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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

When you lose, you win

I want to talk a bit more about my article on Forgiveness. It was written with a certain message, which, I suspect, wasn't that clear. So I want to add this to it, but in a separate post, since this message is more direct. I hope it's more clear as well.

To provide a different perspective to the topic of America vs. terrorism, let's think about it like this. Terrorists are against America because they believe that American foreign policy interferes with their countries and their religion. They are fighting to get America out of their countries. In response to the terrorists' attacks against American interests, America feels forced to retaliate in return, and increase their presence in the countries of those terrorists. This only inflames the terrorists even more, who use this to further their cause and to recruit more people who are drastically affected by America's actions within their countries. The cycle of violence and revenge continues.

Now, politicians are, generally, a reflection of the will of the people. The reason they are elected and empowered to carry out their policies is because, generally, they are carrying out the wishes of the people who voted them in and who continue supporting them. If the politicians decide to retaliate against perceived injustice, it's because they are reflecting the desire to retaliate by the people they are leading. Realistically, if the people didn't want it, the politicians wouldn't do it.

When the World Trade Center (WTC) was attacked and destroyed, the American people wanted revenge. The politicians went along with the will of the people, and Afghanistan and Iraq were attacked and occupied by American forces. And yet, the attack on the WTC was, in itself, revenge by Islamists against previous actions by America within Middle Eastern countries. They wanted America out, which America was refusing to do. Therefore these people considered America as an occupying force, and so they considered themselves to be at war, with the result being the attacks on the USS Cole, the WTC and the Pentagon.

It is the will of the people that the cycle continues, while understanding and forgiveness are alien concepts that are completely ignored and rejected.

Now imagine this scenario.

Imagine that the people of America, generally, decide that forgiveness is the best policy. They choose to forgive the Islamic world for the terrorist attacks against America, and they try and understand the origin of the attacks, and the anger by the Islamists. In their attempts to understand the origins of this anger, the Americans learn that the Islamists are simply defending their interests - just like the Americans are. The Americans, realising that they themselves were the cause of the attacks against them, forgive the Islamists for their actions, understanding completely where they're coming from. They demand from their politicians that they withdraw the military and other disruptive agents from those Islamic countries, and let the Islamists live the lives that they want to live.

The politicians, needing to cater to the wishes of the people in order to stay in power, eventually do just that. America withdraws from interfering in Islamic affairs, and the terrorists no longer have any reason to attack America, since 'they won'.

The prideful desire to win a war will only continue the war until 'victory is achieved'. This has a significant problem when the enemy is only a vague concept of terrorism and terrorists. Terrorists are mostly ordinary people, driven to violence by what they perceive as injustice being done to them, their people and their country. There is no way to win such a war, as the more of these 'terrorists' that are killed, the more it inspires the survivors to avenge the deaths of their loved ones, their families and their friends.

This is their perception. Now imagine their perception when the people of America, and as a result, its politicians, withdraw from the Middle Eastern countries. The Islamists won. They forced America to withdraw, and now the war is over. There is nothing left to fight for. And what's this? Oh my... Americans asking for forgiveness? Americans now saying that they understand what happened was a terrible thing done against them, by horrendous US foreign policy?

The prideful desire to win a war will only cause untold deaths and destruction. Letting go of pride, and taking on forgiveness, can only create a 'win-win solution' to everyone. (Except for the prideful, of course, who find it more important to have their pride satisfied, regardless of how many people die.) The war ends. Death and destruction ends. The way is paved for co-operation, understanding, and forgiveness - from both sides.

Of course, this particular scenario, while it might happen, certainly won't under the current conditions. It would take a social revolution within America to get their attitudes changed from demanding revenge, to demanding peace. There are too many Christian fundamentalists fanning the flames of religious persecution, citing Islam as a threat to the entire world. There are too many people willing to blindly follow what their leaders tell them, without thinking of the consequences of their actions, and without thinking of why things became this way in the first place.

Only when a 'critical mass' of American people begin questioning their religious and their political leaders will these changes begin happening.

