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Ghandi taught: take care of the means and the ends will take care of themselves. With the benefit of this historically penetrating teaching, the great minds of the founding fathers of America champions of liberty and human rights, so courageous and daring for their time could not have failed to modulate their vision about paths to liberty, freedom, peace and prosperity. In a dream I saw leaders of their stature rising to the near impossible challenge since 9,11 for to devote their genius to the causal diagnosis and treatment of violence in our interdependent pluralistic World. I was dreaming of leaders of stature determined to transcend the tragic circuits of violence and counter-violence in a shrinking pluralistic World in which everyone has a right to the pursuit of security and happiness. I was dreaming of vision and leadership able to transcend the temptation of thinking that beating the rest of the World into submission since America pocesses the biggest stick, is the road to peace, security and prosperity.
I dreamt that the enormity of what happened on 9.11 shocked leaders World-wide into a new consciousness, and a determined anti-terror, anti-violence mood and vision. I dreamt that in the US the shock produced for the country
a World leader of a calibre worthy of the grandchildren of Tom Paine and Thomas Jefferson, A Mahatma, a great soul with the vision to steer the World, including the US, into safety, security, and non-violence.
I dreamt that the enormity of the shock opened up channels of memory linking present generation Americans to their nation’s founding fathers, most of whom, including the great George Washington, were perceived by the dominant nation of the day, the British government as culpable terrorists! I dreamt that present day Americans would remember that some of their most sacred symbols:the Capitol and the White House, were indeed targeted, not by the then Islamic caliphate but by the British in 1812!
I dreamt that fair Americans of today may see the coming words not as a mere foreigner’s intrusion to be rapidly rejected, but as an act of love from a non-American and a Moslem, who cares deeply about the best in America and in American history: a song of lofty human values and achievements that presents for all the path and the hope to transcend the worst in America and in American and human history.
Without the full affirmation in the present and future of the lofty, pluralistic, and cross-national human values, we cannot hope to transcend a history, the worst of which breeds hurt, violence, counter-violence, repression and terrorism.
Like in a stream of consciousness, I heard a voice of wisdom unfolding the following extracts and quotes:
From the United States Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
"There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation." - James Madison (Architect of the U.S. Constitution)
"A nation that would give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
The following is the address that unfolded in the dream: a stream of consciousness reflecting inexhaustible faith in humanity, in the greater elements of the American people and in the UN:
Ladies and gentlemen, representatives of a traumatised World community,
Yesterday the great American nation was deeply shaken by a most profound shock that was enough to drive any nation to anger, even madness. Yet the responsibilities and the stature of greatness, of being the proponents and protectors of freedom and human rights, force upon our great nation the responsibility of understanding and causal treatment of the factors and forces that led to the US being subjected to this horrendous attack. The depth of the shock calls for self examination at unprecedented levels, with the courage to
unleash areas of consciousness long denied or suppressed.
We live with a new reality that has far reaching consequences.
Our World has become willy-nilly our communal village. The predicament of any of the peoples of the World, under the new realities of our times, reflect inevitably on all other peoples of the World. The rich and powerful have for long neglected this elementary reality.
No country in our group of united nations can afford anymore to perpetuate a profoundly "unreal" and superficial stance towards the suffering, deprivation or sense of injustice of any other peoples.
Earth is a freak small planet in the solar system, with a freak, fragile and vulnerable life-sustaining atmosphere. The continued failure of meaningful dialogue between the races and creeds on this fragile planet threatens all life on earth.
Perhaps out of this shock and horror we can birth a great opportunity for ourselves and for mankind. We in the West, and the dominant nations of the World, owe it to ourselves and to mankind to pause for a moment of difficult self examination.
We have invented mechanised warfare and practiced it with a vengeance, even though it goes against all the moral codes ever evolved by man along his painful journey towards social evolution. We have invented and practiced mechnised impersonal killing. We have invented, introduced and used atomic weapons and chemical weapons. We have introduced chemical and biological weapons and carry out active research in weaponising biological agents. We perceive ourselves as the right and righteous, defenders of freedom and democracy.
It is a terrible shock for us to realise the gulf between how we see ourselves and how others see us. Now with our interconnected small World we naturally panic that “others” may use our own evil creations against us. In our self satisfied affluence we have become extremely vulnerable, and desperately seek ways to make ourselves safe.
Some of us who are legitimately angry and frightened, but lacking in farsight or wisdom, are persuaded by those with their hidden agendas to view the path to safety as being another cycle of using yet more of our creations of destruction to eliminate all who do not see eye to eye with us. Yet I see it encumbent upon America, as World leader and protector of freedom and democracy, to turn this terrible moment of truth into a quantum leap for humanity to rid itself forever of weapons of mass destruction, and to cure all humanity of the perverse concept of impersonal killing and mechanised impersonal war as acceptable means of conflict resolution.
We cannot and must not under any circumstances repeat the old patterns of the twentieth century and thus bear sad witness to the acceptability of those old tragic patterns of response.
On the road to safety and security, no human society, or collection of human societies, however strong, rich and privileged, can afford to perpetuate a selective commitment to justice and human rights by allowing racial, religious, cultural or economic factors to decide whether the “wronged” belong to a group or country in which it is expedient either to support human rights or to ignore them.
On the Road to safety, security and continued prosperity, there is
absolutely no alternative to international Justice and universal Human Rights in our endeavour to put an end to the chain reaction conflicts, stresses and abuses of societies and environment that threaten all and that have emerged with such terrible effect on 9.11.
We cannot afford to be woken up to chronic injustices via harsh "reality sandwiches". As the supreme World power, it is our responsibility to find just solutions to chronic injustice.
We must listen to others, not just to chronic affirmation of our own rosy self perceptions!
Our attitude towards the "backward" millions in the Southern hemisphere and in "other" lands, whom we label "backward" compared to us " prosperous, capitalist, post-industrial, and materialist leaders of civilisation" must change radically as the fragile overstressed ecology of the earth CANNOT sustain our model of development and progress if it were to be taken up by the three or so billion “underprivileged” who are supposed to follow our model for "progress" and development if they are not to be labelled backward and inferior.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The shock and awe of the September 11th happenings opens our eyes to realities deeply suppressed and ignored.
Millions of innocent victims in the third World have been harmed caught in the conflict we call “cold War” since 1945, while we saw nothing but our fight against communism and/or other ideologies that could prove unfriendly or a threat to freedom and democracy. The process continues. This "process" has many variations. It has been given many names. It has been given many justifications and rationalisations. The trauma and human cost arising from that process is enormous. The danger to the World community in the long term is also enormous. We repeatedly fell into the trap of using extreme violence to protect and impose freedom and democracy. This is an unacceptable paradox which must be addressed NOW. While visiting unprecedented violence upon many nations, we perceived ourselves as freedom fighters and protectors of democracy.
This paradox must be addressed without hesitation if we want to cope with the problems of counter-violence, terrorism, fanaticism, and the influx of the impoverished, the "defeated" and the dispossessed into the countries of the "affluent" and "successful".
The problems of these "unhealthy" aspects of international interaction, and the absence of true dialogue between disparate cultures, must be addressed if the "affluent" and the powerful are to be able to address their own problems, their own profound and profoundly denied crises.
Millions in the Southern Hemisphere have suffered, either in the clumsy and obvious way of direct violence and oppression, or in more subtle ways of unfair economic dynamics, or through the effect of incompetent, non-representative, unaccountable systems of government; regimes that lead inevitably to the general failure of "natural" human endeavour, with disease, famine, civil strife and violence as the chronic expression of that general-social-endeavour-failure. People have a right to hope, and to be able to see their life and labours bringing them nearer to the realisation of their hopes and dreams.
We have seen in the twentieth century the spread of the phenomenon of general social-endeavour failure, closely allied to the distortion of natural socio-political-cultural dynamics and the generation of violence, mainly through the unprecedented commerce and flow of modern weapons, all inappropriately introduced by the leading post-industrial nations of the World. We have witnessed an unhealthy cultural and conceptual dialogue between the developing nations and the dominant cultures in the North which enforces inappropriate allocation of resources to inappropriate technology. Sadly this has been the norm.
It is a process of which we, with all the powerful nations of the World, are guilty. The whole of this process inevitably resulted from our failing to enlist the expression of those millions concerned, or to listen to their voices, oppressed as they are by modern arms manufactured and supplied by us, and by inappropriate AID generously supplied by us.
Under the guise of “protection”, "progress" and development, the right of millions of people from "other" cultures to "human rights" has been confiscated as a matter of habit. They ARE backward, we argued to ourselves, and must first become like US before we can talk to them and listen to what THEIR concept of progress really is.
Now that the advent of new technology and know-how has transcended the need to mould man into the distorted early industrial revolution mould, western man frequently finds himself unable to escape the trap of a distorting mould. He is in some part deeply aware of the quantum jump that his more "natural”,”intuitive” "under-developed" counter parts could take, should they find access to the most developed human knowledge and technology in the service of human values. There is understandably a gulf of suspicion and resentment, mixed with admiration and envy.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Non-representative, unaccountable, flagrantly military or quasi military, and by necessity immeasurably corrupt, regimes of the eternal "STRONG MAN" formula, were to become the "norm," and were kept in power by direct and indirect aid from us, including latest technology modern weapons. We thought we were winning points in our fight against the Eastern block.
