Archive for the ‘Truth & Reconciliation’ Category

Give War A Chance

September 21, 2015

John Lennon sang, with a smug attitude: “All we are saying, is give Peace A Chance”. It could be argued that was justified, when the matter at hand was just the taking over of Saigon by Hanoi. (And the resulting flight of a few million “boat people”.)

A few years later, a calm maniac, who would later declare the singer an hypocrite, fired 5 hollow point bullets at John Lennon. Four of these bullets hit Lennon. Lennon was not ready for this: he was neither wearing a bulletproof jacket, nor had he a bodyguard with him. He declared he had been shot. Later he acknowledged to the police rushing him to the hospital that he was John Lennon, indeed. Every one of the four bullet was lethal. Only making Lennon nearly as cold as ice could have saved him. (But that technique is not used yet, 35 years later.) Lennon had been “peaceful”. However, Lennon’s insane aggressor judged him aggressive: aggression is, all too often, only in the mind of the beholder. Peace did not give Lennon a chance. Had a well trained armed bodyguard been there, Lennon would have survived.

Since then, authorities have kept Lennon’s murderer in jail, trusting force more than the promises of the assassin. When serious mayhem arises, men and women of good will intervene. Such should be the case in Syria, a place ripped apart by a terrible war.

In the grander scheme of things, peace, love, just as war and hatred, come and go. All what matters is to encourage, or carry on with, the most appropriate behavior at the time, given the circumstances.

Two years ago, the dictator Assad of Syria, son of Assad Senior, another dictator, killed more than 1,500, in just one chemical attack, crossing a red line Obama had brandished. France and the USA decided to punish Assad.

The Assad family is the number one cause of the civil war in Syria. As Assad launched the civil war against pacific demonstrators, and then put in the streets the Islamists of ISIS (who were in jail), terminating his brand of power was entirely appropriate.

However, at the last moment, Obama mysteriously called off the attack. France backed-off. This time indeed France was not even supported by Great Britain,differently from September 1, 1939 (when Britain had joined France in opposing Hitler).

Now Putin has surged ahead, sending fighter jets to support Assad. The reason? Russia has its sole basis on the Mediterranean on the Syrian coastal strip. For some reason, Russians consider they have to have such a basis.

France and the USA had a chance to get rid of Assad, and finding somebody more reasonable, and cleaner to lead the secular Syrian government. Now they are in the strange position to have to tag along Putin. But there is no choice. So the Obama administration has made some openings.

Another aspect where the USA has no choice: the failure to act against Assad in a timely manner, besides killing another quarter of a million Syrians, has created eleven million refugees.

In the 1939-1940 period, the USA distinguished itself by refusing all genuine Jewish refugees (hundreds of thousands got stuck in France, which was not cool, because France lost the first round with the Nazis, and got half invaded). Anxious not to look as vicious as in 1940, the USA has now announced it would accept 100,000 war refugees… next year. One cannot stop progress.

What is the conclusion of all this?

Who is going to run the empire? Putin? Which empire, some will sneer? The United Nations empire, of course. It exists, and it even has a law, the UN Charter, someone has to manage it, and, more pragmatically, to impose it.

The problem with the UN is fundamentally the same problem as with Europe: the European Union exists, it has to be managed. It has to be led. France and Germany, when awake, make a reasonable, and just forceful enough, leader of Europe.

For the UN, the leadership has to come from the three permanent Security Council members which are also the leading Western military powers. At this point, it’s pretty much the USA, and France (as Britain is increasingly unwilling to spend money on defense). However, Obama “leads from behind”, and France is already running a deficit more than 50% above the Euro Group limit (and gets little help from Germany which is well below the minimum defense spending theoretically agreed to inside NATO).

How to remedy all this? The USA ought to cooperate more with France, which, not being an island, but, instead, at the crossroads, instinctively understand the necessity to go to war. A way to cooperate is to foster the French military-industrial complex, instead of viewing it just as a deadly competitor.