Christianity, in the form of the teachings of Jesus, teaches forgiveness. Where is this forgiveness, this desire to 'get along with our fellow man', amongst those Christians today? Jesus was able to forgive those who were directly involved in his death, because they 'know not what they do'. We - you - need to try and forgive, to understand, and to move on with these new attitudes, to end the war and move on with peace.

When you choose to lose, you win.

Posted on 3/29/2006 12:02:00 PM Backlinks

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Blogger Alexander said...

This just goes to show you that religion causes more problems than it solves. All religions want everyone to believe exactly what they believe and do not like it when others have a different god. This goes for Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Jews, etc. They all feel that they are the best and that only they are going to heaven (or whatever happens after death). If people would just respect eachother because it is the right thing to do instead of because god will smite them if they don't, the world would be a better place.

3/29/2006 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Alan Howard said...

hi Alexander, thanks for commenting. I agree with you completely

3/29/2006 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous lee pletzers said...

here here, Alexander!

3/29/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Alan Howard said...

By the way, what Alexander said is exactly what The Angel Blogger was talking about...

3/29/2006 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Jack Yan said...

Good point there, Alexander. When we realize we are in this together, we might think differently. Right now, we—most humans—see the world in a “them and us” relationship. There is actually no “them”, but the mentality comes from a lack of dialogue and understanding about others. The more dialogue we create, the more “them” disappears.

3/29/2006 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Alan Howard said...

Agreed, Jack. Communication is the key. The willingness to communicate is obviously one of the first steps.

3/30/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jack Yan said...

Thank you. I am enjoying your blog Alan, and I would not have found it without coComment.

3/30/2006 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Alan Howard said...

well, I'm glad coComment has been good for something! I'm happy you enjoy my blog, and I look forward to enjoying your comments in future

3/30/2006 10:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Deborah said...

Great post, Alan. I agree with everyone about the respect issue, especially where religion is concerned.

As for politicians being the reflection of the will of the people, I totally disagree. When 9/11 occurred, we wanted Bush to capture Osama Bin Laden and execute him for what he did. Bush failed to do that, instead launching this big "war on terror" campaign and leaving Bin Laden to his own devices.

We did not get our revenge, but a war that will bankrupt our country. The longer this goes on, the more I feel we should pull out. I no longer believe that Bush's intent is about protecting us from these terrorists, but protecting his oil dynasty and the American businesses that are stationed in these countries.

Our politicians are a reflection of Corporate America. It's these corporate echelons and the media who run the country, not the president. It shouldn't be that way, but that is what has come to be.

Should we pull out and ask forgiveness? Would that matter at this point? I doubt it. But you never know.

3/31/2006 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Alan Howard said...

Hi Deborah, thanks for commenting.

When 9/11 occurred, you (Americans in general) wanted Osama bin Laden found and executed for what he did. You say that Bush failed to do that, but Bush started to do that, by invading Afghanistan who was harbouring him. Bush reflected the wishes of the people by doing what the people wanted. Sure, he got distracted by Iraq, but really, so did the people. Where was the clamouring for Osama? When all the anger died down, so did the demands for Osama's head. And so Bush allowed himself to be distracted, moving into Iraq.

You're right that politicians are a reflection of corporate interests, but I still feel that the people's interests are also reflected. There's a dance that goes on, that tries to appease all those who have a finger in the pie.

You might also be right that pulling out and asking for forgiveness wouldn't matter at this point. But you don't know until you try. And if you pull out and ask for forgiveness, and they refuse to forgive you and instead come after you, well then you frack 'em up good and proper. Then you're trying to find peace with those who don't want peace. So you give 'em what they want - death.

But trying to find peace is always preferable to trying to find violence.

3/31/2006 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Hagerty said...

Forgiveness assumes that someone did something wrong as does apology. Ultimately there are just events that we label as right and wrong. If someone wrongs me I would endeavour to understand them. If I can truly do so I can't fail to accept them, even love them. In this state what is there to forgive?

3/31/2006 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Alan Howard said...

People are human, and as such, they will always do something wrong. Not always on purpose, and mostly by accident, but they will always do something wrong. Forgiveness is to understand and accept that, being human, it's ok to make mistakes.

4/05/2006 08:57:00 AM  

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