From the fall of Rome in 476 the recorded history of warfare has shown that the quest for power and then holding on to it has cost the lives of millions, if not billions of innocent people, manipulated into fighting by religious or political greed. As the war in Gaza turns into a bloodbath we are again witness to this constant barbarity and manipulation, with military thinking that has changed little over time.
It is somewhat surprising to me that we have evolved from tribes living in caves and mud huts to nations living as sophisticated societies, with current scientific and medical achievements beyond the comprehension of our parents, let alone our forefathers, and yet our barbaric aggression towards each other remains unchanged.
However, there is a BIG change now going on in this 21st century, diminishing forever the control of the political and religious propaganda machines that previously created whatever version of the truth justified the aggression and its reporting, as our technology lifts the veil on the horror of modern day warfare and its causes.
In the case of Gaza, military tactics that Israel has used before to attain its current hold over the region are no longer hidden from view. The mindless slaughter of children is not something new and was carried out in earlier attacks of only a few years ago. One event, killing many school children, was labelled as ‘The Most Shameful Day in the History of the Jewish People’ by the son of an Israeli General at the time*, but remained in the shadows because technology and social networks were still in their infancy then.
A recent report has shown that adverse demographics are at the heart of this obscene aspect of the current aggression as the Jewish minority in controlled land in Israel grows smaller (Source: The Central Bureau of Statistics (Israel). It may be an accepted ‘military’ tactic to kill your enemies young to reduce future aggression or democratic takeover but this, like rape as a tool of war, tears up the code of morality that we previously believed even war must have.
As anger at these atrocities grows around the world, and within the international Jewish community, it becomes increasingly obvious that the vested interests of religion and politics do not want things to change, it will unbalance traditional power bases. We cannot therefore expect lasting peace here as long as the current goals, set many decades ago, remain in place.
Warfare has always been used to divide and suppress us but I would argue that we are in very new and unprecedented territory, as a species, with the evolution of the internet and affordable world travel. We are less separated, as global migration and multiculturalism teach us about each other without the traditional media bias of political and religious vested interest. We are beginning to recognise we may be different races, colours and creeds but underneath these ‘labels’ we all have the same needs and desires to live peacefully on this beautiful Planet.
As we move inexorably towards becoming a ‘Global Village’ the time is fast approaching where the beliefs and tactics of the past are no longer applicable, or viable, in this new evolving arena. We are being drawn together by our own inherent ingenuity and in so doing outgrowing, and therefore obsoleting, traditional patterns of the past. That is the fundamental driving force to Life – evolve and discard!
It is here that I believe Gaza offers a critical opportunity to take us into the new global environment. It was both Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa who recognised the greatest harm comes from our own aggressive thinking. The situation demands therefore that we step outside of the accusations and counter accusations aggressive thinking thrives upon to find a common ground beyond current political and religious motivations.
This was achieved in South Africa by a special man, Nelson Mandela, who was able to do precisely this and in so doing he earned the respect and admiration of the world. It happened again in Northern Ireland with a peace initiative started by Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan, two brave women and mothers who simply said “ENOUGH!” Putting themselves at risk by confronting ‘The Troubles’ which, like South Africa, had been going on for longer than Gaza, they changed thinking, changed words and halted the violence. The world once again recognised their bravery and unique contribution to peace in making them co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.
I would suggest there is an even bigger prize awaiting a similar effort by the people of Gaza. That prize is no less than a prominent place in the history books, paying a timeless tribute to both sides in finding a means of reconciliation that provided a template to grow world peace in the new global environment our species is now entering.
The people cannot do it on their own. They need the inspiration of the care and support that only the global civilian populations can provide for such a ground breaking initiative . . . after all it is in everyone’s interest, and particularly that of our children, to outgrow this Neanderthal human behaviour.
As I write this I visualise a Gaza where the world watches in awe at the manner of the peace building undertaken by the people who just a short while ago were destroying each other. I feel exhilaration at the positive momentum of such work and the feeling of hope it gives me for our species . . . How about you?
Thinking from his book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to The 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes
*Miko Peled YouTube speech which has received 1,359,008 views at the last count. His quotation is 43 minutes into the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etXAm-OylQQ&app=desktop