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The Lessons of Bali
Publication date: 2002-10-15

Another big blast and some 200 victims. And the media and the politicals are calling for catching the culprits, and trying to explain the event.

Some call the perpetrators 'cowards', others call them 'pathetic', 'miserable', and 'cruel'.

Some blame 'poverty', others 'failing economies', and others an ism - this time 'fundamentalism'.

But it is not 'poverty', not 'failing economies', and not even 'fundamentalism'. It is human nature.

President Bush has declared a "war on terror". Some people feel that they are on the other side of that war, and they are playing out the role that President Bush has assigned to them.

He is "out to hit them" - the "terrorists", and they, who identify themselves as "the terrorists Bush wants to hit", are also "out to hit them", but, in their parlance, "them" are "the Americans and all their friends and allies".

It is a "tit for tat", just as between the Israelis and the Palestinians, or the IRA and the UDF, or a shootout at the India-Pakistani border.

No, they are neither miserable, nor pathetic, and they are no more cruel than any pilot of a regular national army dropping a bomb on a city - they are bombing a faceless "enemy". They are "hitting targets", and they are just as proud and jubilant at a "good hit" as their "respectable" counterparts from a regular national air force.

I, know how very difficult it is for some people to accept the "moral equivalence" of "our heroes" and "that murderous vicious scum", but "they" have the same difficulty as "us", just with the roles reversed.

The problem is that "they" are just as self-righteous as "us". They do it, because they believe they are right. Whether they are right or wrong is a different matter, but they do sincerely believe they are right. And it is this belief in the righteousness of their cause, that makes them do what they do.

And the only1 way to stop them is to show them that they are wrong, or, if they are right, to accept that they are right.

The truth is that they are probably wrong in some things and right in some others. But this can be only established, if they could present their case, and those on the other side could present theirs. And then the case would be considered point by point not from the point of view of "us" and "them", but objectively as "X" and "Y".

But because there is no such possibility, and the American Administration see the world in terms of "us-and-them", "they" will be hitting "us" and "we" will be hitting "them". And each one will be mourning their dead and glorifying their heroes. It is just as in all the wars that have ever existed.

It is only a few decades ago that the Europeans, who used to have endless wars between themselves, decided to call it a day, and instead of seeing each other as "them" and "us", decided to call themselves "us - the European Union". They still are quarreling between themselves, but not fighting each other.

Terrorism is not inevitable, but it will take some time before Mankind comes to the conclusion that wars, terrorism, and politics are the same thing - use of violence to achieve some real or perceived advantage over others. The alternative to this "Unholy Trinity" is government by truth, honesty and justice.


Notes:

1) The other way of stopping terrorism, is the one favored by President Bush and his team. They propose to kill all the terrorists. Many people are calling for such solution. This theory was originally advanced and is actively promoted by the Likud Zionists in their attempts to further their objectives of territorial expansion of Israel.

But to succeed one has to kill all of them in one go - men, women, children, neighbors, sympathizers - the whole lot. Killing just some of them, will only create more terrorists. But all of them is a lot of people all over the world. And to kill them all in one go could be impossible.

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