5 February 2009

War Debases The Self: Adolfo Esquivel

By Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

[Esquivel is an Argentinean Nobel Peace Prize winner]

War is the game of the powerful, the great public vice playing with the life of the people, in which everyone gets involved. Everyone has to live or die. But the true emotion of the game proceeds from the “suspension of conscience”. All through the game, the real conditions have to be dispensed with.

In war, one supposes that not only is one just but also it is necessary to kill. The great sacrifice in war is not so much the sacrifice of life as the suspension of conscience which, nevertheless, the majority of the people find easy and agreeable provided they all do it at the same time.

The great danger of war is precisely that universal necessity of “massive immorality” which provides such satisfaction in playing it. This is what Thomas Merton says, remembering Lanza del Vasto (Italian philosopher influenced by Gandhi), on the deep connection between game and war.

In these days of sadness and death in the Gaza Strip, the media have reported that the electoral programme in Israel turns the war into a game to entertain the audience. In their macabre game, they say, “We have killed a thousand Palestinians and they have killed only 13 Israelis. We beat them by a mile.” Actor Tal Friedman of Eretz Neheredet (a satirical Israeli television programme) says, “The results are good but we cannot be satisfied with this advantage: we have to extend it.” Everyone heads to war as a party but everyone returns defeated with the death of the soul.

In the game of war, the gamblers shuffle the cards and gain with the life of the people, consumed by the mental and emotional garbage that turns social and political life into a disease for the masses. Each one has “reason and truth to destroy the enemy”, to justify the horror and the deaths.

The impunity with which Israel and the United States act is a threat to world peace. In the game of war, the nuclear armament is not the sole possession of the big powers; other countries possess nuclear arms, among them Israel, Pakistan and India and others are on the way to possessing them.

The United States and its allies say that irresponsible countries have to be confronted so that they do not have nuclear weapons. Can anyone say there are responsible countries for having nuclear weapons and that they will not use them when the moment comes? Arms never guarantee peace.

The arrogance with which Israel acts ignoring the rights of the Palestinian people and the demands of the international community damages the people of Israel themselves and the world. They should not forget that you sow what you reap; there is no other alternative.

Israelis and Palestinians have to learn to co-exist in diversity and share bread and peace in the Holy Land, their home and common destiny that has sadly been forgotten and transformed into the “land of blood, hate and suffering”. Till when?

It is necessary to turn the gaze inside each of us and inside each people; to find ways that permit bringing down the walls of intolerance, barbarism, destruction and death. The hope of the people is still alive despite everything. Many Israelis and Palestinians keep working to reach peace and understanding among the people and know that it is the only way to reach a new dawn.

Source: CubaDebate

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