The Russian empire--before the fundamental changes it went through after 1989 -- frequently played a parallel role in her spheres of influence. Neither super-power cared that our struggle was deeply harming peoples in the Southern Hemisphere.
We, the "richer" and more powerful giants of the Northern Hemisphere, played out our "cold" and not so cold war games at the expense of the real people of the "other" "poorer" and "weaker" countries in the Southern Hemisphere, distorting to an extreme degree the process of socio-political and conceptual development that was so necessary for their growth, and for their emancipation from the grip of poverty and life-support incompetence.
The cold war conflict really started in 1917, when the capitalist countries were thrown into a panic by the tide of communist revolution. In that panic, they tolerated, even helped, fascism as a counter monster monster. When the fascist monster became too monstrous, we plunged into a life and death struggle of unprecedented violence, first with fascism to 1945 followed by the struggle against the original monster, communism, which continued to Gorbachov and 1989. This tragic history represented, and still represents, the conflict of interest, the prejudices and the fears - real or hysterical - of the West and the Russian Empire as they evolved in a win/lose matrix. It was a conflict ruthlessly and relentlessly fought -- especially after 1945 . We in the States became hysterical: remember our terrible experience with McCarthyism after the victories of Stalinist Russia and the overtaking of half of Europe. No one can pretend that our actions then represented the primary or "natural" cause of the peoples of the Southern Hemisphere .
Our fight against communism was paramount. It was vigorously pursued. It was pursued without the least regard to the interests of the millions of peoples in the Southern Hemisphere. Eventually these became simply either secure spheres of influence or fought-over spheres of influence in the "super-power" game: i.e. the freedom versus communism struggle as we perceived it.
Occasionally we appeased our uneasy consciences with aid programs.
Europe made full use of the Marshall plan. There was no cultural or structural gulf. Sadly we did not devise a similar Marshall plan for the South . We would have been unable to devise or implement such a plan even if we wanted to. The culture gap and structural obstacles were so great and creative thinking to surmount the problem was not forthcoming. We chose other options serving our interests and the strategic fight against communism. We were in an emergency and had no space for attempting communication across channels which did not exist. Our impact on the South gave absolute priority to the gobal confrontation with communism.
In the South and underdeveloped countries, did anyone in the US and the West give any thought to the impoverishing effect of inappropriate "aid" and technology, and the ravages of non-representative, non-accountable governments?
Regimes practising random violence on a hopelessly out-powered populace, with the help of northern technology and aid is not the worst of the picture.
The inevitable effect of such governments was to undermine a society's flexibility and effectiveness in facing the challenges of developmental education and production, and of natural changes, disasters, social stresses, disease and scarcity .. etc. It is not surprising, as we pursue the chronicle of famine, epidemic (most serious in Africa now is Aids), civil war and mass displacements, to note the enormous and chronic proportions they have reached, and to relate this mismanagement by enormously corrupt non-representative governments as being empowered directly or indirectly by us.
Ladies and gentlemen,
If the facts and figures relating to the human cost to the peoples of the Southern Hemisphere, of the post second World War super-power conflict and of the US/western "fight" against "communism" for "liberty" and "freedom" -- were collected and analysed, the full horrors of a veritable "other" Holocaust would be unleashed, and yet we ignore that holocaust completely.
Every nation -- as is with the individual -- wishes to develop and keep a conscious-clear, self righteous perception of itself. We in the US are no exception; a perception protected and amplified in every possible way, not least by a tacitly enforced limitation on mass media information. Whatever courage and sense of justice individuals in the mass media may have, there is this tacitly imposed limitation on how much can be shown, said or transmitted that stretches a nation's perception of itself beyond certain limits. The real danger is that we believe that we are completely free and fully informed when we are not!
Few people in the West feel the full impact and significance of this "other" Holocaust because the "other Holocaust" in this post-war "un-cold" war has been unfolding far away from the immediate consciousness of "freedom", "human-rights" and "justice" loving Americans and Westerners. It is unfolding in an area that is distanced enough geographically and CULTURALLY to the extent that the disturbing consciousness of the horrors and doubts about them can be comfortably dimmed.
Without deliberately lying, selective reporting in the mass media can do the trick, any trick! Witness the concentration on Iraq and the whipping up of free "public opinion" up to January 1991 in preparation for our military action, then the almost complete black-out re Iraq after our goals were fulfilled and our interests served. Information mania about Iraq is suddenly switched off while the human disaster reaches paramount proportions, thousands of dead and dying as the tyrant ruthlessly crushes uprisings encouraged by us then conveniently forgotten. We lose interest post hot war as millions of threatened and dispossessed human beings and refugees, are hounded and persecuted by a series of diverse and disparate forces not least by our use of weapons containing depleted uranium. I predict Iraq will reach top of the charts again when and if we (certain forces in a short sighted administration) decide to take military action again. The very mass media that transmitted the image of our “strong man” as hero will do everything in the new stages of the relation to demonise and vilify the former hero, leader, statesman etc.
Ladies and gentlemen,
After the shock:
We must all face the mirror, difficult as this may be!
An appropriate critical self appraisal could mirror to people of good will within the Western Alliance super-power grouping lead by the US, that their concept of the once USSR super-power grouping as "Empire of Evil" is in many instances mirrored in the perception of many countries and peoples in the of us… us, the US and her allies, as “ the empire of evil”.
In the West we hear and amplify the grievances of the peoples in Eastern Europe because they are geographically and culturally nearer to us, and because it is in our interest to hear them, amplifying our ongoing fight against communism in the democratic, freedom-loving West. We hear and amplify the grievances and interests of the Jews because we are guilt ridden, interconnected and culturally related and because we give up on the Arabs and Moslems whom we perceive as irrational, incoherent, non-communicative, violent, corrupt and despotic entities!
As long as we remained on top and all interactants saw eye to eye with us, we have always upheld freedom, free trade, democracy and human rights. However, when our interests are threatened, we can resort without hesitation to the use of suppressive force worthy of the most repressive regimes. Since September, note all the legitimately angry voices calling for massive repressive actions, massive empowerment and financing for unaccountable bodies licensed to kill, and draconian laws circumventing many of the sacred democratic safeguards. The after-shock puts to the test of critical and practical appraisal the depth and the extent of our commitment to universal human rights and pluralism, and to our "sympathetic" stance towards human considerations.
The maligning of the "other" cannot protect us from the over-whelming fact that ever since the end of the second World war, neither super-power has shown any real primary commitment to the human rights of peoples in their spheres of influence. That information is automatically and fanatically ingrained in western minds in relation to the USSR, but never in relation to ourselves. In fact since the Gorbachov era the USSR has shown the greater readiness to self examination, to take risks and to accept the challenge and danger of "listening" and responding to change.
The Western psyche is full to saturation of the human rights violations by the USSR in Eastern Europe, both in its spheres of influence and within its own boundaries. It is an easy surrogate "baddy", which if destroyed, made to collapse or allowed and encouraged to disintegrate and dissipate, then all will be perfect and ideal in a World dominated by a single "good" super-power and a single "good" dominant culture "us".
This indifference to oppression, denial of the right to human rights, denial of legitimate interests, operates over people in the Southern Hemisphere -- where it seems life does not matter anyway, while all ears and eyes are open to abuses in the USSR and Eastern Europe.. It is a licence to indifference towards "human" considerations which is freely granted in relation to societies whose populations are non-Europeans and who do not speak a common language with Europeans. In many cases these people are not only non-Europeans but they are also non-Christian. They do not belong to the Judeo-Christian tradition. Frequently they belong to the "Islamic" tradition which remains a complete and rather frightening enigma to the majority of Western minds. Alternatively they are "Latins" or "Asians" who belong to traditions that are strange and bizarre, unpredictable, violent and cruel. We have as leading World nation done very little study of Islam and of history, other than our own, and we have frequently become sucked into a limiting literalist interpretation of the bible, especially the old testament, as we look upon some of the oldest and most enriching civilisations of mankind..
Whatever is made out to the contrary, there exists an enormous cultural and communication gulf. The bridging of this gulf is of fundamental importance to the wellbeing and security of the whole World. We must rise to the challenge. It is the price of greatness and leadership.
In the absence of true dialogue, unless we truly hear and listen to the voice of the “other,” it is too easy to make the assumption that "my" interests are the interests of "good," "freedom" and "development," and conflicting interests and view-points are "evil". How long have we been locked into this frame?
Perhaps there is hope for the rebirth of real dialogue after the very evident and dramatic bankruptcy in application of the international ideologies of the "traditional" left and the rigid "communist" liberators. After the collapse of communism, we must together create a new pluralistic peaceful World: a qualitatively different World that has no devil/monster at the door.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We must not allow one freak day of horror to cause us to squander all the cummulative gains of human striving towards justice, equity and security through dialogue and non-violence. This terrible moment could be turned into a golden opportunity to lay together the political, cultural and economic foundations of a pluralistic multilateral World that a fully reformed UN is empowered to maintain.It is a hard job for all of you, and for the Secretary General.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is in the nature of socio-political dynamics that there are change and anti-change forces. One of our tragedies has been our mistaken stance towards these very forces of change, branded by us, the western super-power, as the unacceptable "left”, and so aborted by ultra-right military and quasi military oligarchies, which we supported to the hilt by our various agencies, who were progressively empowered to practice the right to cross borders and boundaries of legality, purportedly to serve our own supreme national interests. We have since reached the stage, learnt from the Israelis, of practising without compunction a policy of “targetted” assasinations of our enemies. These abuses have aquired a form of perverse acceptability and normality that we now advertise and brandish them without shame, even with pride!
