what I call strict definitions. But there larger uses to these words, peaceful resolution, war on want, warlike, peacemaker amongst many other uses.
I think most people want and believe in peace, but how do we get it and maintain it. For those who believe in peace, is there a possibility of having peace without conflict or any kind of disturbance to it? Can we really have peace without experiencing war in order to appreciate peace?
After considering pacifism I have problems with the notion of it. One of which is that we can have peace without conflict, another is that communication and negotiation prevent war, hmm well I disagree for various reasons.
1 Peace without conflict
How realistic is this notion, in everyday life we can find ourselves in a form of conflict or disagreement, whether it’s ideas, beliefs, opinions and that’s just in human conversation. How can we avoid conflict, the fact is we simply can’t. Interestingly marriages that never have conflict tend to break down more than those that do. They bury their issues and they fester. I can think of a country that’s a bit like that apparently there is peace, but more like an uneasy or fragile one where there’s been a huge compromises so that certain groups don’t pick up arms again, suspicion still reigns and the power is really in the hands of people who may well have bloody hands and never been brought to justice. To me that’s not peace that’s intimidation and manipulation how is that peace.
I’m the kind of person that hates conflicts and arguments, and I would avoid it as much as possible even though I could have an argumentative mind and could argue. Many years ago I remember confronting someone over an issue something that they had done behind my back, this person received what I had to say with good grace and it really improved the relationship, I learnt a valuable lesson, a relationship without conflict or confrontation is not a secure relationship, but one where there is that level of honesty is secure, I gained respect as a result of that confrontation. Over the years I had many conflicts with that person to this day although I have no contact with them anymore (not for any bad reason) there’s still respect and ultimately trust.
2 Communication and negotiation prevent war
If pacifists believe this notion then why are some of them the most difficult to have dialogue with, they don’t practice what they preach with words. I have found they tend to win an argument rather than a relationship. If they really believe in pacifism they would handle discussions, debates differently, they may not use guns or believe in the use of them but their mouths are pretty good ammo. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Much destruction and pain can be caused by words.
Does this mean I’m a proponent of war? , yes but only in some conditions. First I will address some causes of war.
I get irritated that people will say religion causes wars, well yes some, but many are caused by other things, land, tribal issues, greed, resources. The Falkland islands was over territory, something like 98% of them wanted to remain in the UK. The conga, conflict there was over gold, Rwanda, tribal issues.
These are the conditions to go to war, defence of territory from an invasion, protecting people around you from threat of attack from outside territory which should be proven obviously, defending those who can’t defend themselves.
Does this mean I’m a war monger, far from it, there are stupid reasons for war, some based on ridiculous ideologies, some based on, the idea we bomb the hell out of a place then rebuild it, no they are not good reasons. There has to be a valid reason for war but also an objective once war is over. I do believe in peace as far as possible, yes I believe in negotiation, but remember even saying the wrong thing could create conflict anyway, I believe war should be a last resort when other options have been exhausted. As I write this discussion about bombing Syria is being discussed, I don’t like the idea of bombing the place, I think it plays into the wrong hands at the same time there are know threats to this countries security, does that mean we sit back and do nothing and have another July 7th? Well I’ll leave that with you to make up your own mind. In the meantime I purse peace not war. Peace everyone.