Friday, 8 August 2014
Something happened a few weeks ago which has really got me thinking on another level or it has more accurately got me explaining on another level! During a recent discourse via Social media I became aware of the difficulty of trying to see matters of conflict in an impartial way. When we look at conflict we instinctively begin siding with or opposing the sides according to our own particular frame of thinking. This is Universal and it is probably the thing that hinders our development the most. Unless both sides in a Conflict are willing to let go then the conflict will never end. This difficulty that I have come up against is very common and I see it very simply as being a part of the reason why the issue of ‘Conflict’ remains unresolved.
I have found it very difficult to speak about conflict in a general way without offending someone on either side. I had a Republican like my poetry page a while back and he then quickly unliked it when I wrote a post which outlined how the Loyalist Culture was treated after the Flag protests. This is how Cultural Tribalism works. People cannot say anything good about the enemy and they cannot take even the most measured criticism about their own side. The old “yes…but” argument kicks in all the time. When you try to draw measured and intelligent conclusions someone always has another answer and it is usually based upon one sidedness. I do this myself quite a lot but although much less than I did in the past.
Humanity has reached this very dangerous moral region where it is completely impossible to use any intelligent discourse because emotional and instinctive matters drive others to refute even the most measured of conclusions.
My ongoing study of Conflict
I had already been trying to envisage new methods of thinking surrounding Conflict and this personal process has been ongoing for a few decades. I have been studying Conflict for most of my life, at the beginning without even realising that that’s what I was doing. Obviously many people will think it is absurd that I could consider that my studying began in Childhood but it really did. My Mother really set my studying mode in motion by beginning to order and get me a series by Orbis called World War II. This was a comprehensive weekly guide to every single aspect of that Conflict and I would have been about 12 when she began getting them for me. Without even realising it I was being locked into something that would never leave me and that is my thirst for knowledge. Over the years I have looked at many conflicts. I can remember when the events in Bosnia and Rwanda occurred back in the early 1990’s I would be watch the BBC news which was on all during the night and I followed everything happening there with great interest. I am not sure if it was morbid fascination or what it was exactly that made me want to learn about these things but it doesn’t matter because I have ended up with an extremely well versed base of knowledge when it comes to the History of Warfare and the nature of the sides during conflict and the Societies involved.
Before the internet I loved getting factual books. I looked very closely at The Romans, The Greeks, Ancient Egypt, Persia, The American Civil War, Ireland, The Napoleonic Wars as well as the creation of Israel and many others. My study is ongoing. The internet has given me the opportunity to continue and I have watched countless documentaries and read so much about individual conflicts and conflict generally. I also think the fact that I was born and raised during a conflict did increase my level of understanding but I always get this sense of other peoples understanding of conflict generally and it seems many people simply fail to fully fathom the intricacies of conflict.
When I state that I have been studying Conflict what exactly do I mean by that? I don’t see conflict the same anymore. One of the main things I have noticed about people when they look at conflicts is that they find it very easy to take a side and begin assigning blame.
I think an inability to understand conflict has two main barriers:
1. If you have taken a side in any particular conflict, even if only as a sympathiser, you will be unable to understand both sides and this will effect your ability to see conflict as a whole.
2. Many people simply fail to understand the use of such destructive force by Humans against Humans. They find violence so abhorrent that they simply dismiss any use of violence as wrong and their disgust stops them from getting any deeper.
I know categorically that it is these two aspects which allow conflict to continue. A combination of a lack of understanding by the vast majority of people and continuing anger by others make conflict possible. Lets look at each in more depth.
The proportion of blame that each side deserves and receives during conflict is due mainly to the amount of outward aggression they display. This usually has something to do with the numbers of dead on each side and the types and volume of weapons being used. These principles can only really be measured mainly from the point of view of those who are not sympathisers though. What I mean by that is that there are people who are simply disgusted by a high proportion of killing from one side in particular that they end up taking a side based the huge difference in the death toll from one side to the other.
In any Conflict though matters can get very complicated and unfortunately people can begin ‘supporting’ a side due to similarities to their own conflict. In Northern Ireland during the late 1990’s a degree of support emerged among the Republican community for the Palestinian side in their struggle with Israel and Palestinian flags began being flown in Republican areas. This was not particularly surprising because Republicans had often fostered links with organisations similar to their own around the world. The Loyalist side though then began to support Israel and Israeli flags began appearing in Loyalist districts. This was slightly different than basic support though and a kind of hypocrisy became evident because Loyalist groups had long been aligned with Right Wing English and British groups who idolised Hitler and the Third Reich. This shows the lack of any real regard among groups whose central premises are hatred. The old Cliché my enemies enemy is my friend comes to mind.