It is eye opening to find that in 1991 the arch conservatives, the rightists, the anti-change forces in Russia, were the communists! Is it possible that while perceiving ourselves as freedom fighters and democracy supporters we imperceptibly turn into a major anti-change and anti-development force?
We need to realise the importance of identifying and supporting forces for non-violent change beyond the short sighted interpretation of our immediate interests.
The process -- the socio-political dynamic -- should always have been seen in the light of change and anti-change forces that allow a free human dynamic amongst pluralistic forces, whose right to exist and to exert influence in the socio-political dynamic is maintained and insured by the general faith in the sanctity of the human rights declaration, which was adopted by all nations after the terrible trauma of the second World war. Such is the freedom and democracy support stance worthy of us in the US.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since 1985 we have started to dissociate ourselves from the likes of Marcos, Norriega, Pinochet, Mebotos even Saddam Hussain, the Arabian peninsula despots etc.. However, the devastation created in these countries by the "our strong man" policy continues. The temptation to recreate our "Strong Man, Hero" to serve our interests, is still obviously there! It is being hysterically practised by many very powerful agents in the mass media.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me explore with you some reigning counter perspectives which offer a much easier Western alibi. Do forgive me, Ladies and Gentlemen, representing the developing countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
"It is true that the Southern Hemisphere is in a mess".
"All can see that it is racked with violence, disease , terrorism, civil wars, regional wars, debt, corruption, famine, military and quasi military dictatorship, mass murder, mass torture as state policy, religious extremism, failure of economic development, mass migrations, forced migrations... etc."
"These people's predicament is of their own making. It is their favorite boring pastime to lay the blame for everything on our door.”
"They are backward compared to us civilised Westerners. Decades of colonial rule, attempts to educate and enlighten them and lead them to progress have largely failed.” We have tried hard to help and civilise them but failed!
"They are socially and politically immature, chronically denying their own failures as they indulge in conspiracy theories in which they see themselves
as heros and us as devils”.
"They are inherently irrational and violent. They inherently see the World in polarised monochrome and can have no dialogue with the "other" except to destroy them". Of their fundamentalist religious beliefs, we are sensitised when we hear Moslem calls for violence, subjugation and destruction of the unfaithful, on the road to the ultimate triumph of the one and only true religion. We deliberately cast a blind eye to similar postures or actions by fundamental Jews, Christians, Hindus etc.
"They are inherently incapable of a pluralistic attitude to ideas or persons or groups. They have therefor failed to develop any democratic institutions".
"Democracy is unsuited to them. Inherently they do not believe in human rights. They create their own dictators if none are imposed on them".
"They speak mumbo-jumbo that can never be understood and even if the linguistic barrier were to be bridged, the cultural difference cannot be, as this cultural bridging is an essential part of communication by language, so communication is really impossible".
"Even when they speak English or any other civilised language, you won't understand what they really want to say as their pronunciation is so perverted and corrupt"
"These millions or billions as a mass believe in odd and mostly brutal religions. Their beliefs are so fanatically held that no dialogue on any fundamental issue is ever possible with them. They are chronic prisoners of their own dogma and delusions".
"Remember Bokassa, Meboto, Aidi Amin".
"Remember the Untouchables and brutal class systems"
"Remember the inter-religious massacres in India and Sri Lanka"
“Remember the blatant abuse of women and children”
"Remember the burning tyres, the black to black violence.”
“ Remember the treatment meted out to the weak when the oppressed gain power!"
"Remember, the kidnapping, the hostage taking, the hi-jackings"
“As for the Jews and Zionists and the Zionist State, they are exempt from all these formulae. They speak our language, and after all we in the dominant cultures carry enough sense of guilt towards them to last a lifetime, and they are pitted against these hopelessly despotic and corrupt regimes and their
corrupted peoples. We cast a chronic blind eye to their anti-human abuses”.
Facing the realities of the Holocaust in the South, the real danger of the above Western stance is not that it is obviously false. On the contrary, its danger lies in that it is superficially "true " and convincing to the Western mind.
Superficially it seems to be validated and amplified continuously by the happenings and "news" as received in Western TVs and as read in Western newspapers.
One has just to remember the news stories generated around Kaddaffi, Bokassa, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Khomeini, Saddam, Iraq/Iran War, Iraq/Kuwait. Iraq/Iraq conflict and gulf wars, hijacking, hostage taking, terrorist attacks, mass murders, political violence and persecutions, the interminable civil wars, religious wars, apparent indifference to human suffering, to life, distress and destruction of massive proportions.
The whole stance is frequently validated and fed by events as they are superficially reported in the mass media whenever they deal with news items pertaining to the Southern Hemisphere.
The frequently uni-sided non-analytical information acts to validate a priori assumptions. Our blinkered self-righteous stance is amplified.
Whenever the easy attitude of sensational reporting of present "symptoms" without analysis of the causes at the roots is adopted, the potential positive role of TV and press is betrayed into a simple assumption-affirming, public opinion-manipulation role. We in the US and in the West have been perpetrators and victims of that role for a long time. Thanks again to Michael Moore for drawing our attention to the effect of our TV Nation status.
Ladies and gentlemen
Together with the great Michael Moore, I now see the tragedy of us having become for many years “TV nations”.
Our facile western attitude and the sensational reporting and sensationalism of the mass media is affirming false and anti-dialogue stances in the West. It is also endangering the great developmental changes towards a win/win World of a non-power-coerced interaction of legitimate visions and interests of all disparate elements within a country and in the World community at large.
Establishing and rooting the win/win principle and non-violent resolution of conflict is the road forward to equitable peace, universal disarmament, demilitarisation and denuclearisation. That was the dream of all the traumatised nations in 1945 when they gave birth to the UN and its charter. It was the embodiment of a determination NEVER AGAIN. How did we almost imperceptibly slide into an even more cruel cold/hot War lasting 45 years?
We need all the social forces, within and outside governmental organisations, as allies in this win/win noble endeavour to find and re-establish the spirit of non-violent conflict resolution enshrined in the UN charter.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We need to rise beyond the use of "surrogate" crises in every other part of the World as a ploy to delay the reckoning of our own dilemmas and crises. We cannot indefinately postpone critical self appraisal just because we are too arrogant to diagnose the root problems in our win/lose conceptual matrix, or to bring to the light the enormously powerful cartel of mechanised warfare that is so deeply embedded into the fabric of our economic well-being. These mostly covert dynamics force us to cling to ever new models of mechanised warfare-as -arbiter model into which we seem to be chronically imprisoned. What is the way out? All must help! This is a truly noble cross-border, cross-cultural, cross-national and cross-religious pursuit, in which all carry a fundamental responsibility.
I must sadly confess that we have all accumulated a past history which must be understood in a new light and be atoned for, before we can hope to make amends. All together we now need to transcend this history.
The post-industrial capitalist World, if it is sincere about development and security, must not use everybody else's crisis to deny the reality and the necessity of its own crisis of the need for development and change, "humanisation" and the transcendence of a history of unprecedented violence, especially throughout the twentieth century.
Ladies and gentlemen
The US emerged after the second World war to take up her role as World leader, inheritor of the Anglo-French empires and spheres of influence, co-arbiter of JUSTICE and the protector of human rights in the World at the dawn of the "Russo-American Pax". This Pax was discordant! Our partners were ideologically dangerous and aggressive. The Anglo-French tried to impose their conditions on their former colonies. We finally stood up to them and helped thwart an Anglo-French invasion of Egypt! Our Russian partners strove to turn the World into a Russian Pax World. We strove to impose the American pax. No holds were barred.
The United States' first full experience of international role and responsibility after its civil war and prolonged "isolationism" was to be whisked without any preparation whatsoever, after World War two, into the position of World leader, protector of the World against the tide of communism, and inheritor supplanter of the vast Anglo-French Empires.
With all our good intentions our foreign policy suffered from enormous lack of experience, rudimentary knowledge of World history, and little understanding of the World’s ancient formative cultures. We carried with us to our position of World domination a host of naive assumptions and misconceptions.
We inherited from the former World powers an almost inescapable disregard for the interests and legitimate aspirations of the "vanquished" peoples of the Southern Hemisphere and their vanquished cultures. In the end you cannot consider a point of view that fails to become expressed or transmitted in any language you can understand. The "other" peoples were not only "vanquished," they were incomprehensible. They had no voice.
An illuminating example is the wording of the Balfour declaration 1917
".. the British government favours the establishment in Palestine of a national home for Jewish people, without prejudice to civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities..."
