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Here comes World War Three

April 16, 2018

Ever been in a car that’s lost control? It’s a strange feeling. That moment between when you’ve lost control, but before you know what the outcome will be. Inertia, fear, wonder kind of mix in you. You might ask yourself ‘will this moment define my life?’

A similar feeling gripped me when I heard the news that the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France have dropped more bombs on Syrian people. It felt like a gear had shifted, and until Russia reacted, we were all in a spinning car, heading towards the edge of the road and to fate unknown.

My face book feed was filled with people accusing each other of being conspiracy theorists, or suckers who believe in propaganda. Did Assad gas his own people, or was the gas attack from Western agents in Syria? The US government says one thing and the Russian government says another. I don’t trust either one of them! None has provided clear proof, so no one gets my trust.

So what’s happening? Whose right? Whose evil?

When you don’t know, or don’t have the information, you have to stick with what you do know.

What we know is that war is terrible and needs to be avoided at all costs.

Way back in 1914, people of conscience all over the world watched in horror as a small series of events in Eastern Europe, led to the biggest global slaughter of humanity up to that point in history.

It was unprecedented. Large periods of military growth and economic competition between nations led to the deaths of more than 30 million people. The ensuing ‘peace’ treaty sowed the seeds of world war two. Often I have looked back at the time and wondered- how could we have stopped it? How could world war one and been averted.

There’s only one answer I can think of. People whose countries are about to go to war needed to get in the way.

People who had peace rallies, peace conferences and peace expeditions, needed to practice non-violence in resistance to the violent States in which they lived. They needed to be sitting in the doorways of the army recruitment centers, sitting in the gates of the military bases. Occupying the armaments factories and slowing production. To be telling workers to slow down, or to even stop all together. Like playing the piano, or making a good television production, this would take time to train and practice. But the end results would be less war, and more pressure on our leaders to sort things out without killing large swathes of the population.

What needed to be happening in Europe before 1914 were people training and living lives of community and non-violence, ready to get in the way with their lives and bodies if need be, to stop impending war. With the same dedication and commitment that soldiers go to war believing that killing will bring peace and justice.

As I sat in my car, half wondering if this conflict could turn nuclear, I felt like I had been caught with my pants down. We needed people of conscience organising and training to get in the way of our State when it tries to kill people. But we weren’t ready. Instead, we had our hand in the cookie jar- living the comfortable lives that the exploitation of the world’s poor and the environment gave us. Content with the same meetings with the same people. Content with self-sustainability and simple living, content to live in our bubbles of rich privilege where we need make no sacrifice of our lifestyle or our reputation.

We need to be training for peace as much as armies train for war. How to communicate, how to blockade, how to do media, how to educate.

But also how to forgive and be patient with each other, how to love one another in spite of our fear, greed and anger. How to build a culture that is fulfilling and meets our needs- together.

The car isn’t over the edge yet. We need to wrest the wheel away from our fear and despair. We are still in control- We are still responsible.

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