By Debbie Menon
No, dialogue is NOT a solution! It is merely another, quite common, much overused, abused, and never quite successful method of attempting, or pretending to attempt, to find or describe a solution; and it is usually compromised by bad faith on the part of one, two or all parties. Furthermore, it takes the bad faith of but one participant to thoroughly compromise it, and turn it into a strategic tool for forestalling the search for a solution, perpetuating the status quo, or worse.
History has demonstrated this.
A shooting match, with my men in one trench, yours in another, or me in my airplane dropping bombs on you while you run or shoot back at me in the sky, is also a form of dialogue; the most common form, in which one side applies its most forceful and persuasive arguments to prove to the other that their argument is the best and their solution is the best, to which the other side must accede.
Dialogue, ‘in this sense’ two or more parties battering their heads against each other across a table, is no different and no more of a solution than two armies battering heads across a battlefield. I can name too many examples with which you are already familiar. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict for instance. Dialogue, misleadingly called a ‘peace process’ has been a part of the problem, and has served as one more way to evade a genuine solution, which would demand that the intervening party return home and STOP IT!
If everyone would stay at home, then there would be no invaders to fight, and no reason to fight them. As veteran journalist Helen Thomas accurately says
“Get the hell out…”
Everything we see that is happening in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, the Middle East, and through diplomatic channels around the world, are but symptoms. And, by treating symptoms, we ignore the underlying causes. So long as we continue addressing symptoms alone there will be no solution.
And, that is the strategy of the offender of peace and justice, to keep everyone’s eye off the target.
Whether we stay or leave Afghanistan is simply a band aid. Let us refocus. Find the real target.
Let’s get to the heart of the problem. Let’s get rid of band aids and seek a cure.
As the Australian editorialist Mahir Ali says, “to repeat myself, we must stop fighting the symptoms and attack the causes.”
When I define the problem, I come up with proxy guns in the hands of Corporate Business, all marching under false banners of Faith, Nation, Defence, Patriotism, Religion, Freedom, Democracy Necessity, and an endless list of false claims. All Pied Pipers of Hamlin!
Marines, as Smedley Butler has clearly said in “War is a Racket,” are simply the hired hands of businessmen who supply and possess the guns. One possible solution would be to disarm businessmen! Take the armies out of the picture. This is something which would have to begin “at home,” in all houses.
Are you listening mothers?
The question should be asked, what are all those American forces doing in distant foreign lands? Why are they present in more than one hundred foreign countries, in most of whom they are not even engaged in some sort of conflict?
The Anglo-Saxon Press and its military has this strange misunderstanding that they are the rightful native people wherever they go in the world. And that everyone else is a foreigner without rights. They talk about “foreign fighters” coming into Iraq or Afghanistan. The US attacked a town in Syria decimating a civilian family of five, to prevent foreign fighters from interfering in Iraq. US forces kill eight in helicopter raid on Syria | World news …
You once had in India what is described in Western History as a “Rebellion.” I ask, how can a bunch of brown skin people, all of whom were born in the land, and from families who had lived in the land for centuries, conduct a “rebellion” against masses of foreign soldiers who do not even look like them, worship the same gods or speak the same language and none of whom were born there, but all of whom had arrived by sea on foreign ships?
In all guerrilla wars, the guerrillas do not need to win a single battle to prevail. They only need not give up resisting. That was the strategy of the American War of Independence. George Washington lost almost every battle yet won the war. His heroic feat was to keep an army intact until the British eventually got tired of war and went home. And ran out of money!
Because of the diversity of cultures in the world, all people may not choose the same methods or principles, in government, sex, family values, prayer, war or peace, commerce, theft or criminality. What is good for the goose is not always an acceptable diet for a gander.
Taliban? Schmaliban? Fatah? Hamas? Hezbollah? A people’s choice, an imposition by force, religious persuasion, or whatever means or whatever they will tolerate from their own people, in the name of government, is to my mind, as long as it is domestic in nature, always preferable to that imposed by an outside power.
First, you must define the problem, and what may constitute a solution. And then apply the moral principle of who decides it, who applies it, how, and to whom! You?
A solution for whom? You? Me? The United States and Kingdom of Israel? Abu Ali, or Abu Basha? Abu Frick, or Abu Frack? Gospodin Putin? The people and tribes who call themselves or are identified as “Afghans?”
Not all people may vote the same as you, but will you allow them to vote their way if it is not your way?
Whatever solution to whatever question you come up with, is it one which you would like to see applied in the country which you call “home?”
No, America should stop meddling in foreign affairs. They have entirely too much foreign, corporate, and personal interests influencing their government policies, in both foreign and domestic affairs.
With all the popular analysis, and finger-pointing of ’causes’ of ‘world problems,’ American hegemony, business, Religious fanaticism, Zionism, Islamic radicalism, the struggle for Energy, Dominance and Power, I doubt that we will ever arrive at a sane and logical understanding of a lunatic world populated by a corrupted and over breeding species, which has turned the Earth into a Psych Lab Study in overpopulation straining limited space and increasingly scarce resources, a study in collective psychosis.
For example, how many hundreds, if not thousands, of years of meddling in the affairs of the Afghan tribes? How many decades of persecution and enslavement of the Palestinian people? Explain how this can go on and on.
We must find a more humane way. Education? Persuasion? Debate or argument? But that would work only if some impartial, neutral body would prohibit intervention and aggression. The United Nations tried to do this and enforce them. it is not allowed. As a result the UN is a toothless paper tiger. Why?
Can the peoples of the world do something about this?
WB Yeats’ Second Coming keeps rising to the surface and it is, distressingly, prophetic!
The Second Coming
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
William Butler Yeats
The past is becoming more relevant; perhaps, we shall have much more past than we shall ever have of future.