A whole non-European people were being dispossessed, and many of them perhaps being condemned to refugee status, with a conscience-saving clause added to the edict.(“rights of existing non-Jewish communities…”)
Recent history abounds with this inhumanly callous and long term disastrous disregard for the rights of "other" who are weaker and poorer, especially if their legitimate rights go counter to "our" immediate and/or envisaged interests.
We, against our principles, inherited the imperialistic stance. “Their” interests therefor did not count, or counted for the very little needed to maintain the self- delusion of "humanity". “They” were simply rather despised "non-US communities," in harmony with the style of the Balfour declaration dismissing the Arabs of Palestine as “non-Jewish communities”.. etc.
Inspite of the mounting communication gulf, and the realisation by a few of the dangers involved, there was to be no serious attempt to make large scale inter-cultural, interlinguistic and inter-religious communication a primary concern of governments and decision makers on either side of the communication gulf.
While the human march in modern times persisted in the hitherto recurrent "pathology" of opting for material power and "brute force" as the arbiter in human and international relations, it happened that after "industrialisation" the post industrial nations militarily defeated, crushed and routed nations that were much richer and much more "powerful" in the non-material aspects of human existence, and this to the infinite impoverishment of all sides and of mankind.
Nations and societies that had immense accumulated reservoirs of wisdom, knowledge, culture, spirituality and understanding in the arts of humane life-love-death, were humiliatingly crushed and their values despised. In time they were induced to despise these values themselves.
I stress that the impoverishment and the dangers effected victors and "vanquished” alike.
The little experience that the US had had for an acceptable formula in her "spheres of influence" was her experience in Central and South America. It has been the formula of the military or paramilitary dictators acting as the "STRONG MAN" of the banana republic, supported in power by arms and money provided by the beneficiary/ies.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
If the relation of the post-war US -- the greatest power in the World --- with the Southern Hemisphere was already seriously flawed by the American inexperience and cross cultural limitations, their existed in the American policy makers' consciousness and dynamics, in addition to the usual "economic interests and privileges-protection" goals, two enormously complicating priority goals, namely our obsessive need to fight communism and to support Zionism, and the creation of a safe and protected non-integrative Zionist state in the heart of the Arab and Moslem World. The backgrounds of these humanly tragic and wasteful stances were, in addition to the well documented economic and political factors, strongly tied to cultural self-validating misconceptions and information manipulation factors that were to play an increasingly important - if little documented - role in our modern World.
Historically both goals are understandable, but the way these goals were perceived and implemented has been tragic for us and for the whole World, but most especially for peoples of the Southern Hemisphere, Africa and the Arab World. Deeper analysis demonstrates convincingly that hysterical anti-communism (variations on the Senator McCarthy stance and the "reds under beds" syndrome) and hysterical pro-zionism, have done a disservice to the cause of "freedom" and to the Jewish people. They have contributed to the unleashing of chain happenings that are of tragic consequence to the World, the Jews and to the peoples of the Southern Hemisphere.
As we learn from history, we discover that the very same goals could have been served much more effectively with a less hysterical stance and a less blinkered approach, carefully avoiding violence as a mode of policy implementation, and capable of continuous and original dialogue with all the parties concerned.
Many of the individuals and movements destroyed in the "hysterical" anticommunist stance were liberals and nationals and potential statesmen of the highest order, who legitimately saw the validity of certain socialist policies for their countries as well as the validity of non-alignment. They were -- in the Southern countries -- extirpated as "communists". Whereas the US managed to "tolerate" a Wilson, a Palme, a Schmidt, a Craxi or a Mitterand in Europe, it would generally use everything in its formidable overt and covert gamut to dislodge and extirpate the parallel counterparts of the Wilsons and Mitterands in the third World.
The peoples of the "inherited" Southern Hemisphere had in our spectrum of options, no right to human rights if that meant that they would vere left !
Sometimes the "Strong man" used his dictatorial powers to throw his country into the bosom of the "rival" super-power. In this case, we screamed “communist take over” and the country was turned into a "hot" interface for the then active "cold" war, with deliberate external destablisation, civil war and flow of arms to rival miltias, fanatics and terrorists, whom we would label as heroic freedom fighters (Indonesia, Angola, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, etc..)
In the end the "battle" against communism was to move to resolution by "enlightenment", culture and communication, and the process of dialogue within the society -- so courageously responded to by Gorbachov -- and the same dynamics of dialogue, were eventually the salvation and healer of disparate and broken societies.
Visiting the greatest museums of human cultural and civilisational march communicates very forcefully that many of the peoples of the under-developed countries were much more developed, "advanced", and sophisticated than their “industrial” conquerors in many domains of life, culture and "civilisation," until the industrial revolution put material force as the absolute decider of who "wins" and who "leads."
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The industrial revolution produced POWER but not culture, power but not wisdom, material abundance but not sensitivity . The industrial and later technological revolutions produced almost unlimited power in the material domain but not in the domains of communication, understanding, growth, healing, communion with self and with nature, harmony. In the arrogant denial of these vital elements, including the denial of the culture and knowledge of the "other", technology and industry can turn -- and have turned -- into a threat and not a blessing. Without the modesty to make all these forces and riches secondary to life and human considerations, they will lead us to mastery but not to harmony, to material wealth but not to happiness, to privilege but not to peace. We shall then remain a threat to life, to our environment and in the end to ourselves. Why is it that everytime we have a globalisation conference we are surrounded by the angry protests of the best of our youths!?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have already admitted that in the post second World war period, the "Super-power" formulae for "spheres of influence" were those of "control" and not of mutually modifying dialogue with true interdependence. These "alien" countries and alien cultures were to be ruled by some anticommunist "Strong Man" aided into power by the full weight of Super-power agency and money. These "Strong Men" would "control" their peoples in a natural attempt to stay indefinitely in power.
They would exercise that control instead of the formal colonial occupation forces. They would use for the control the national armies, who were to be re-armed with modern western weapons and to be thrust into a position of unwarranted and unprecedented privilege: a position from which it would be near impossible to budge them.
National armies, armed to the teeth with the most modern twentieth century weaponry, were now occupying an incongruously privileged position, protecting their "strong man" benefactor, and performing for his masters the role of the occupation forces of the colonial era. By suspending the right of the people to self determination and basic human rights, and suspending the right to have an effective say in their own government and its decision making, the efficient management of the country and use of its resources in the best interests of its people was prevented.
Now I admit this was a short sighted cynical policy.
To those who doubt this cynical mechanism I ask:
How else could any company of people, whatever their creed, color, race or culture, tolerate and support mismanagement and corruption at a scale that turns former economic independence and prosperity into debt several times the gross national product ?
How would societies support governments and leaders who led them from disaster to disaster? and from one massive expensive defeat to the next ? How would people ravaged by disease, famine., civil war, crop and production failure, hail the wisdom of their government and the greatness of their leader ? People had to be overpowered and crushed systematically and continuously by the overwhelming force of modern technology and weapons supplied in abundance by the North, to accept the unacceptable.
We are guilty!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
May I point out to you stages in the evolution of the “our strong man” formula.
Many of you represent “our strong man” regimes all over the World, yet in this terrible hour truth is more important than all other considerations. Please then forgive my calling a spade a spade
Certain patterns in the our “strong anticommunist man” formula emerged: it became a euphemism for ruthless military or quasi-military dictators or archaic premedieval family monarchies squandring trillions of petro-dollars on everything other than meaningful education, human growth and development, which are all obviously dangerous for dictators and tribal monarchies.
The pattern of the “our Strong man” regimes regularly evolved as follows:
Destroy all opposition, terrorise the whole populace, especially intellectuals and liberals, by the now "normal" campaigns of persecution, torture, prolonged imprisonment and murder, thus completely sterilising political, intellectual and artistic life by the terrible "licence to be tortured or killed" label of "communist".
Gain full control of the information media and sources, educational content and orientation, and achieve generations of brainwashed "followers" full of admiration and "love" for the hero and "saviour", part of a repeated nightmare scenario, until the "strong man" isolated dictator enters into the inevitable delusional state phase.
The “I am Almighty and Divine" state is reached ! Most of “our strong men” reached this stage; an inevitable end stage for absolute rulers and dictators, isolated by their own success in achieving and maintaining absolute power.
At that stage it is not very becoming for the "Saviour" himself to remain a loyal servant to the super power even though it was the super-power that made it all possible in the first place.
The more intelligent "Saviours" start by playing one super-power against the other and experiment with games of blackmail against both. Others dare to declare "independence". We call them renegade or rogue states.
We would "suddenly" discover that our loyal Strong man Hero "Saviour" of his people, is a corrupt criminal, murderer, thief surrounded by thugs, drug smugglers, murderers and thieves. Suddenly !! Unabashedly and suddenly ! Norriega, Saddam, Bin Laden, Marcos, our former heros, become presented to the World as evil criminals and monsters etc..
Sometimes the "Saviour" in his state of grandeur was ousted by us and replaced. Sometimes he would be so entrenched as to be unbudgable except by death, assassination, senility or war! e.g. Pinochet, Norriega, Galtieri.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I repeat at this terrible hour: we are guilty of a great many mistakes and miscalculations. We need to be mature enough to face them and transcend them. We should now be mature enough and believe strongly enough in humanity to carry the burden of knowing that violence does not erupt out of the blue! Hatred and suicide missions are not a natural primary human choice!