Those involved in any conflict CANNOT understand conflict as a whole. The reason for this is simple. A conflict needs both sides to be engaged in hatred of the other side for it to continue and the act of engagement in hatred stops each side from recognising the other as having any relevance whatsoever. The enemy is always wrong. This polarised view keeps the two sides firmly apart and all you will ever hear from either side is criticism of the other and excuses as to why they do what they do. Each side have seemingly rational and understandable reasons for their own barbaric acts while they demonise the other side for similar acts.
I have looked at this in great detail. I have gone as far as to view multiple conflicts for this but the most interesting thing that I have found is that we are completely unable to have absolute understanding of these matters due to our inherent need to explain things from a singular point of view. I have tried to remain impartial but found it impossible because how we see and explain things has a wider effect in our relations with others.
Peoples feelings are often dictated by matters surrounding close personal connections or through an identification of closeness to particular groups. An example of this can be seen clearly within the Republican community and how it fosters links with Basques and Palestinians due to their perceived similarities. Like I have said before War is what is wrong not the sides in the war. Conflict creates confusion and causes people to make bad decisions based upon extreme emotions. When we become emotionally affected we do not think straight and this is a prime example of how conflict causes more of the same negative energy to continue circulating and hurting ALL OF US.
If we are ever to overcome conflict the principle of blaming either side must be overcome. Can you ever see that happening? I mean as soon as I personally hear about conflict I almost instantly begin trying to figure out a way of proportioning blame! Conflict does that, it is our nature, ALL OF US. We’re all prone to this effect and I am beginning to think that we will have wiped ourselves out before we overcome this.
The sides in any conflict don’t see that they may well be destroying their own species, as far as they’re concerned they’re only killing a dangerous enemy. Having looked at many conflicts it is obvious that the complete annihilation of a people is not possible unless means as yet unused in our History are implemented. I think the future may hold worse horrors than we can imagine but for now we are stuck in this repeating loop of strike and counter strike.
Violence is unacceptable
There are many people who simply do not agree with violence but I am sorry that I have to say that we all support violence however indirectly. If you are living in a country which is at war then you are part of that conflict. People don’t like being told that but it is true. If a government uses the national fund to wage war then those who contribute to that fund are at least fractionally responsible.
Our society is made up of mostly peaceful people but we are not collectively peaceful. We had two Wars recently in Iraq and Afghanistan and whether you all like it or not WE were part of those conflicts. There are so many people who are Christian and god fearing and yet they support War simply by living. This is not a criticism of people it is merely an out lining of the facts. You can agree or disagree but the economics of conflict are plain. The general population has been lead to a point where it doesn’t matter what we do, it doesn’t matter that we protest, it makes no difference that we know the truth, we cannot stop the powers that be waging War and that is more a reflection of those powers than it is of us.
By failing to look at violence we are merely allowing it to continue. Conflict needs to be understood from the perspective of both sides, not from either side, from both sides. Forgetting what one side is doing while focusing on what another side is doing will not help. We are all guilty of this but the only way.
All news is Propaganda and I am not sure what else to say about that. If all news is propaganda how can we ever know the truth? I fear we are in the middle of a very destructive phase of our development and I am not sure things are going to improve anytime soon. Those who are in charge seem intent on conquest through warfare but they are lying to us while they continue to wage war in order to further their own collective interests. I keep seeing rational and loving individuals eventually succumb to the forces of negativity and take sides based upon their own personal point of view. I myself do this also, we all do it. We take information from certain quarters and we use that to make conclusions based upon our feelings. This is very dangerous and widespread. I have heard people argue that one side is being driven by propaganda and that one side is inherently evil while defending and trying to absolve their chosen or given side as being blameless.
I am writing this and you know what? It doesn’t even matter. I just went through a few days of formulating and trying to think this through very objectively but what difference will it really make?
Powerful men with lots of money are going to continue killing innocent people all over this planet and we will not be able to stop them because if we take them out the next regime will continue to do more of the same and we will support them because this is OUR way. This is how WE do things. WE have been doing this for thousands of years and WE will continue.
We’re fucked. It’s only a matter of time.