The West likes to think of itself as a truly “peace-loving part of the world”. But is it? You hear it everywhere, from Europe to North America, then to Australia, and back to Europe: “Peace, peace, peace!”
– Andre Vltchek
It has become a cliché, a catchphrase, a recipe to get funding and sympathy and support. You say peace and you really cannot go wrong. It means that you are a compassionate and reasonable human being.
Every year, there are “peace conferences” taking place everywhere where peace is worshipped, and even demanded. I recently attended one, as a keynote speaker, on the west coast of Denmark.
If a heavy-duty war correspondent like myself attends them, he or she gets shocked. What is usually discussed are superficial, feel-good topics.
At best, ‘how bad capitalism is’, and how ‘everything is about oil’. Nothing about the genocidal culture of the West. Nothing about continuous, centuries-long plunders and benefits that virtually all Westerners have been getting from it.
At worst, it is all about how bad the world is – “all people are the same” cliché. And, also, there are increasingly, bizarre, uninformed outbursts against China and Russia which are often labeled by Western neo-cons as “threat” and “rival powers”.
Participants of these gatherings agree “Peace is Good”, and “War is Bad”. This is followed by standing ovations and patting each other on the back. Few heartfelt tears are dropped.
However, reasons behind these displays are rarely questioned. After all, who would be asking for war? Who’d crave for violence, terrible injuries and death? Who’d want to see leveled, charred cities and abandoned, crying infants? It all appears to be very simple, and very logical.
But then, why do we not hear too often that “peace speech” pouring from the devastated and still de facto colonized African or the Middle Eastern countries? Aren’t they suffering the most? Shouldn’t they be dreaming about the peace? Or are all of us, perhaps, missing the main point?
My friend, a great Indian writer and thinker, Arundhati Roy wrote, in 2001, reacting to the Western “War on Terror”: “When he announced the air strikes, President George Bush said, “We’re a peaceful nation.” America’s favourite ambassador, Tony Blair, (who also holds the portfolio of Prime Minister of the UK), echoed him: “We’re a peaceful people.” So now we know. Pigs are horses. Girls are boys. War is Peace.”
When it comes from the lips of the Westerners, is ‘peace’ really peace, is ‘war’ really a war? …