As an illuminating example, let us together review the happenings in Iran.
We felt threatened: a new pattern had been allowed to emerge . New licenses were taken by secret cross national agencies. A truly frightenening pattern of licences was creeping into the code of behaviour of several secret agencies including “the licence to kill”. And this was on behalf of an unknowing American people who were being fed on misinformation. More and more moral and legal barriers were being over ruled. We blythely and short-sightedly forgot about the teachings of the great Ghandi: “take care of the means, the ends will take care of themselves”. We surrounded ourselves with James Bond and 007 conspiracies for World domination that possibly reflected a deep deep subconscious desire in some of us. We put all this on celluloid and on digital and virtual reality media. Very few realised that we were thus engaged in justifying a rising amorality in our relation with “other”. We were engaged in justifying the blatant rise of non-democratic institutions that were immune from rules of transparency and accountability.
What would the grandchildren of the freedom and justice loving founding fathers do or say if they knew fully what our cross national agencies and forces have been doing and justifying in their name? And in the name of freedom and the free World whose interests were those of America?
As we examine Iran as an example, we see ourselves deliberately, ruthlessly and cynically frustrating legitimate aspirations.The Mossadaque government and its actions towards Iranian petrol in 1951 were representative of true and legitimate national aspirations.
The nationalisation of Iran's petrol by the legitimate government of Iran, led by prime minister Mossadaque, when investigated without the prejudicial effect of the "dirty" word "nationalisation," and with the invaluable contribution of hindsight, meant nothing more than the right of Iran and its people to have more say in the management of their country's petroleum resources and a more just share in the returns: just demands which no man or woman of good will can argue against: just demands that the West had to concede in the seventies after a tragic and unnecessary struggle, whose human and material cost should have been unacceptable and insupportable had "human" considerations been the guideline for appropriate and inappropriate action in conflict dynamics.
The "West" does not show the slightest hesitation to cease assets and even freeze enterprises and put up tariffs, the minute it decides that it is in their interest to do so. Witness the overnight dissolution without warning of the "Bank international of Credit and Commerce", with all its dealings well known, shared and participated in by the West up to the point when it became against Western interests to allow it to continue. Witness the tariffs on steel and on Japanese cars! Any parallel actions by Southern nations trying to assert their sovereignty immediately appeared to us as a communist plot that must be aborted.
The "Western interest" schemes to depose Mossaddaque, eventually aided and abetted by our CIA, are common knowledge, written about blithely by Western writers, former secret service men, and "Game of Nations"and “Spy catcher” writers from the West and the USA.
These concerted activities led to the deposition, arrest and imprisonment in August 1953 of Iran's freely elected prime minister -- echoes of Chile and Allende and of parallel happenings in many Latin American, Asian and African Countries. The return and re-institution of the Shah was plotted. The CIA’s chosen man; army General Zahidy and his "loyal" military forces arrested the country's legitimate prime minister and occupied the broadcasting buildings.
Simple! America's will was done!
This was followed by massive "aid" to buy American arms, to equip and arm "control" agencies, including the notorious SAVAK, and to implement, or rather to enforce, progress "Western style".
The brief to the grateful Shah, his generals and his agencies of "power" and "control" was : "EXTIRPATE COMMUNISM"!
The ensuing era of "magnificent" progress was marked by US aided and abetted persecution of the "communists": an umbrella term which encompassed -- as a recurrent pattern -- liberals, intellectuals, thinkers, dissidents, left of center nationalists, and then in time leaders of the religious movement.
In time the religious right, the only remaining "opposition" group with any cohesion left, was sucked into the net of persecution.
No atrocity was spared while the Iranian society was being sterilised of everything that "smelt" of left or of opposition, all in preparation for magnificent progress, "Western style".
Torture as state policy, murder, assassination, extermination, massive imprisonment, concentration camps, became normal occurrences. They became "normal" features of daily life. Police, army and "secret" services regularly and systematically unleashed their worst against the unprotected civilians -- the unfortunate and beleaguered citizenry. All these terrible dynamics were entirely unknown to the great American people, grandchildren of the founding fathers and some of the most important defenders of freedom, constitutional democracy and justice in modern times.
Such was the encouraged and accepted pattern in privileged Iran – as in many former colonies -- enjoying the Pax Americana and perceived as a vital front in the fight against communism.
The whole sorry story can come under the tiltle:
“How we unnecessarily lost Iran squandering millions of dollars and wasting millions of lives”
Yet the pattern unfortunately became deeply ingrained, deeply established.
All in the sacred cause of fighting communism and opposing nationalisation movements that might jeopardise short term American and/or Western interests. We admit now -- rather apologetically -- that we were in a panic. What a price for temporary American/Western panic!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The short of it is, that as we thought that we were serving the interests of freedom and the fight against communism, we were in fact creating, supporting and arming not only non-representative despotic regimes, but at the same time recruiting, training and arming extremists of all sorts, especially Islamic extremists in Afghanistan and in the Arabian peninsula.
The rise of Islamic extremism in Iran has been the only viable response to overpowering chronic state violence and to torture as state policy, and has been a "natural" result of the disbalance created by the enforced suppression of full spectrum socio-political forces. It represents just one example of how we helped create fanatics and terrorists in our wake.
It has been repeatedly demonstrated that the Strong Man regimes, whether they be in or Central American, Africa, the middle East or East Asia, sterilise the intellectual and artistic lives of whole peoples. They cannot and will not tolerate opposition, dissidence or pluralism. They cannot afford to cede any concessions on human rights for the people, who must be "controlled" otherwise they will immediately go communist and subversive! They practically ban all manifestations of human life without a priori authority licence and control!
They have no viable model of development and can have none.
Chronic state violence on such an enormous and overwhelming scale generates such opposition, which unless it has enormous faith, knowledge and training in Ghandian non-violent resistance, seems to have no alternative but to take the path of the fanatic, the terrorist and the violent ! Opposition will continue to be fanatic and violent for as long as it is forced by violent and sterile despotic governments of the day to remain voiceless and impotent.
It is important to understand that the practice of tacit and overt violence -- not least of which is violence and state terror in the form of military and quasi military occupation, represents continuous frustration of the rights of millions to express themselves and to have representative accountable governments. This generates violence in many apparently unrelated areas in human society which overflows into any area of our village World. Even if it is comfortable to deny it, human society is now inextricably inter-related every where on the globe. Isolationism for any country is impossible!
Which man or woman will chose, as his/her primary choice, to make his statement with an explosive bomb when he knows in his/her heart that
grievances will be justly listened to, understood and responded to, and that justice will be done. Not necessarily all has to be granted, but at least a minimal degree of understanding, listening and communication.
In Islamic countries however -- for a complicated set of reasons that can not be explained here—friendly tyrannical goverenments have never dared to ban religion. Religion, with its leaders the Shieks, Ayats and Mullas, its institutions, dogmas, rituals and practices, represent a last resort refuge for a people persecuted by untold state-sanctioned violence and cruelty, for a people, deprived of all natural social outlets by our friendly governments: people whose intellectual and creative-arts life has been completely sterilised, or at least is continuously attacked and threatened find refuge in religious fundamentalism.
Variations of religious fundamentalism are a last refuge for peoples persecuted and pursued by the general poverty and dire economic straits that are the inevitable result of the inevitable economic failure, of our anti-communist, anti-disorder, Strong Man governments, who are always of very limited horizons but unlimited corruption. Religion that stems from the need for a desperate last refuge cannot be taken "moderately". That last resort for wronged and beleaguered peoples has to be held hysterically, fanatically, even suicidally.
All the desperados generated by our recurrent pattern friendly countries in the South, mostly Islamic countries, know from valid experience that outside this fanatically adhered to refuge, awaits the intolerable vacuum of economic, intellectual and emotional isolation and sterility, and for dissidents certain torture, persecution and death meted out to them en masse by their present or former rulers, who are supported by the formidable power and machinery of the advanced and certainly "evil" technology of the post-industrial US and the "West" .
People are not fools. They perceive with a great deal of bitterness that all the miraculous technology they watch on TV is frequently denied them in the arena of development and production, but "unleashed" upon them in abundance when it comes to the violent process of war and the implementation of control and repression. The peasant farmer, who cannot transport irrigation water to his modest wheat patch, is whisked into military service, where in bewilderment and confusion he is trained on rocket launchers and laser guided equipment!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me share with you a perspective on the recurrent phenomena of mounting violence generated by frustrated human interactions at personal, interpersonal, national and international levels.
If the natural "primary intention" movements towards justice, equity and legitimate human rights are deliberately and repeatedly frustrated in any stronger/weaker relationship--whether that be parent /child, old generation/new generation, ruler/ruled,or rich/poor, on an individual, societal, national and international rich nation/poor nation level -- a whole pathological spectrum of "secondary intention" movements are inevitably generated.
The main energy of the "secondary intention" activities is destructive, inflexible violence in its infinite variations, which include aggression, terrorism, fanaticism and intolerance. If in your depths you absolutely believe that the other person will hurt and harm you and yours if ever they can, a circuit of self- validating paranoia is generated.
