21 Nov, 2015

cycles of violence…

21 Nov, 2015

Once again, just a week after the bombings in Lebanon and Paris, the anti-refugee and anti-Muslim hype in Europe and the US is escalating. In the meantime, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! radio show announced the premier of a new documentary, Drone, and she interviewed four US army veterans who are speaking out against using drone attacks as weapons, actions that have led to the deaths of not just marked “terrorists”, but also innocent civilians.

Stephen Lewis, a former US Air Force office who spoke out against using drones said: And there’s an old saying in Texas: You don’t back a scared animal up against the wall. And if you do that, he’s going to come out fighting. And that’s exactly, I think, what’s happening now.

As I reflect on the cycle of violence erupting around the globe, I’m thinking about the remembrance that will be held in one month in Peshawar to mourn the lives of 141 people, including 132 school children who were killed when suicide bombers stormed a military school. I also reflect on how Boko Haram’s violence and torture of women often goes unreported while the Palestinian death count continues to rise.

As a reaction to one wave of violence, an entire group of people, who have no connection to each other – let alone to the extremists – are lambasted when the US Senate votes to block Syrian refugees from entering the US. And smaller petty actions escalate such as the vandalizing of a mosque outside Austin, Texas, and the burning of another one in Toronto.

This is just one short list of incidents. Many more die every day, and mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers are left grieving for the rest of their lives, while their losses are unreported. Most of us know that the killings have little to do with religion, and are about complex issues that cannot be explained with a simple hashtag.

Today, I’m reminded of what Minal said a few months ago. She and her friends are ten and eleven years old, but she can express wisdom when she comments on the difference between grownups and children: “We own up and apologize, but grownups get mad and start wars…”