The Kilkenny Solution
There once were two cats of Kilkenny,
Each thought there was one cat too many
So they bit and they tore, they scratched and they swore,
Til instead of two cats there weren't any.
There are alternatives.
'The next war should be fought with lollies
Then nobody would get killed; they'd only get sick.'
(Patrick, aged six. Lollies – Australian children's word for sweets.)
Let us turn to alternatives,
as politicians and arms-makers openly expect 'decades of war on terrorism' that will continue to destroy our remaining resources.
Every political disaster in the world today is exacerbated by population growth. Figures for population in 1950, now, and estimated for 2050 should be included in every Guardian report of failing states and forced migration. Even the current scandal about bribing to import wheat into Iraq should include the reminder that not so long ago Iraq could feed itself - 1950 population 5 million, 22 million by 2000, and heading to 56 million 2050, despite scores of thousands killed by war. Soon there will be admissions that food aid cannot indefinitely continue to the permanent refugee camps with their growing populations, and our optimistic humanitarianism may be abandoned as billions struggle to exist.
It is tragic that for survival the poor need to have fewer children, when children are all they have. It is criminal that Western countries have prenatal policies for themselves, and so cannot lead in a global rights program of 'only two children per couple and a decent life to rear them'. It is disastrous that capitalism has not worked out how to compete for universal growth in quality of life rather than profits through waste and obsolescence.
The enemies are out there – everything that is destroying our planet, the natural world, and us all. There are profits to be made in other ways than killing and wasting. Let us divert to save the world's sources of food and quality of life, the historical ploy of nations and groups that divert internal dissent by turning hatred to externalised enemies – in the short history of my own country of Australia, the Boers, Germans, the Pope, the Yellow Peril, Nazism, Communism, and now Islam. Only Nazism was completely evil.
There are alternatives to fighting terror with more terror, and to flooding our media and culture with reasons for the West to be hated, rather than reasons to be glad. Every person, including writers and artists, can look at how they can 'choose life rather than death' for the living, and make a decent world for the unborn. We could publicise the teachings and texts of Gods of love and forgiveness and of Allah, the Compassionate and Merciful, who are not served by killing and destruction, and the humanist joys of the pursuit of knowledge and the exercise of reason. We could recognise our Original common Stupidity, that none of us are as righteous or clever or as brave as we think. We are avatars in a computer game with the odds set against the human race, and that is where male testosterone can be directed to achievements and the feminine can be creative – yin and yang.
REMINDER LISTS to keep up-to-date
i. A Rubble List. In over 76 countries, innocents have died in explosions and slaughter in the past five years.
ii. An Innocents List, a cumulative global database of innocents killed in terrorist and military explosions. Add 20 million+ refugees. Add the bereaved. The horror is seen to be shared world-wide.
iii. A Waste List. Cumulative counting up how much of the world's depleting resources are being destroyed by war, terrorism and the $20 billion+ spent on revenge. The oil, metal, forests, man-hours of work, lives, pollution and poverty.
iv. A Profits List, of who profits from this waste.
v. Indexes of National Prosperity - compiled from indices of constructive economic activity . The destructive activities presently included in GNP indices are listed in an Index of National Shame.
vi. A List of Prophetic Entertainment classifies entertainment that depicts the future - for better good or worse evil. Artists give us our visions of the future, don't they? And what really are Mature Adults?
vii. Jobs that are needed, to replace jobs in armaments and other waste-making.
viii. Peace Museums as complements to the War Museums, to show youth what peace has been and still might be.
For real peace, it must first
For years the whole world has seen on its screens the images of
destruction, anger, violence, horror, cruelty and conflict - to
would be boring.'
Let us now imagine lively never-satiating peace.
Let everyone play their part for peace that is based on 'Freedom from
want', the two universal freedoms,
without which 'democracy' is a mockery of a gift to send abroad
or to believe we have at home.