Believing we were protecting democracy and freedom, the West played a major role in the frustration of the "primary intention" natural movements in the Southern Hemisphere and in many Islamic nations. We frustrated Mossaddaque and the nationalisation scheme. In the second round of interaction, we had Khomeni. We helped frustrate liberal democracy in the middle East. We helped frustrate Arab Nationalism and encouraged Islamic fundamentalism. Then we had Ben Laden. The pattern repeats itself. Everytime we help frustrate a natural developmental movement we then have to cope later with a multitude of monsters born out of this frustration.
There are some parallels in the tragic relation of Britain and France and Germany during the first half of the twentieth century. World War conflicts pursued strictly and short-sightedly under the win/lose principle could be analysed in a similar way .
After the many short-sighted decisions before, during and beyond the first World War, in the next round of win/lose game and with the victorious Western powers even more terrified by the communist tide, they tolerated, even aided Hitler until he emerged as the uncontrollable monster out of the bottle. He was conveniently anticommunist, but quickly became an out of control monster anticommunist !
Is there a lesson to be learnt ?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I now come to the most serious and shaking part of my address to you .
The post-industrial West is in deep crisis. Outside its glazed enclave of civilised “Us” we have survived and maintained our privileges and interests by practising untold violence on the “Other” by the advantageous use of our post-industrial mechanised warfare. We are now just starting to experience the Nemesis of that formula. We cannot escape the fact that it was we who introduced that post-industrial mechanised warfare.
We introduced impersonal killing: indeed mass impersonal killing. It was we who first over-ruled moral, religious and humanitarian taboos on such practices.
By over-ruling moral and religious taboos since the industrial revolution, the balance of power shifted sharply in our favour i.e in favour of the industrialised countries. Thus World leadership shifted to the "industrialised" and slipped away from the cultivators and agriculturists.
The agriculturists were vanquished by the brute power of steel and of the gun; instruments of mechanised impersonal killing. They were crushed without regard for the invaluable and significant contribution of their cultures, religions and civilisations.
The agriculturists worked with life and with nature, knew of rhythms and cycles, respected intuition and emotion, and those aspects of human existence that cannot be measured or described but are so important. They were crushed.
The new industrialist masters of the World worked with metals and machines. They lost touch with "soft" life and its cycles and rhythms. They developed a new arrogance towards nature, and sought to master and harness it at will. They laughed at intuition, despised emotion and true spirituality, and would not acknowledge or respect anything that could not be measured, described and demonstrated in tangible ways i.e. captured and reduced to numbers and data.
Our relation with weapons and arms proves beyond doubt that we have failed to carry the banner of civilisation and freedom forward in some fundamental way.
When men first invented weapons and pursued their individual and group interests by using them, they were limited by the primitiveness of those weapons. This limitation controlled the possible damage and slaughter, and enforced a man to man quality on conflicts. For a long time the numbers of humans killed, mostly in one to one battles, were inevitably limited. Non-combatants were relatively immune. The victims of tyranny far exceeded the victims of wars and battles. This applied till the West underwent the industrial revolution and evolved with it weapons of impersonal killing.
We have a deep social, moral and security crisis in the West.
We are truly terrified not just because of the enormity of what happened on 9.11, but because since the industrial revolution we have had no compunctions about using and developing mechanised warfare and/or weapons of mass destruction and mass impersonal killing, as instruments of our power and dominance.
The spectre of history turning full circle to place us at the receiving end of our own evil inventions is truly terrifying. Yet the more developed and sophisticated we become, the more vulnerable we become to the secondary effects of unresolved and deeply hidden atrocities along our social and political evolution. The richer and more developed we become, the more vulnerable we find ourselves to the harm of our own evil inventions falling into the hands of individuals or groups who harbour legitimate or illegitimate hate towards us.
During the centuries of our leadership we failed to ban violence and war as an instrument of conflict resolution. We have never dropped out of the process of continuous development of weapons that become more and more terrible at each round. We have rarely desisted from selling weapons to anyone who could or would pay the price.
For three centuries the challenge of modern instruments of death that demanded new and original means of conflict-resolution, was ignored. International regulation of war remained imprisoned in a false a priori assumption that war is necessary and inevitable. The most advanced nations restricted themselves to clauses about treatment of prisoners, protection of civilians, and the banning of poison gas. All failed to see the obvious, namely stretching all these noble and humane ideas to their logical and necessary conclusion of demilitarisation and the banning of mechanised warfare and impersonal killing as instruments of conflict resolution.
With the advent of post-industrial arms and weapons of impersonal killing, the industrial countries as the new masters and leaders of the World were to face a challenge of enormous magnitude. Will the win/lose, submit or be submitted concepts that have reigned so far continue to dominate human relations, intra-nationally and internationally ?
How can impersonal killing on the unprecedented scale now possible ever be justified on moral, ethical or religious grounds ?
The simple and clear answer is NEVER! Yet we have all failed to rise up to the challenge. Is it not high time we do? Therefore some way HAS to be seen round these three centuries of blindness to the obvious. ALL impersonal killing is immoral and unacceptable!
What religious, ethical or moral system can possibly justify the killing of
someone you do not know and cannot see, who may be completely innocent and may even be on “your side”?
An opportunity, nay a necessity, for evolving indestructible dialogue paths and new norms for national and international relations was lost and ignored during the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century.
The temptation of steel, armour and the overpowering "superiority" and supremacy achieved by the violence of new post industrial machines of war was too great for moral, religious or philosophical issues to impede !
Mechanised, automated wars and impersonal killing represent a deep fracture in the history of the slow human march towards civilisation and humanisation.
It is a deep fracture created, disseminated and perpetrated by us. The casting of a blind eye to the immorality of mechanised warfare and the absolute immorality of weapons of impersonal killing is a serious, mind-boggling, uncivilised relapse in the history of human social evolution, and it is perpetrated by us, the very nations that purported to carry the banners of civilisation and progress. A dream erupted after one of the most horrible excesses of mass impersonal killing of innocents practiced by the industrialised countries. It was a dream embodied in the charter of the United Nations. It is our duty never to allow this dream to perish.
Where were the leaders of the great religious faiths when this flagrant over-ruling of their most sacred teachings (the unacceptability and immorality of impersonal killing) crept through the back door to become the new norm for international behaviour and international relations?
No wonder we in the West and the US became used to glaring double standards. Our founding fathers wrote the magnificent declaration of independence and the “rights of men created equal”.. but cast a blind eye on slavery as it affected “others”, the blacks.
We fought for freedom, liberty and human rights in two World Wars, but supported without limits the creation and expansion of a Zionist state sequestrating and empowering human-beings according to race and religion,
excluding and disempowering inhabitants who were Palestinians, Arabs, Moslems or Christians.
Through the back door, avoiding the glare of human consciousness and the risk of the tormenting human conscience, crept the instruments of death and violence of the post -industrial era, evading any answers or resolutions to the challenges they posed.
They had brought to an end the era of man to man struggle. It was to be from now on, war machine against war machine, with men being used as fodder in the process: helpless cogs, perpetrators, culprits and victims of the war machine.
The subtle change had started with the Napoleonic wars. The American civil war. the Crimean war. The atrocity of impersonal killing became an acceptable norm. The unnatural violence of the industrial age created prosperity in certain quarters but practised, spread and "normalised" mechanised automated violence of an unprecedented scale on "self" and on "other" .
Impersonal mechanical violence of enormous proportions did not jolt the Christian West -- the new leader and teacher of the World -- into exploring the now imperative alternatives to the winner/loser, conqueror/vanquished, submitter/submitted patterns, or to the terrible dilemma of mechanised impersonal killing of innocents by the automated responses of dehumanised soldiers, who are trained to be triggered by orders from superiors in automatically hierarchial social formations which all are brainwashed to call glorious armies
The Jews of the Christian West in modern times, understandably maddened by the holocausts in Euorope, had no time or space for moral considerations about impersonal killings of “other”. They had no time or space for rising to a supra-literal understanding of the old testament.
Study the training sequences of any mechanised automated army soldier. You will discover that we are still engaged, on an unprecedented scale, in turning sensitive human beings into automated machines for impersonal killing and destruction. One of the peak tragedies emanating out of this Western blindness, incongruously denied and glossed over, was the full chronicle of the horrors of the second World War. It is a chronicle hitherto deprived of critical examination and understanding by all sides, through our habit of escaping unpleasant data by plunging into the oversimplification of absolute good on one side in opposition to hysterically demonised absolute evil on the other. There are islands of sincere attempts to transcend these circuits and it is our duty to give maximum support to valid attempts at cross cultural communication to an extent where demonisation and dehumanisation of other becomes untenable.
For generations the ecstasy of the delusion of power generated by these deadly machines was to blinden "the leaders" to religious, moral, ethical and human compunctions. Blithely oblivious to the nature of the seeds they were sowing or the precedents they were establishing, they plunged themselves and the World into the blunders of the First World War, the Versailles treaty, and then the Second World War. They coined the term "unconditional surrender" in conflict. The very antithesis of the concept of conflict resolution upon which the UN was born.
