(Swans - October 24, 2011) It's been a couple of numbing weeks in these quarters. But for the exception of the peaceful Occupy Wall Street movement, all news watched or read was about portraying violence -- physical, military, economic -- all over the world. It seems that the further the worldwide crisis is deepening, the human response is to plunge into a tragic, almost Shakespearean path littered with blood and tears. The only answer decision-makers can muster to confront the woes that are ailing our societies is through more hatred of the Other, more domination, more brutality.
In Yemen and Syria, the ongoing repression of protesters has taken thousands of lives. The Tahrir Square movement has just been brutally suppressed by the Egyptian military and a second massacre of Egyptian Christian Copts has taken place. The living conditions in both Tunisia and Egypt have been worsening ever since the Arab Spring, with higher unemployment and food prices. The discovery of oil in sub-Saharan Africa has created mayhem in countries like the Central African Republic, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and Uganda. The U.S. has dispatched 100 military advisers to Uganda (a bad omen). Kenya has invaded Somalia. Not a week goes by without a deadly attack in Iraq as the American military gets prepared to fully depart at the close of 2011, leaving behind after almost nine years of war a devastated country. In Libya, the gory death of Gaddafi symbolizes a revolt turned into a savage civil war that has left the country in shambles, its infrastructure in disrepair, cities like Misurata and Surt ravaged, thousands upon thousands of dead people, and a very unpredictable future. Then, of course, there is the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Af-Pak quagmire, Kashmir, and countless other conflicts around the world.
Europe is not immune to this cycle of violence. The summer riots in London and other British cities have been the worst in decades. Strikes and demonstrations in Greece, a country fast reaching an economic abyss, have long passed the point of peaceful protests, all the while bringing the economy to a standstill. Italians too are taking to the streets, demonstrating against austerity with an anger and violence not seen there in a long time. Spain and Portugal have managed to keep their protests peaceful so far, but as the economic conditions worsen, anger may erupt at any moment. Protests are spreading all over Europe, from Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic, to Serbia, Romania, Poland, Ireland, France, and even Switzerland. Ethnic violence erupted once again in Turkey. Following an attack by members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that left 24 Turkish soldiers dead, Turkey has dispatched between 10,000 and 15,000 troops to the Kandil Mountain in Northern Iraq to surround and decimate the estimated 2,000 Kurdish fighters that are based there.
The world spends about $2 trillion a year on warfare while the planet is going berserk with huge climate disruptions, rampant hunger, over 1.2 billion people without access to electricity, a socioeconomic structure that must be overhauled... Numbing, indeed! The lofty dream for World Peace makes for a nice bumper sticker, but we'll travel a long, windy, and bloody road before its realization.
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