Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Sons of God.
Matthew 5:9 (TNIV)
Here we go. My first real blog entry...
Through the reading of Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine”; one of the things that kept coming back to me is a phrase that I coined about 10 years ago while sitting in church and listening to a sermon on peacemaking just after Remembrance Day.
Peace without Justice is Oppression
I grew up Mennonite and was baptised into the community of Nairn Mennonite Church, just north of London ON at the age of 17. Since the very beginning the Mennonite Church has officially declared itself to be a Peace Church. But when you make a declaration like that what you are really saying is that I want to protect Justice, otherwise you’re just ignoring and oppressing people with dissenting views. Peace is not simply the absence of war; it is the presence of justice and the absence of oppression.
Oppression does not have to be overt. I can be very subtle. If we aren’t careful majority rule or democracy in general can become distorted and look more like - biggest guns rule, elite rule, wealthy rule, or educated rule.
We in the wealthy West, or more accurately the North West are often times inadvertently waging a war of oppression on the developing regions of the world, mostly to the South and East of us. Over the past 30 years, and most rapidly since the fall of the Berlin Wall, governments, corporations and wealthy individuals have exploited the poor and uneducated in the developing world for their own gain. They have extracted natural resources and caused unprecedented damage to the environment, corrupted and interfered in local government affairs and generally ignored human rights all in the name of profit.
What are the oppressed people of the world to do? They do not have the resources to stand up to us economically, nor do they have the education or skills that are useful to the world wide economy, so they strike back in the only way they can. The world wide drive to globalization and homogenization of cultures through the economic domination of the North West has given rise to terrorism.
One of the things I have learned while exploring this Rabbit Hole is that we cannot continue to fight terrorism with guns. Greg Mortensen – founder of the Central Asia Institute and the chief driving force behind the building of over 50 schools in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, which equally educate both boys and girls – has said as much to the US congress and the Pentagon in recent years. The war on terror should be fought with books, not bombs.
This has been a recurrent theme in all of my research to date. When we give the poor access to knowledge we can bring them into fuller participation in the global economy and help to greatly reduce terrorism and increase security. How we do that is the subject of further research and will no doubt pop up again in future entries.
Recommended Reading “Three Cups of Tea; One Mans Mission to Promote Peace, One School at a Time” – Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin