I was listening to a pod cast episode entitled Remembering the Cole by Public Radio International.. which I highly recommend for its content and one of the individuals they were interviewing said something along the lines of ,” We were at Peace until they bombed the USS Cole.”
What really struck me about that statement was both a combination of nativity and ignorance about the on the world and the way geopolitics had and has continued to play out in the Arabian peninsula and the continent of Africa with regards to US involvement.
Perhaps many Americans feel that the United States has only been engaged in armed combat in recent history beginning with the bombings of the US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya respectively. It may have seemed peaceful given our military forces weren’t as involved as they where during Desert Shield, Desert Storm, the Korean or Vietnam Wars and before that WW I & II.
I guess it could seem peaceful when the majority of troops are at home or just on “routine” duties. However our government agencies have bombed, supplied and funded different conflicts during the whole time we were supposedly at “Peace.”
This points out just how much of a bubble and how filtered our media is regarding US corporate industrial intelligence military complex.
I know many people may think everything they see on the nightly news or read in TIME magazine is everything that’s really going on in the world that affects the good ol USA but really it isn’t. I am sure many prefer to enjoy the bliss of ignorance or I can’t really be bothered to care because its not happening in MY backyard and I can say.. our government has a strong vested interest in keeping the majority of the population firmly in those two camps.
Eh.. maybe I sound like some wacked out conspiracy theorist. However the reality is that if there is an effect on our potential security on any level – resource, geopolitical influence or just the corporate bottom line – you can bet your last penny – the US is there in some form. I could write about NAFTA, the World Bank, IMF etc..
Our Presidents secretly bombed nations while we were “at Peace.” Our government has trained and funded groups which have killed and terrorized their own populations in such countries as in Argentina during the Dirty War.
It would seem from the inception of this nation known as the United States of America – we have been at war. If all of these things happened while our nation was “at Peace,” I’d hate to know what the US looked like at war.
Which makes me ask – When did our national Facebook status go to “TTYL Gone Terrorist Hunting -At War?” Did GW change his ringtone to “B.O.B. -Bombs over Baghdad” by Outkast.. to let people know what he was planning on doing?
Our former President George W Bush – verbally declared war but never had an act of Congress passed which would legal make our invasion of Iraq an act of War. It’s simply a military engagement or conflict – legally speaking. So how then can individuals be enemy combatants – we our nation isn’t legally at war?
So if we aren’t at war – where are we – at Peace?
However this makes me beg the question – Are we truly at Peace if others are in conflict due to our economic or resource demands? When our desire for the latest iPhone is driving mass conflict in Central Africa – where rape is used as a tool of war- child soldiers are the norm and strip mining is killing the planet through deforestation, top soil erosion and forced child labor- are we at Peace?
Are we at Peace when our consumption of food that isn’t in season in our own country is leading to clear cutting in the Amazon rain forest and removal of what is known as the Lungs of our planet?
Are we at Peace when because when we purchase an item that will keep an individual in a system of poverty and oppression because its cheaper to shop at Walmart or Target?
Are we at Peace with the knowledge that human trafficking is happening both within our borders and outside them for those who are willing to pay for sex? cheap labor?
Are we at Peace when we know our own life choices are leading to the oppression, poverty and possible death of other people?
During elections everyone will tell you there is a quick fix that we can solve our problems here without truly paying the real price for the change we desire.
It’s a lie. It always is and always will be.
The real price is paying a living wage to people in the third world that we have given the outsourced labor, manufacturing, IT and assembly jobs too.
As much as I love technology, I too have awakened to the fact my consumerism is oppressing other people who I don’t even know. I want to remove myself from the system but to do so would mean going off the grid in every way possible. So I do my best to support Peace in the following ways.
Protect their rights, like we demand for ourselves here in America. Live within my means and get back in touch with the Earth. Shop at the local Farmer’s market. If it’s not in season – don’t buy it. If I don’t need it – I don’t buy it. Buy used and save the difference. Recycle – it’s the best way to share with others. If I can make something myself- I try to learn and then make it. I am starting with household cleaners, blankets and clothing. Use less – less electricity, less gas etc. Go Green. Buy local instead of online. Choose to raise the taxes – and pay for the changes you want to see in your community. Challenge the system – why does the top 10% – get so many tax cuts and the bottom 90% so few?
If we want Peace we need to support it in our daily life choices. Do not ever be fooled into thinking we are ever at peace when other people are oppressed and suffering. May our peace be found in the removal of barriers of access for others, stopping the oppression we see and have participated in through our choices by educating ourselves and others while making better choices. Ameen.