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The Conflict and Death of the Party August 16, 2006

Posted by Matt Hurst in Philsophy, Politics.
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nothing to see hereBombs away! Another day, another round of munitions fired. Safely tucked behind projected screen, projecting the line of fire into my home, I am tempted to be an armchair analyst. After all, from watching the news you would think that a smart bomb targeting “the enemy” were a discriminating as a bullet. The aftermath is just all of us in collateral (damage).It’s redundant to say that the Middle-East is a cycle of violence, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The central conflict is created in the same way as it’s solutions, in that the wars are always waged for and between “us and them”. Jewish people see their “people” threatened and killed every day by “the enemy”, and so too do the Lebanese (and likely Arab people as a whole). Even the Christians are interested in the deaths of other Christians. Not that this is a religious conflict necessarily; all I see is people suffering and dying on both sides. It’s a question of affiliation, a dichotomy of “us and them”, “our people and the enemy”.

This is not just a case in the Lebanon/Israel/Hizbollah conflict, but in our own in the middle east. The United States has a history of propping up leaders/dictators of our own, and tearing down democratically elected leaders of their own. In the past their have been secular democracies in the middle east, but don’t tell the Bush League that. Lest we forget that this is not just how the Iranian Revolution started, but also Iraq where CIA asset Saddam Hussein was installed in a coup (or two). Using our puppets to control states “for their own good” and to wage war against each other (see the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s, or Lebanon-Syria), we have sabotaged all future efforts to bring peace and freedom to these people.

As long as people see themselves as separate in identity, it is easy to vilify the others. It becomes easy to injure the other when they are less human than you, if only because they share different values or perspective. In the meantime, you see people like yourself being injured, and enter this defensive perspective towards the other. The very act of violence reinforces this separation between “peoples”, and thusly inspiring future generations of violence. This is the cycle created as people lash out against the other in successive waves of conflict. In the end it is never important who started a conflict when everyone is left bloody.

Perhaps then it shouldn’t be surprising that our occupation of Iraq spurs protest mostly on the basis of “our troops” who have lost their lives to this quagmire. Not to diminish the lives lost by brave men sworn to defend “their country” upon request (because they can only follow the orders to march towards their own peril), but we often neglect the suffering of another contingent; the Iraqi people. The deaths of some 100,000+ Iraqi people, almost entirely civilian, and perhaps more through collateral damage brought on by war is almost entirely forgotten in the debate. The very occupation of our forces in the country encourages conflict, and endangers the lives of American and Iraqi alike as they threaten each other over sovereignty. Every life lost is significant, and a tragedy for all parties involved.

For now, the portrayal of a conflict depends entirely on who is hurting “your” people. WE must recognize the humanity in everyone. WE must recognize that WE are ALL <i>each others</I> people; that we are part of the same human community. Only then will we stop hurting each other, as we treat them as our own.

all lines open August 2, 2006

Posted by Matt Hurst in dialogues.
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America, is that you? I’ve been calling you all week, where have you been? Don’t tell me you were out helping your friend, I heard all about it on the news. Yeah, I know you have to keep your secrets, but what’s a secret between friends. I mean we used to be friends. You changed.

Me? I’ve been crossing the Delaware again. Remember when I used to live around there? How could either of us forget, it could’ve been a turning point for you too. No, they shut down washington’s park, but washington square is open for business. I know New York’s a mess, but will you stop sending your relatives to ground zero. No, it’s just that they have no respect in that house, as if nothing is sacred to them anymore.

Speaking of which, will you stop using that god voice with georgie boy? no, it’s just that he hears enough “from god” to cancel out whatever you tell him. i suppose if you believe in anything hard enough, you’ll find evidence to make it seem real. I’m just not sure I believe in dreams anymore. At least not the ones that make you judge so many people you used to say need an open relationship so that we could talk freely. Now we’re just given every reason to be suspicious of you, since your shadow casts itself in the darkness.

Call me back when you have something constructive to offer. Peace.