We, the material and moral leaders and masters of the World, have been teaching the whole World throughout the nineteenth century and throughout two World Wars about the legitimacy of violence, about the supremacy of the win/lose principle in human relations, about polarisation into absolute good and absolute evil, and about "unconditional" surrender. The ultimate horror peaks of mass impersonal killing of innocents, still failing to breathe life into our deadened moral eye, came with the deliberate bombing of cities and civilians, the indiscriminate cold blooded execution of ethnic and political groups chosen for persecution or extermination at a mind boggling scale, the development of the submarine, the intercontinental death carrying missile, the high explosives and the means to propel them hundreds or thousands of miles to rain death and destruction upon utterly unknown recipients, civil or military, young or old, the science of generating fire storms in civilian cities and then the ultimate violence to humans of the Hiroshima Uranium and then the Nagasaki Plutonium bombs followed in Vietnam by the ultimate violence to nature of “agent orange” and by the callousness towards life and Earth and history of depleted uranium coated explosives in Iraq.
The effect of this negative "teaching" must never be underestimated or forgotten, even when speaking about something that seems totally unrelated like the violence in Iran or Libya or Ireland or Palestine or Indonesia or Cambodia or Iraq or Yugoslavia or Lebanon or in the former Soviet Union.
We have fed so much violence into the collective human consciousness.
If the maturation and critical self appraisal process fails, and the unitary vision continues, the circle of violence will come round to us and to the UK and France. Violence without causal cures will amplify enormously within the social fabric of the US, which is already unprecedentedly violent and increasingly vulnerable. The pumping in and condoning of the generators of violence any where in our "village" World condones and generates violence everywhere else.
Ladies and Gentlemen
It might be argued that the World has always been violent. History is a continuous record of that violence. The West cannot be blamed for a universal human phenomenon.
Indeed violence has unfortunately always been practised as a normal method of conflict resolution and as an instrument of power by many societies -- contrary to man's evolutionary role in the biological scale. The West did not teach the World violence. That would be a silly and uncorroborated assumption. The West practised and taught the World post-industrial violence on a massive and unprecedented scale. This is violence with a difference. Mass impersonal mechanical killing was introduced as a norm. IT CAN NEVER BE NORMAL, and yet the West taught the World that it was normal and even glorious..
This was a qualitative quantum leap into a black hole that should and could have been prevented, and can still be controlled and reversed. With all your determination, maturation and cooperation, conflict resolution by violence can be gradually banished from our World in accordance with the spirit of the UN charter.
Faced with the utter immorality of mechanised impersonal killing, the West, as leader, should have devoted all its ingenuity to devise non-violent means of dialogue and conflict resolution when faced with the challenge of the new "killing machines" . The resources at our disposal are enormous. The terrible challenge to all basic moral and religious values should have induced the best in the West to embrace and develop upon the Ghandian path, which was actually demonstrated to them, both in principle and by example.
We must now work together to re-bottle the genie we have released. The spirit of our UN charter demands it and we must work together to make it a reality. We will have to compose a new and utterly different Geneva convention.
Ladies and Gentlemen
An unprecedented trade in "advanced" weapons to "backward" countries, tantamount to the exporting and condoning of violence, MUST STOP if any true progress towards dialogue and a healthy pluralistic World community is to be achieved. I truly expect some effective measures and mechanism to ban the international arms trade. I know that I and all of you will meet deadly opposition from the arms cartel in the US and Worldwide. The continuous scrapping of old and development of new more deadly instruments of mass impersonal killing has become deeply intertwined with our economic prosperity and employment figures.
If we allow the flow of arms to continue from North to South, it will certainly go on aborting the normal processes of socio-political development. It will mean governments without "consent" or accountability. It will mean suspension of civil and human rights, endless strife, unrest, economic failure, extremism and fanaticism and continued threat of terrorism and perhaps even civil war.
We must co-operate to create alternative paths to prosperity and employment if we really want peace and security.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It would seem that one of the curses of Holocaust and Violence is that it imprints, upon perpetrators AND victims alike, holocaust and violence as the pattern for human relations. The holocausts of the thirties and forties in Europe have been exported all over the World, and most tragically into the Middle East.
On all sides, generations are forged who believe in violence and the necessity of "crushing" the "other" who is certainly waiting to crush you, as the only form of "dialogue."
There are many hopeful contrary signs and contrary awarenesses. These initiatives badly need to gather momentum and be supported by all of us and by our enormous resources and technological know-how.. This is why I address you today with such candour. How can we break the circuits of violence and counter-violence in the light of all this?
The sum total of the US and Western stance so far, in this respect, is to pay lip-service to alternative postures in human relations and dialogue. Perhaps some even pay lip-service admiration for the Ghandis, the Zaghlouls, the Martin Luther Kings, the Desmond Tutus, the Nelson Mandelas and for the process of DIALOGUE.
In reality we all continue to undermine the non-violent, dialogical stance in power relations by our continued practice of the win/lose principle, and by our rabid arms production, development and export, which is now so deeply embedded in our economic growth needs and well-being needs. This is a dilemma that must be solved!
Many reigning anti-life anti-human stances are backed by a mostly win/lose mass media apparatus that is manipulating and selective inspite of the aspect of unbridled freedom and fairness.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is superfluous to remind skeptics that non-violence is NOT submission. It is not weakness. It is the highest and most sophisticated practice of our powers, resources and technologies. Non-violence is NOT Munich and Jews being led in submission and aquiescence to certain death. The lessons must be learnt from Ghandi, Zhagloul, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and the many people of faith and vision who made the changes they spearheaded possible through the persistent and insistant use of the effective power of non-violence. It is in our deepest interest not to allow them to fail, but to learn from them. It is an ever enlarging, ever renovating, art/science of the practice of legitimate power and use of constructive resources in human dynamics.
Above all, non-violence is based on the win/win principle and never on the win/lose principle, which is the hallmark of Western culture.
The success of non-violence demands a tireless and dynamic perception/analysis and knowledge, using all possible advances and technologies to monitor and predict the mechanisms of generation of violence, and to amplify the ability and the exercise of effective PREVENTION by the courage and skill of intervention at the right time and place. Non-violence is built on the belief in the sanctity of human life, and in the practice of that belief. It will be seen then that for Western society -- and the many societies now modelled on Western patterns and armed to the teeth with US & Co weaponry or USSR and Co weaponry -- the achievement of non-violence is a long long haul involving enormous efforts in education and liberation, and the re-establishment of communion with the biological forces,both internal and external, which were largely neglected in the reigning Western materialistic cultures.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The politics and economics of experience, and aesthetics and cultural “values," is an area to which we have to devote a lot of attention.
Before the industrial revolution, "plenty" for all was impractical. Society had to be stratified with cruel discipline. That cruel stratification had to be sanctified by "divine" or quasi "divine" decree and by the most brutal human implementation. That sanctification,however, did create a form of stability and liberation in that all including the least privileged believed that their predicament was divinely ordained. There was no scope or possibility for change or protest or the experience of suffering.
That state of affairs, because it depended on extreme and ruthless violence to keep and maintain the status quo, was "liberating" in allowing a flurry of creative production in many spheres, including the arts. At that period of development, the arts developed values and concepts that linger today even though they are mostly irrelevant and restricting. "Truth" in its protean, dynamic, multi-dimensional, sequential nature, was not the guiding force and generator of "aesthetic" values. “Truth” was diminished into the "ideal" dream or semi-dream World of the privileged in the socio-economic-political structure on one hand and the INTERESTS of that self same stratum on the other hand. It was that "interest" that generated the aesthetic value system upon which art and culture were to be judged, measured, allowed or disallowed. It also generated the very subtle value system upon which history was to be recorded and presented in a fixed good/evil light. It was a process that subtly banished truth as seen from an unadulterated life perspective being used as the yardstick. It explains why and how the great Mozart Operas, probably the greatest works of art which offered in Music a most challenging “modernisation” when he breathed life equally into all his characters whether good or evil. Mozart presented “truth” as being the life and living content of the drama and the music and not the affirmation of a priori aesthetic or political values. No wonder Mozart was rejected in the Hapsburg Empire, which was already feeling threatened, not yet by communism, but by the tide of the French revolution. The essence of Mozart is still spastically rejected in most of the political decision-making circles of our troubled World.
It is therefor important, in the process of reappraising history, and in our ability to live together in peace, to pursue the re-discovery of a fundamentally deeper role for the arts. We need to re-discover aesthetic values, and to re-read history through the perception of BOTH (or ALL) sides in a conflict taking multidimensional life as a yardstick. We need to understand both sides in a socio-economic- power structure i.e. the female side of the male/female dynamic, the children's or the youth side of the generation dynamic, or the defeated side in "hot" conflict. To bring this almost intolerably challenging perception nearer home where it hurts, we need to listen to the Palestinian side in the Middle East dilemma, and so on. We need a history reconciliation committee of the highest calibre which is utterly immune to pressure, protest or blackmail from any side. This is one pre-requiste in attempting to understand our history -- and therefor our present -- in a deeper way, teaching us to listen to the "other", who in our conditioned frame of mind and orientation is automatically silenced and exteriorised, condemned beforehand and never allowed any leeway for self expression -- unless it is within our frame of the "acceptable".
