The images of war and killing were compelling. They made a simple case to punish the perpetrator. Not that all the facts were in, the complexities known, but then judgment and retribution works so much better before they are fully informed. It's impossibly sad, of course, that the images and news of people fleeing for their lives, month after month, have led only to a fierce protectionism - Keep 'em out. History so often has shown it easier to avenge the dead than to embrace and shelter the living. Fifty-nine cruise missles, a "targeted" military action, as if to say that violence for a specific purpose has no need for further explanation. We have become so used to our own military superiority and posturing that we no longer abide by the laws of the international community which prohibit attacks such as this. Vigilantism on the world stage is against the law as surely as it is within nations; it profoundly threatens the future of a peaceful and lawful world community.
Tiny excerpt from an article re-printed on Alternet that explores Violence and how it is described, East and West North and South, written by Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
The cartoon showed the newspaper man coming into his boss' office, holding out the newspaper whose giant headline read "Trump to enforce the law" followed by his concern "We're worried this headline might be too disturbing for our readers" On the surface you could say, "Sure, that's right. He's just enforcing the laws that we've had for a long while, just making sure that we're following our own rules and being fair. People shouldn't be allowed to cut in front of the line. The law's the law. We're a nation of laws.
In this part of Maine, we had three and a half feet of snow in the past seven days from three different storms. The middle storm was a wild blizzard that went on for 28 hours, with winds gusting to 60 mph and drifts five and six feet deep in places. During its height, I couldn't see the goat barn, a hundred and fifty feet away - all was washed from view by the storm's fierce commotion. It's a similar experience witnessing Donald Trump's ascendancy to the White House - commotion and storm, howling winds, loss of visibility and perspective, the real landscape getting buried beneath drifts of alternate facts, deliberate lies, swirling and dangerous fears, a virtual whiteout of common sense and common purpose.
First of all, we have each other and there is great joy in re-discovering our communities, our values, our purpose, our strength and determination. The peoples of the world have suffered enough through history to know that circling the wagons and defining enemies is always our undoing. Always. We must be ever more inclusive, ever more compassionate - always working within to lay down the burden of fear, vengeance and meanness that so easily salts our lips. I find it particularly challenging in these times, when there seems to be an explosion of meanness and division at so many level
I was recently remembering Karl Rove's strategy for winning the presidency for Bush - him saying something like You have to spread lies faster than they can disprove them. I can't verify that that was the actual quote. I did come across what's quoted below on reddit (full post here) and thought that we ought to be thinking, in this time of what seems deliberate political chaos and "alternative facts", how to respond creatively, without falling into the trap the article attributed to Rove wishes to ensnare us in.
The terrible attacks of September 11th have brought out much of the best in Americans – heroism in the evacuation, search and recovery at the World Trade Center; the tremendous outpouring of compassion, goods, time and money to those affected by the destruction; the space in the heart that transcends personal boundaries to embrace our neighbors and countrymen as kin, sharing grief and sorrow, hope and pain. Against the darkness of violence and hatred, we stand united.