For example, the USA ought to give up on the worthless and dangerous F35 program, and, conceding defeat, just buy the French Rafale.

France has not remained completely despondent: an accord was just signed with Morocco to train Islamist preachers there. This is actually an astute move. A dance with the Dark Side. But this is a long story by itself, and better treated another time.

The Romans used to say: “Si vis pacem, para bellum!” (If you want peace, prepare war). We are beyond that point now: war is here. In 1936, the Western democracies stayed out of the wars Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy had launched. That enabled the dictators to train their armies, and gain unwarranted confidence. In the shock of one week in May 1940, the French and British armies found, the hard way, that the training of their air forces was insufficient.

We don’t want such a surprise again. Putin has demonstrated he was ready to invade countries. To accept to be led by him is troubling, to put it mildly. Especially as we have a precedent: in the 1930s, the Western democracies agreed to be led by Stalin against Franco and by… Mussolini, against… Hitler. What happened next is that both Stalin and Mussolini allied themselves with Hitler against… the French Republic (hence the fall of the latter).

One cannot “lead from behind”. Obama will stay an object of ridicule, in the eyes of history, and he has more than ten million refugees to contemplate.

All over, the West is cooperating with horrendous dictators: in Gambia (!), in Eritrea, in all places in Africa which contain precious ores, etc. In Libya, the liberation of the country from the bloody dictator ought to have been followed by a military and administrative occupation, with the aim of proposing an association with Europe (the same ought to be extended to Algeria and Morocco, or Egypt).

The empire exists, and it has to exist, lest war spread uncontrollably. Simply, it’s not Mr. Putin who should be left to administer it, because Obama leads from way in the hell back there.

When peace does not work, one has to give war a chance. The alternative is meaningless annihilation.

Patrice Ayme’

 

 

 

8 May 1945 Versus 8 May 2015

May 8, 2015

That was the second day when the Nazis surrendered. The true capitulation, without conditions, had been made May 7, in Reims, France. (The Soviets insisted to conduct another ceremony in Berlin, the next day… and they celebrate it the 9th…)

As the French Republic had declared the Second World War, the surrender in Reims was appropriate. At the time when France declared war to Nazism, the USSR was allied to Hitler (and it as also, de facto allied to the USA, as the president and congress of the USA took sanctions against France and its belated ally, Great Britain… on the ground that those two parents, direct genitors of the USA were “belligerents“).

The rendition of Nazism was celebrated with extreme seriousness, and the same spirit, in France and Germany, on May 8, 2015.

France, Joined By USA Sec. Of State John Jerry, Celebrate V Day, May 8, 2015

France, Joined By USA Sec. Of State John Jerry, Celebrate V Day, May 8, 2015

[Republican Guards Horsemen.]

May 8, 1945, is also the same exact day the Franco-Algerian war started, with a wound that was pretty much fatal. Both facts are related. French civilization (and lack thereof) was central to both facts. While racial fascism was smashed in Germany, for all to see, it exploded on French soil (in an atrocious contradiction).

Let’s recapitulate.

1) The leaders of the French Republic knew, as early as 1919, that there would be another war with Germany. That was mostly caused by the hyper-nationalism, racism and fascism mindset which reigned in Germany. Also Germany had been immensely successful industrially, technologically, economically, leaving both Britain and France behind.

That very successes of German fascism (under Bismarck and then the Kaiser Wilhelm II) seemed to prove that fascism was a system superior to the degenerating democracies of Britain and France.

2) France, all along, prepared for the third round with German racist fascism. However, Great Britain and the USA had opted for the opposite approach. It is of course insufferable for contemporary citizens of the UK and the USA to read that their countries aided and abetted the Nazis (some come to scream about that periodically on this site).