If, by some fluke, we are exposed to some freak expression from the “other” side, we maintain our false safety by never listening seriously or attentively to the other. It is currently unthinkable that the expression of the "other", outside the realm protected by our "aesthetics" and by "history" , should in any way modify judgement or action that is contrary to our a priori held beliefs or interests.
The majority of men had to be "enslaved" one way or another in order to make a success of pre-industrial socio-political structures. To make a success of the industrialisation process the majority of men also had to be "enslaved", but in an even more cruel and distorting fashion.
To make a success of the "industrial revolution" before the advent of automation, "unlimited" energy resources, cybernetics, systems applications and the electron revolution men, had to be forcibly moulded into unnatural mechanisation. They had earlier been moulded into the "divinely" sanctioned demands of the status quo in a predominantly agricultural World, which at least had the grace of closeness to nature. With the advent of “modern times”,they were to be further forcibly moulded into the quasi divinely sanctioned demands of the machine in an "unnatural" and "hard" artificial World. Mechanisation, compartmentalisation, further denial of vital aspects of body, mind, soul and emotion of the natural human makeup, was enforced with the undoubting certainty of the "truth" and "supremacy" of these unnatural values.
(a change which is so masterfully depicted in Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times”)
The violence of that process was extreme. It was the worst violence of all time, simply because its birth in human history started with human societies
learning how to substitute overt violence with occult indirect violence. Post-industrial societies were learning the "art" of unprecedented violent manipulation without that violence being perceived as violence. They had learnt how to exteriorise, rationalise and deny violence. Societies that had become violent to an unprecedented and unprecedentedly unnatural degree had on the outside become unprecedentedly polished, disciplined, kind, clean, humane, uniquely "civilised", “cultured" and studiously "correct". It is in the light of this concept that some of the happenings in Nazi Germany can be understood.
After the developments of technology, energy, automation and the electron revolution, post-industrialised western/westernised man needs to shed an "anti-life" historical/conceptual adaptation, to which he had imperceptibly become victim and perpetrator. He attempted that liberation seriously in the fifties and the sixties, after the hitherto unprecedented, unbridled violence of the Second World War, which had followed so closely on from the First World War – itself already a disaster of unprecedented violence.
The breakthroughs of the sixties led to -- or were led to -- relapse and bankruptcy. I believe that this happened when the promisind youth of the sixties failed to stick to their commitment to non-violence.Still they did leave a lasting new consciousness. The promising breakthroughs of the eighties and the potential birth of pluralism and the win/win principle following on the non-violent fall of the Berlin wall, is seriously threatened by the anti-change forces within the structures concerned, as well as by the unbridled "Rambo/James Bond" behaviour of the super-power leading country of the World community.
It is this behaviour which I am here to expose and to work to transcend hoping the terrible shock of September would catapult us into the needed new conscioussness.
We in the US, as the only remaining “super-power,”are now living in the extremely dangerous shadow of interpreting the changes and developments and birth pangs of a potentially pluralistic win/win World as being a sign of our own ultimate triumph in a win/lose game: the end of history and the collapse of all rival "empires" and rival cultures, as well as all alternative socio-political-economic thought.
We as dominant super-power need to transcend the temptation to wield the United Nations as an instrument of our own interests, away from the necessary neutrality needed if the new pluralistic, win/win World order is to be mid-wifed: a World order never again to be made up of absolute baddies and absolute goodies, as we are taught in the "Rambo, James Bond" culture !
The dream of non-violent harmonious pluralism from the personal to the intra-national and international levels has ceased to be the domain of unrealistic, impractical poets, but it has become a REAL POSSIBILITY.
It has also become AN URGENT NECESSITY since September 2001.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I propose to you immediate steps for Universal demilitarisation, disarmament, peace keeping and eternal banning of warfare as instrument of conflict resolution, and of course an absolute ban on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, including unintelligent, impersonal “intelligent” rocket technology.
You must all help with this dramatic proposal. You must all help in the forging of alternatives for economic growth and prosperity other than continuous armed conflict.
Which countries ? which groups ? which agencies ? which forces ? which individuals ? which cultures and political systems ? which value systems will rise to the challenge and help make that unique moment in human history a breakthrough and a birth, of a true realisation of the UN charter and not yet another abortion and a relapse ? ?
I may add that between 45 and now, we have learnt a lot.
There ARE movements towards adoption of environment rights, childrens’ and womens’ rights, as well as rights of the weak, marginal or marginalised groups. This stance is being gradually adopted by an increasing number of enlighted political, social and cultural groups and organisations.
There IS rising awareness amongst people of good will that the values of material power are not the only values, and therefor there is rising a knowledge of the mechanisms of poverty, and the need for the "rich" and "powerful" to participate in many "human" fields. The nations and cultures of the World are truly complementary, they are in MUTUAL need of each other. The "West" has its own crisis and needs help too, if it is to resolve the challenges developmentally.
We need to agree to implement a new “Education for peace and security in a pluralistic World”, which must be part of the maturation of all citizens of a non-violent World, and must include studies of parallel histories, comparative religions, comparative arts and cultural studies, and arts of cross cultural communication and dialogue. We must learn enough about ourselves and the “other” to block forever the paths of demonisation and dehumanisation of “other”that made and still make impersonal killing possible.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The most powerful, leading nation of the World, now finds itself in deep crisis.
I, as president, demand of the Secretary General, and of all the relevant agencies of the UN, each in their sphere, to take up each and every point raised in my address, and make creative, multilateral responses in preparation for the birthing a rejuvenated UN which is much more representative and much more effective as implementor, protector of non-violence and of peace Worldwide. I propose to start with an eternal ban on weapons of mass destruction.
A secure peaceful World requires full transparent information, unmodified by any "judgmental" and/or social, legal, political or economic threats, so that preventive options can be practised and evolved. It is a responsibility on all our shoulders. WE MUST WORK TOGETHER TO SURVIVE.
It would indeed be shameful if we, the inventors of weapons of mass destruction and their first users, should pick on some poor victim country as surrogate devil to accuse, chastise and threaten, for the sins of which we are the most guilty. We and our allies need to resolve the dilemma of weapons of mass destruction by starting with ourselves!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The forces that are so short sightedly manipulating the "developing" countries to make the same mistakes as Europe and the US , without learning from them, condemn these countries to inappropriate decisions by applying inappropriate technology and funding, leading to enormous loss of energy and potential human resources. This blinkered aid to development may in fact be fuelling a process of facade pseudo-development, generating grossly distorted
Human and economic predicaments, with such catastrophic phenomena as intra-national civil war, religious fanaticism and strife, pathological and archaic resurgence of "Nationalism" as a reaction to "culture rape", and the recreation of archaic enclaves based on race, religion, or creed. The tragic circuit of the wronged and oppressed of today becoming the wrong doers and oppressors of tomorrow must be studied and analysed, and suggestions for resolution must be made. We must learn from history and then transcend it, otherwise those who are too blind or too blinded will be condemned to repeat it. One of the deepest lessons of three centuries of unprecedented violence and blood letting since we introduced mechanised warfare, is that there are limits to force! You can submit the “other” by force, but you can never win them as safe partners and co-inhabitants of the shrinking planet.
I call for a serious development initiative. The fundamental pre-requisite for development is participatory representative government. This has to be a reality for ALL peoples of the World. It is a top priority for a UN dedicated to pluralistic peace and security
* * * * * * * *
This stream of consciousness flowed on, full of hope for the American people, who deserve help in understanding why they are so hated in so many parts of the World. I wished I would never wake up. But in fact I was rudely shocked into awakeness by the unloving assault of a real American president, who was whipping up to the maximum the anger and panic of his freedom-loving people, so that in that panic they would go along with the over-ruling of one after another of their cherished constitutional principles: and it is those very principles that made America great that now seem so easily over-ruled according to a clandestine plan of behind-the-scenes interests that are determined to milk the maximum out of the 9.11 tragedy.
I was assaulted by a speech full of anger and threats, declaring, as though proud of it, the first World War of the Century, as though we have not had enough wars and killing yet! A war that is to have no geographical limits and no duration limits on it. A war in which you are either with us or against us, with no third way. A war in which our enemies will be hunted down and smoked out of their caves. A war in which our enemies will be pursued WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE. A war in which our enemy could be everybody, anybody, anytime anywhere.A war in which any one daring to fight against us may be labelled as illegal combatant, so deliberately and infront of the whole World deprived of all human rights, as we brandish to the whole World the demise of the greatest American principles. Is this the road for much needed peace and security?
The real tragedy for the World and the US is that this president and his administration think that they are thus ensuring victory for peace and security.
Anger, hurt, mass media misinformation, and a sense of isolation and fear are relentlessly fed into the American public, and all this manipulation feeds into the almost drunken approval of tragic policies and actions that are counter to many of the greater American principles, and also counter to the real interests of the American people but reflecting the interests of clandestine interest groups and cartels. Can the greatest human principles be so rapidly shed with impunity? Have Americans completely forgotten about the primordial Goddess Nemesis, who spares none however powerful they may be?
It is in the darkest hours that noble and lofty principles are brought to the test of being upheld and pursued inspite of all stresses and challenges. What significance humanity, principles and lofty ideals, if they are so easily shed and abandoned under challenge, however great?