Relax the hold of darkness and be at cause.–Alana Fairchild
If the sacred rebel is not awakened, we will continue to live in a culture drenched in fear and distrust of nature.
In entering the shark-infested waters of this perennial and now hot topic of war and violence, I don’t claim ownership of ultimate truth or morality, especially for anyone else. I simply exercise my right to digest and express my limited understanding, as informed by others and my own inner compass.
To a large extent I choose my information filters exclusively outside the mainstream channels, though many independent commentators I follow do monitor and give their own takes on what comes down the pipeline from our masters on high, for purposes of information, education, and dark amusement.
I also acknowledge personal filters, which predispose me to the views expressed in this piece:
- Born in the postwar baby boom, I first glorified that war before learning its darker side.
- Growing up in the belly of the beast (East Coast USA) I experienced its charms (The Great Society) and betrayals (the Vietnam draft) firsthand.
- I saw the turning of a war hero (my father) into a war casualty (alcoholic).
- I learned of the deceit and genocide of US policy in its conquest of North America, Central America, and around the world, culminating in a race toward Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).
- Inspired by Quakers, I delved into the theory and practice of nonviolence, a moral and pragmatic alternative to war and violent protest.
- I later learned of the cooptation and weaponization of those very tools of nonviolent resistance in the Arab Spring, to foment regime change in the interests of empire.
- I had an Israeli partner for a few years and learned about that people’s history from her point of view, which though Zionist in origin was broadly well informed and open minded.
In short, my lifetime of learning the stories behind the news and what we are taught in schools has immunized me against mainstream narratives. I see no reason to add to their torrent of propaganda, rather the duty to offer the other side of the stories they promulgate. Going further, I resist the tyranny of “news” altogether, and prefer to balance my attention to subjects and activities that celebrate nature, culture, and spirit.
All that said, a real war cannot be shrugged off and wished away. So what response makes sense? Clearly, neither the old normal nor the new normal way to react suffices.
Rather than “supporting” or “condemning” acts of violence or those who engage in it, I hope to understand the situation more deeply, cutting through the simplistic storyline and deceptive propaganda to glimpse a bigger picture. If what follows appears an “endorsement of Hamas” or “prejudice against Jews,” that’s not my intent. I critique the dominant script in order to share that bigger picture. I see no need to repeat the mainstream narrative, but to challenge it where it falls short or misleads.
The Narrative War
The Forgotten History
In regard to Israel/Palestine, simply to call it one name (Israel) and erase the other (Palestine) reenacts the physical and cultural genocide (Nakba) that has taken place there since 1948. Even Wikipedia dares to debunk the arch-Zionist myth of Palestine as “empty desert” before the establishment of the new apartheid state. The Zionists’ presumed blank slate recalls the settlers’ self-justification in the conquest of North America or Australia, that the land was unoccupied, at least not by full-fledged humans in our own image.
Meanwhile, Israel, Western statesmen repeat, is vital to their imperial interests, namely resources and strategic geopolitics. Therefore messy details like the Nakba, like apartheid, like the unsanctioned nuclear weapons, like war crimes against civilians, are best denied, left out of the headlines.
I can hear the incoming airstrikes of “antisemitism.” But first, can we let the dictionary inform us that the actual Semites in this equation include the Palestinian Arabs? Can we trace the roots of Zionism, along with most modern-day “Ashkenazi Jews,” to homelands of Eastern Europe and Russia? Are we allowed to interject that Granddaddy Bush (Prescott) was slapped on the wrist for financing Hitler (but not for his earlier part in a planned coup against Roosevelt), and to wonder what that meant for the unfolding catastrophe in Europe, and what it means for our inherited narratives about good and evil, democracy and fascism, and just wars?
Today there are calls to refuse Palestinian refugees to the US… recalling similar denials of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. The Germans gave the Jews a way out of the ghettoes, and then sent the trains to concentration camps. Now we hear the Israelis told the civilians of the Gaza ghetto to leave for their own safety, then bombed them on their exodus. It appears a case of holocaust squared, where victim becomes perpetrator.
It’s problematic even to call Israelis Jews, when most are secular. Lacking both the religion and genetic lineage of the ancient tribes of Judea, what is their claim to this supposed homeland? If one holocaust is a blank check for another’s homeland, where do those fleeing the current holocaust go? A new homeland in Germany? Ironically, that’s already happening in a roundabout way, with the massive influx of migrant Muslims to Europe.
I don’t have any answers to solve these riddles of past and present history, just enough questions to defuse the prescribed conclusions.
The Mainstream Bias
I acknowledge it’s an “antisemitic trope” to characterize media ownership as disproportionally Jewish, so I won’t go there. More to the point is the monopolistic corporate and government control of the media, to establish and reinforce their own interests. It extends to ownership, editorial bias, advertising dollars, and pressure from government. More persuasive yet is the long and well documented role of the CIA in steering media narratives. So my best response is simply to boycott the lying mainstream media. No news is good news.
The mainstream bias of Western governments is strongly on the side of Israel. The real uniparty stays in line, and it includes politicians who are polar opposites on other issues: DeSantis, Kennedy, Biden, Trump. Supporting Israel may be the only single thing they agree on. My bottom line is to distrust anything the government says. That goes for the daily details of this or that news report, as well as the orchestrated sway of public opinion.
Diversion and Division
With the media as a constant tool of power, public attention can be divided and diverted from other critical issues. Consider the timing of the latest Middle East atrocities, putting in the background the rising charges of corruption of the Biden and Netanyahu regimes, the failure of the neo-Nazi Ukraine project, the collapse of the Covid fear/control/injection campaign, the burden of runaway inflation. Behind and above it all, the bureaucratic steamroller of the global Great Reset accelerates toward a totalitarian caricature of world peace.
