“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

When Will We Ever Learn?

It is easy to preach peace in time of peace and war in time of war. What is harder is to decide once and for all to repudiate war, and to stick to it, no matter what. Is there ever a 'just war'? I honestly don't know. But I know darn well, that even if the war starts off as fulfilling the Just War criteria, it doesn't stay that way for long.

 Listen to the words of Martin Bell, writing on the Movement for the Abolition of War website: "We have reached a state of affairs where for our own survival, and that of our planet, we cannot afford a future like our past.  We face new forces, of global warming and nuclear proliferation, which threaten our future as never before. I suggest there is a further danger, perhaps less obvious and unperceived, but just as far-reaching in its implications: this is that, for those who govern us, war has become not a last, desperate resort when all else has failed, but a policy option to be plucked off the shelf like any other. We have seen this most recently and appallingly in the war in Iraq. ... It was a war of choice - just as the Great War of 1914-18 was a war of choice."

It is now generally accepted that World War One was a senseless waste of human life. But most folk would argue that World War Two was justified, on the grounds that Hitler had to be stopped. However, like most wars, this too soon got out of hand, and both sides bombed civilians indiscriminately, culminating in the unprecedented horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

And today, this country, the United Kingdom, is one of the major players in selling armaments to the world, being the second biggest exporter after the United States. For example, as Jo Lewington writes: "The tension between India and Pakistan makes South Asia one of the most volatile regions of the world, yet the UK supplies arms to both countries. UK Government officials and ministers, of both major parties, actively promote these sales, with personal interventions and an active presence at arms fairs in both countries." We are also one of the two leading exporters of arms to Israel. Not a record to be proud of.

Which makes it ever more important that the witness for peace should be heard.

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