It’s not that I know much about the world. I have to admit, compared to professors, researchers, academics, covert information gatherers and world leaders, good and bad, I know nearly nothing. History, political science and government are classes I took long ago and probably they have little to do with world conflict today. While I freely admit I have little factual information about the world’s hot spots, I think I may know something about people. I also think I may know a little something about what is or is not reasonable. So when I say I want to make some remarks about the group called ISIS or ISIL, it is with a 100 foot high disclaimer in which my ignorance is duly noted.
What little I know, however, is scary. Damn scary. That a small, determined, hate-filled force can gather so much momentum and attract so many fighters and manage to expertly train those fighters in such a short amount of time is awesome and terrifying. This group has no moral code, not scintilla of doubt about the rightness of their murderous rampage. There are no limits to their destructiveness, their violence, their homicidality. It matters not a whit that they are murdering human beings by the thousands, that those human beings are their brethren or at least are sheltered under ‘Semitic’ people category, referring to their common language base or that they dwell in the same part of the world and labor under the same difficult political, economic and familial circumstances. No, apparently none of that matters. What seems to matter is land…they want more and more land. Why, not to develop peaceful communities where their families can live in peace. NO. They want land so they can control and monopolize the entire region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. Why?? I’d just be guessing here, but I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s about control. Control of the region, control of the oil in the region, control of every country in the region until, as each nation/government falls before them there will be One Single Arab presence in the world. One Arab Country controlled and led by one ‘duly elected’, though through armed violent takeover, government.
Now, admittedly, I’m not too familiar with the Shiites or the Sunnis, but I am familiar with hatred. I am familiar with discrimination based on something; skin color, religion, sex, size, age, race, property ownership, disability or personal philosophy. And what I can say about hatred, strife and ongoing inter-generation conflicts over rights and property, is there’s a lot of it going on. And there has been since Cain and Able, since Romulus and Remus.
The wars we create to fight others who are more like we ourselves than they are different are endless. Since the beginning of time, when man could hardly string more than a few simple words together, there have been fights to the death. This is my cave, my dead mammoth, my woman. We clubbed one another until we learned how to make knives, spears, swords, bow and arrows, guns, submachine guns, guns that could be mounted on Sikorsky helicopters, guns popping out the top of Russian armored tanks. There’s been endless gunfire, an endless effort to create greater and greater weapons, endless dead bodies scattered across the scorched earth. So why is it, given our advanced education, our advanced intellectual prowess, our advanced technology, our amazing stream of inventions and conveniences all the result of mankind’s incalculable intellect and creativity, given all these exceptional advances our problem-solving abilities are so dramatically inadequate, our abilities to negotiate are so limited and our communication skills are so stunted. With so much hanging in the balance, the delicate and increasingly fragile balance, I wish improving our ability to talk with and cooperate with one another would be more highly valued. Returning to the basics seems indicated. And I don’t mean the basics like hunting for our own food or living in log cabins. I mean the human basics…person to person basics. That’s the ticket.
In schools there are ‘anti-bullying programs’, in companies there are ‘sensitivity training’ classes, there are pre-marital programs for soon to be newlyweds, there are ‘parent effectiveness training classes’ for parents wishing to improve their relationships with their children. Interpersonal skill sets are out there folks but we need to recycle them, re-purpose them. Let’s write a new course and call it ‘Unite our Differences.’ Let’s make it mandatory for every leader of every tribe, clan, county, city, state, municipality or nation across the globe. Let’s help those who matter in these daily battles to think differently. The goal would not be homogeneity but respect for and appreciation of one another’s thoughts, feelings, needs and beliefs no matter how different from our own they might be. Only from that place can reasonable communication begin and honest negotiations start. Hey, at least it’s a beginning…