Peace is the most hyped-up and least valued aspiration of contemporary humanity. Everyone pays lip-service to it, while virtually no-one seeks to practice it actively. The 21st century atmosphere is choking with actual and verbal violence – always labelled “defensive”, of course. The dwindling few who audibly urge peace and behave peaceably are mocked at as weak, even treacherous.
The reaction to
No individual or nation is perfect: there is no room for ‘holier-than-thou’ attitudes, any more than there is for tediously repetitive snarls of ‘yah, boo, you’re worse than we are and you started it first’. Whatever the virtues of the Iranian people, the post-Khomeini regime is a nasty totalitarian theocracy, and while it was feasting its British captives in the parlour it may well have been torturing its domestic victims in the dungeons. But this stomach-churning possibility does not detract from the hopeful nature of what has occurred. The breakthrough should be exploited to the full.
Surely this still infant 21s century has experienced more than enough hatred, anger, violence, and wanton murder. Surely all decent people all over the world are nauseously surfeited by it. Surely it is high time for a worldwide vibrant people-centred [as opposed to government-directed] movement for global peace.
By ‘peace’, I do not mean merely the absence of conflict, or the containment by superior force of still–cherished hatred and anger, but a genuinely peaceable attitude towards other people and countries, and the committed renunciation of violence. This may sound a utopian dream, but if humanity is to regain its balance and endure successfully for another half-century, it has to begin somewhere. And soon.
The only place where it can start is within each peace-seeking and peace-loving individual who aspires to, and sometimes fleetingly experiences, “the Peace of God which passeth all understanding”. But while such benign people are, I firmly believe, in the vast majority there is also a sizeable rabble of angry, hate-filled, and aggressive individuals and groups who revel in violence and must be confronted and faced down by peaceful means - including, if necessary, passive resistance.
Yet again, this is an aspect of the democratic deficit – the insidious way in which small, unrepresentative, too-powerful minorities wag and manipulate supinely passive majorities. The peaceable people of the earth are like Gulliver, bound by the gossamer threads of the Lilliputians. If we wish to survive, it is time for us to rise up and shake them off.