However there is a deep lesson there, a warning for tomorrow: British and American plutocrats drove the collaboration of the UK and the USA with the racist and fascist mindset. So doing, they set-up the conditions for the violent death of more than 70 million people, among other inconveniences. Indeed, if the USA and the UK had made a block with the French Republic, in the 1920s, and especially in the 1930s, the fascists in Italy, Japan and Germany would not have had the possibility to dream that they had a chance in the land grabs they envisioned.

Actually the plutocrats which helped the fascists so much were nearly as culprit as the crazy, murderous tribal nuts they encouraged.

Lessons? Plutocracy can manipulate not just the minds, but history itself.

When democracy stand divided, tanks can roll all over it. Something to remember with Putin. Those who cannot stand firmly for democracy, encourage fascism.

3) War can turn badly, unexpectedly. The Nazis use insane, desperate, strategies which turned around the mightier French army and its slow poke little British bulldog. This military disaster of May 1940 is nearly impossible to reproduce in war games.

Lesson? Don’t underestimate the ability of fate, incredible stupidity, really very bad luck, to surprise even those who felt the best prepared.

This is valid now more than ever. A few nuclear bombs could bring losses comparable to all of World War Two, within hours. North Korea is arming itself to the hilt, and threatened to use its nuclear devices, even against the USA. This should not be taken lightly.

The Franco-Algerian Massacre in Setif:

As in places all over France, there was a massive demonstration of joy in Setif, Algeria. A young demonstrator carried an Algerian flag. He was killed by a gendarme. A first wave of retaliation led to the death of a few dozen colons (or more). The later, in further retaliation, supported by the French army, tanks, even planes, killed in turn tens of thousands of Algerians.

Philosophically, this was a tribal reaction not substantially different from Nazism and the like.

This event is not commemorated enough (neither the French state, nor the FNL, which became the Algerian state, but got started in a different mindset in 1954 are anxious to remember it).

It exhibits a lot of warnings about human nature. It needs to be analyzed more. How could the French forget 15 centuries of tribal tolerance? Because they just finally defeated the Nazis, they could act like them? Inhibitions were lifted for a day? Well, whereas France and Germany are now (re)united, and now share a common fraternity, much work remains to be done in the case of France and Algeria.

A work of truth. Thorough truth.

And that’s not just about Europe and Africa, and the USA. Establishing, and imposing the methods to elucidate, uncover, and make everybody admire truth, is the general first order strategy to deal with the world’s ills.

Patrice Ayme’

No Reconciliation Without Better Truth

April 30, 2015

Can we have true peace without truth about the conflict it is supposed to put an end to?

No.

An excellent example is World War One. It caused World War Two, because the war did not expose the truth. Instead the lousy peace of 1919 nurtured bigger lies, and tolerance for horrendous war crimes. On the German side. The mistake was not renewed in 1945. In 1945, truth was allowed to crush a lot of (German) lies. (Lies made in the USA, or UK, were allowed to prosper, though…)

On August 1, 1914, the fascist German dictatorship headed by the so-called “Kaiser” Wilhelm II, had attacked, by surprise, the world in general, and the French Republic in particular (knowing full well Britain was going to declare war, but hoping to crush France before Britain could raise an army, and before Russia against which it had declared war to, became a problem).

In 1919, the Peace Conference in Paris brought no prosecution for the so-called “Rape of Belgium” (it was worse than rape, as it involved, well documented examples of the most atrocious crimes, such as deliberately Prussian troops killing Belgium toddlers, after an immensely costly counter-attack of the French army, which had strangely infuriated the Teutonic invaders).

After attacking France, Luxembourg and Belgium, the German empire proceeded to deploy a whole panoply of war crimes (the Allies answered in kind for gas attacks, but only for gas attacks: the first gas killed thousands of French troops and would have caused a hole in the front, had the Germans been more ready for it).

This lack of prosecution for German war crimes was not just a lack of prosecution of criminals, but also a lack of pursuit of truth.

All what German military personnel retained from the non-prosecution of their horrendous crimes, starting with war of aggression, was that the Allies did not mind war crimes. Adolf Hitler himself wrote that the Armenian genocide had been well accepted, and that the will of democracies and Christians was too weak to do anything for this sort of things.