This recommendation to
was written on September 17, 2001, as President Bush prepared to
inflict terror in response to terrorism, warning of war lasting for
years, and taking away liberties in the name of defending
There may now be more freedom for Western armaments sold abroad,
economic exploitation and colonialism, global ravaging of the earth,
political assassinations, and more innocents bombed - indeed all that
has helped to evoke the present hatreds of the West. Abuse of freedom
by the greedy has helped to evoke forces that hate that freedom. The
agenda of the terrorist fanatics increases abuses and excesses - to
keep the people ignorant, compliant and brainwashed, effective rule
by a few, oppressing women, and blind belief in one's own
righteousness and other's innate evil. As long as the West produces
reasons for hating, more terrorists will breed, until hate gains its
own unstoppable momentum, as happened in Northern Ireland.
Instinctive responses to atrocity can be limited, drastic,
expensive and ensure that more hate spirals out. It is the Roman
method that Tacitus described "They make a
desert and they call it peace". But appeasement is not
peace either. Nor is isolationism, escaping, or pretending
'Peace, peace, when there is no
lists for Imagining Peace, as much
as can be set out in a few words. Over $30 billion of military
might is unleashed in response to what around fifty people have
managed to do. How much is needed for this list?
Imagination is from both heart and mind, and all
conscious action is first in the mind.
The terrorist bombings of New York and Washington were not
The American film industry, computer games, music culture and
science fiction have been imagining and enjoying such horrors and
blockbusters for years.
Let us have peace-builder entertainment instead, to spreading a
culture round the world about justice, mercy, kindness and good
humour, and which struggles to solve problems. This requires first
class artists, actors and producers, not second-rate.
the ability to
see more than
what is in front of our eyes
It can connect the present with past and future.
Everyone needs to know the historical facts about the other wars and
disasters of the past century, and about the 'need for enemies' that
has progressively demonised Native Americans,
English, blacks, Civil
War brothers, Germans, Jews, Russians, Chinese, and now Islam.
Everyone needs to be able to imagine idealism as well as hate driving
the suicide flyers - from what sights of poverty, oppressions, and
betrayals. To imagine the enemy as human beings too.
The 'lessons of history' include
how empires have destroyed themselves or bled to death following
vainglorious expeditions to crush the weak.
- IMAGINATION considers the outcomes of a massive war of
might bombing the poor, and what dragon-seed grows from more spilt
blood. Consider outcomes of going all out for freedom from want
- A 'CHRISTIAN NATION' ACTS. The original Old Testament
idea of a covenant with a Chosen People was that they had to be
righteous and fair dealing, in return for a God who would be
merciful to them alone. From this developed ideas of more
universal righteousness and mercy and forgiveness that apply to
everyone. Scriptures roundly condemn pride and vainglory, and
making greed the chief motivater of the economy. All countries are
called to repentance, social justice, mercy, and to love its
enemies and do good to those that hate them. So they: -
i 'Win hearts and
minds' - unlike in Vietnam with Agent Orange and
napalm. The great resources of the United States and its allies
turn to repair the ravages of natural and man-made disasters.
ii. The Clearly Futile Missile Defence Shield project is
diverted to make jobs and stimulate the economy by research
and action to 'make the
world a better place"
planning is made accessible to all, and
a UN Right of Reproduction declared (one child per
person = two per couple), for the First World as well as the
Third, ruling out accusations of genocide. All children born
must be given a chance of a fair life. This Right could defuse
the hatred fuelled by fears of being outbred by other groups
including immigrants, since all must accept this convention or
iv. The Consumer Society that is now becoming the Devouring
Society becomes the User
Society instead. The economic goal becomes to have a
'reasonable sufficiency' not some every richer, while the rest
These small steps would be long steps, away from war and its
Where there is no imagination, or it is channelled into bottom
lines and bottom thoughts, the people perish.
the ability to consider what may be
in real life, not only in
Peace has her pleasures, no less a joy than War (as Milton would agree.)
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