THE ANSWER’S WAR: WHAT WAS THE QUESTION?
7th August 2014
We all seem paralysed by the hideous inevitability of the wars – Gaza, Ukraine, Libya (no Syria, South Sudan?) – that fill your first eight pages (1 August). War is the most necrotic of all fundamentalisms, a brutal lie that obliterates every narrative but its own. What gives this psychopathy, cult, addiction such power over us? How do we recover sanity and agency in the face of normalised, ubiquitous, culturally mandated mass murder?
If war were a killer virus (perhaps it is?) like Ebola or bird flu, we would passionately mobilise to grapple with it. We arraign predators like people traffickers, drug barons, corporate criminals; why are arms dealers, those cannibals feeding on human flesh, not indicted for crimes against humanity?
What does the UN Security Council mean by ‘security’ when its five permanent members massively manufacture and export weapons? Three quarters of the world’s arms, worth $US100,000 billion annually, originate in the US. Is the first step in outlawing or at least reducing war a radical overhaul of an economic system whose only yardstick is profit?
Who designed the missile that brought down MH17? Who invested in its development (my bank, superannuation fund, government?), mined its components, manufactured, sold, bought, transported it? The hand that pulled the trigger is almost incidental. We are all complicit, all accountable.
It’s both impossible and essential that we move beyond this apotheosis of institutionalised, obscenely profitable and largely patriarchal violence that debauches sentient beings, the biosphere and the future. What can I as an ageing woman do, apart from wielding my pen and working to extirpate the roots of war in myself – my capacity to misuse power and dump my shadow on others? How do I bequeath my children’s children a robust and doughty peace, grow more love than warmongers make hatred and fear?
Peace be miraculously with you all
(Published – with some slightly weird editing, an occupational hazard – 15 August, 2014.)