***

One of Gandhi’s Errors:

Most of the following quote is entirely correct. Yet it is poisoned with an insidious error. Contrarily to what Gandhi thought, the truth is not about “You” always. The truth is not just about “being you“. All sorts of fanatics were very much about being themselves all too much, throughout history. Sometimes, being “You” is a disease. And a contagious, lethal one.

Gandhi Was Confused: “Being You” & Being Correct Are Not The Same.  Yesterday's You Is Not Necessarily Tomorrow's Truth

Gandhi Was Confused: “Being You” & Being Correct Are Not The Same. Yesterday’s You Is Not Necessarily Tomorrow’s Truth

***

Truth & Reconciliation Commission Saved South Africa:

Mandela’s stroke of genius was to enable the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. Truth & Reconciliation allowed South Africa to defuse great racial exploitation and its attending hatred, and the potential for terrible vengeance. (Contemplate Rwanda, or Shri Lanka for a different approach: terrible war and crushing victory.)

How did truth do it in South Africa? How does truth reduce aversion?

Whenever truth is revealed, and comes to rule, minds are changed. However changing brains requires energy, thus effort, pain. And any system of truth is related to a socio-economic order, a hierarchy. New and improved truth threatens existing hierarchies. They often resist, using whatever it takes. Thus the rule of new and improved truth often brings blood, sweat, and tears.

Thus we see that truth can (momentarily) augment aversion, emotion, even passion. So how can it improve matters? By changing “You”.

Some specialists have claimed that a terrible civil war such as seen in Cambodia (superficially caused by a sort of left wing fascism), was facilitated by a (Buddhist inspired) aversion to truth.

Therefore any mentality which privileges aversion to aversion above anything else, will see no reconciliation with truth. Searching for better truth is a war against one’s own past and present perception of reality.

However, if one is not reconciled with truth, one keeps strong aversions inspired by past tribalism, something antagonistic to a globalized world.

The truth is that racism, the aversion for people of different color or origin, is not just unjustified, but a source of harm.

In the case of South Africa, the USA, people had to learn that truth. Forcefully. And fast. How does one learn the truth? By being exposed to the truth. Generally people who have done something wrong, or who are wrong, have a strong aversion to truth, as it will expose them to loss of privilege, or punition.

The Truth & Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, removed the element of punishment, and thus the main reason for NOT telling the truth. So the truth blossomed.

Truth Saved Germany After 1945:

When Germany got denazified after May 1945, a similar process was engaged (this time by an exterior agent, the occupying Allies). The Germans themselves, in the following decades, learned to embrace the process of finding the truth about Nazism.

I am glad that, in an exchange in Scientia Salon, “SocratesGadfly” found me “not all wrong about Gandhi“. However he cautioned that “even if these gentlemen, Jesus, MLK, etc., weren’t perfect, they still stood out above the general crowd, and there’s still things to learn from them.”

What about things NOT to learn from them? Although I have no complaint about Martin Luther King. Jesus, though, apparently willing to teach violence for no good reason, has also things to teach us NOT to imitate.

Nowadays, at least 99% of people in the West do not think that killing people just because they are not Christian is justified, so we have got out of the Jesus trance. However, in the Middle Ages, the (“Christian”) establishment thought “heresy” (“exerting a choice”) was worthy of the death penalty.

What I reproach to Gandhi was to view the minor problem (getting the British exploitation of India to stop) to be major, whereas obviously the major problem was the 1,000 war, inside India, with Islam.

Confusing a major problem, and hiding it behind, a minor one, is a primordial cause of aversion. That Gandhi and his followers may only understand when nukes start exploding over South Asia.

In general, as the quote from Gandhi above shows, Gandhi failed to realize that truth starts, first as an effort against oneself. Finding new truth is never about protecting one’s old self.

Patrice Ayme’