The Ruse of Civility, Or, Ruse Awakening

color-civility-politics-w“When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse.” (The Atlantic, Nonviolence as Compliance)

Similarly, when calls emerge from certain quarters addressing “both sides” of a conflict and appealing for calm, even when one side has been using overwhelming violence from the get-go while the other remained committed to nonviolent tactics with few exceptions, we can all be sure that a ruse is in the work.

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Prodemocracy Activists & the Global System

Prodemocracy activists in Hong Kong marking the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square Massacre, June 1, 2014. (Photo: Jessica Hromas, Getty Images)
Prodemocracy activists in Hong Kong marking the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square Massacre, June 1, 2014. (Photo: Jessica Hromas, Getty Images)

I have visited this theme before, and I will probably do it again, because the hypocrisy and/or ignorance involved here is simply unforgiveable, and because I need to stake out my position more clearly on the matter.

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Justice for All, or Peace for None!


When the murder itself is not the problem and the identity of the victim is irrelevant; when the identity of the murderer is the thing that prompts reaction and dictates its nature and scale, is it really surprising that we live in mayhem, and that hypocrisy is the guiding ethos of our lives? So long as our support for justice remains selective, the very notion of justice loses its meaning. Those who truly believe in justice have to be consistent in their stands. Syrians, Iraqis, Darfuris, Yemenis, Somalis, Pakistanis, etc. deserve justice no less than the Palestinians, irrespective of the identity of the persecutors involved: ruling regimes, extremist militias or foreign occupiers.

Disaffection and the Future

Vladimir Putin in Time Magazine
Vladimir Putin in Time Magazine

Mere disaffection with the status quo in the world, or one’s lot in it, is not enough to help chart a path beyond it. A guiding vision is needed, and in order to formulate the right vision, which needs be inclusive and fair, an open debate of the issues is a must. Otherwise, processes will be guided and outcomes determined by figures and parties armed with the narrowest of visions and the lowest of ethical standards, people like Putin and his obsession with the return of Greater Russia, and groups like Al-Qaeda and its determination to revive the obsolete Caliphate system. While neither Putin nor Al-Qaeda is in a position to directly threaten global peace and stability, the localized regional mayhem they create is more than sufficient to harm millions of people, making this world a more dangerous place than it needs to be and rendering hope in a better future irrelevant. Atavistic longings cannot pave the way to a better future.

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