The Perennial Issue
Current political machinations aside, we come to the perennial issue underlying the angst of war. St. Augustine famously declared a “just war” theory in medieval times, and that monster is still alive and kicking today, as if its millions of casualties over the centuries account for nothing. I was stunned in a college history course to hear Winston Churchill, Democracy’s patron saint, exposed as a war criminal for the fire bombing of Dresden and other German cities. US President Roosevelt—and my own father, one of the bomber pilots—were accomplices. This week, historian Michael Hoffman laments:
‘Despite 78 years having elapsed since the end of that conflict, the Allied governments and the morality of their ideology of collective punishment are as sacred and inviolable as they were in 1945…. From Tokyo to Dresden, from Beirut ‘82 to Gaza ’09 and ‘14, those war crimes have been consigned to the lowest region of the Memory Hole. For the denizens of the United States of Amnesia, for whom recalling the identity of who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb is a tall order, mass murder committed by “The Allies,” doesn’t register. Arab terrorists — now there’s a meme they can wrap their heads around.’
Was my father to be supported or condemned for killing Germans to save Jews? It’s enough to drive a man to drink.
The chain of logic begins with a reasonable proposition: self-defense. The problem with history, and its aggregation of power upwards to the state, is the capture of a personal principle and its weaponization for the aggrandizement of wealth, territory, and power itself. Thus we see the drift from self-defense, to the crusade and the just war, to national security, to imperial reach, to the preemptive strike and the Vietnam “pacification” program: “burning villages to save them.” The only peace allowed is its Orwellian inversion: Pax Romana, Pax Brittania, Pax Americana.
In the empire you have no choice but to choose sides: “You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists” (Grandson Bush). But no asking who is funding the so-called terrorists. You cannot know who supplied the anthrax, the flying lessons, the fleets of Toyota pickup trucks, the weapons shipments from Libya, the suitcases of cash laundered through Qatar.
And now innocent citizens of the West, and of Israel itself, are taking the bait, lambasting each other for opinions based on rumor and hearsay and the latest “news.” Why was there an Israeli security failure? What about Netanyahu’s ties with Hamas? A bigger picture in the scope of history suggests (according to Hoffman) a trap set to lead the Jewish people to their own demise, with untold Arab lives sacrificed as collateral damage. If it’s a “holy war” for both sides, what’s a presiding Deity to do?
We return to the matter of personal conscience. The film The Four Feathers (1915) obviously struck a chord with war-weary audiences, with new releases in 1921, 1929, 1939, 1978, and 2002. Its hero delivers the signature line to his fiancée: “I wouldn’t have gone to war for anything or anyone.”
“Then you are a coward,” she declares. But Harry disproves the slander by going to the war zone (Sudan) undercover, enduring great hardship and risking his life to save his best friend in the British colonial army.
Here we are presented in stark terms with the difference between “killing for God, Country, and the Empire” and “risking life and limb to save a friend.”
Active and Passive Nonviolence
Pacifism and nonviolence are often criticized as being passive and complacent in the face of evil, injustice, and violence. Theorists and practitioners from Thoreau and Gandhi to King and Chavez have emphasized that effective nonviolence can and in many cases should be active, proactive, assertive and political. Surely there is a place also for quiet witness and even prayer in seclusion far from battle. There are also practical effects of bringing such peaceful consciousness to conflict situations—Gandhi called it moral jujitsu, turning the tables on an aggressor by appealing to their—and most importantly, the public’s—human conscience.
Divorced from its spiritual underpinnings, active nonviolence becomes just another strategy of pawns in the political chessboard. Popular resistance (e.g., Arab Spring, or Extinction Rebellion) is easily manipulated, especially at the speed of social media, for geopolitical ends.
Meanwhile there is another avenue of change available, what Gandhi called the “constructive program,” creating alternative social arrangements to meet people’s needs. Home spinning, for example, in India to bypass the import of British cloth. We can apply our very attitude to life as we encounter it day to day, as our constructive program, sowing the field with our positive energy, our nurturing human relations, our homegrown talents and vision for a peaceful world here and now. We can become more aware and critical of the violence embedded in our media language, our video games and gangsta rap and Hollywood “entertainment.”
To all the questions of history and identity raised here, I suggest: the answer to dehumanizing is rehumanizing. The solution to a fiery hell on earth, is to rekindle the sacred.
In every thought and interaction we can challenge ourselves to wonder, what is real in my experience, and where do I really stand?
For my part I recognize, in the eye to eye and heart to heart, that all people are my people. And that the homeland is to discover together.
Aaron Maté: The roots of Israel’s ethnic cleansing in Gaza
Clif High: Universe Punctuates! [on ancient lineages]
JW Williams: Israel Funded Hamas Beginning in the 1970s and Is Supported by Netanyahu
Michael Hoffman: The Disaster of Israeli Zionism: The Cryptocracy’s Covert Stratagem for the Destruction of the Jewish People
2nd Smartest Guy in the World: Global Terrorism Edition
James Howard Kunstler: All This & World War, Too…
Kit Knightly: While you were watching Israel…
Mattias Desmet: The Dutch Farmers’ Protests and Incitement to Violence
Charles Eisenstein: “In my name, I want no vengeance.”
Chief White Eagle: “This moment humanity is experiencing can be seen as a door or a hole”
This article is republished from Nowick Gray’s Substack, New World Dreaming.