I keep coming back to the upheavals in Egypt. As someone pointed out, what we're NOT seeing are cries of "Jihad" or "Death to America". Those people protesting in the streets simply want their human dignity back. They want freedom to choose their destiny, which means no more dictator, and no more thugs imposing "security". The more people rally, the harsher the spotlight focuses on all that's wrong with the political status quo in Egypt, AND the forces which have maintained these policies--and, yes, that includes our own actions in the Middle East as well as many other places.
"Egyptians will decide...not the U.S." said one protester's sign. And we are slightly jolted with the "affront" of this sentiment. Why? Because we're so used to dictating the terms. We've been doing it the world over for one hundred years. We, of course, frame our actions as benevolent. What aggressor ever identifies himself as anything other than a "defender"? Think about that.
Aggression need not only be militarily. Of course, we have the muscle (and sadly, the stomach) for that, having "defended" ourselves brutally in Iraq and Vietnam to name but two places. (And to what end?) Aggressive policies can also be implemented using money and business to cause a more pernicious kind of creeping violence--what Gandhi called the violence of poverty. To that end, in countries throughout the world we cannot deny our complicity (think Haiti, or Central and South America). One whiff of populism--asking for simple fairness!--is stamped out with cruel force. Clearly, these policies are not the way to peace. Quite the opposite....obviously.
Only policies with peace--not just financial stability, but true peace--as the primary goal will lead to peace. Hating war will not lead to peace. Loving peace WILL beget peace. Let's consider the ramifications of peace as it affects the individual--not the state--first. When we, as a race, finally see that what we're doing politically, militarily, financially and ecologically is NOT the road to the peace we say we want, then considering peace will be our only option. Why wait until it's our last??
- Stephen Jerrome
- Los Angeles, CA, United States
- I am a writer, photographer and musician living in Los Angeles. In the last few years, new written work--numerous plays, screenplays, and two novels--have demonstrated this to be the most productive period of my life. The journal I have also kept for thirty-five years has, of late, become a personal sounding board for my thoughts on peace and the state of the world...about which I remain hopelessly optimistic! My writing here will be in tandem to video "Peace Talks" I have recorded, and which will be released throughout 2011. You're welcome to visit my website, the "Studio 5" link, to see my photographs. As a classically-trained pianist, I have been composing music all my life. Two guitar re-mixes of piano music are attached here, as well as several music videos, including "Consider Peace" the title track of an up-coming CD. Balancing writing, photography and music has been a long and challenging path...not to be recommended! Yet this very Aries diversity reflects an enthusiasm for the modern world of which I feel very much a part.