Statue titled, Monument to Multiculturalism by Francesco Pirelli, Union Station, Toronto. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Author: Robert Taylor from Stirling, Canada.

By Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D

Homogenization

We live in a global era! This is a fact misunderstood, denied, distorted, ignored, or used  for advantage by those with power and privilege. Our lives and fortunes are

interdependent. Single, isolated events, once unknown or disregarded, now generate and multiply ripples across the world. Causal explanations informed by ideologies seeking control and domination through uniformity can only result in conflict. Epic ideological struggles are at hand.

Amid our global era, dominated in thought and action by a few nations, we are witnessing a struggle between homogenization versus heterogeneity. Uniformity versus differences is appearing at all levels. It is a struggle for diversity versus imposed identity. While past decades were defined as struggles for world domination between communism and capitalism, our global era has given rise to ideological struggles across technological, political, religious, and economic efforts to establish a mass global society – a world order – promoting and sustained by “homogenization.”

For those seeking control, uniformity, and conformity, differences – diversity — in a mass society are seen as sources of distraction and disruption. Mass surveillance, monitoring, and archiving generate uniformity. Individual and group variations are being compelled to yield privacy, rights, and variations in life styles to pressures for an ordered and planned society – homogenized in all areas. Within this context, multiculturalism, as an ideology, is considered a foe.

Uniformity, Conformity, Compliance: The New Orthodoxy

Developments in information processing and technologies are exercising powerful influences on social, economic, political, and moral systems. They are enabling and facilitating forces in power to control and dominate variation — diversity — favoring efficiency and compliance with uniformity. Differences are targets for imposing order. They are considered sources of “chaos” or error to be subdued and integrated into a homogenized world in which “order” is the ethos. But chaos is the fruit of diversity – and diversity is the source and expression of life itself. Efforts after order – rooted in the assertion of control by those with power, wealth, and position – serve narrow interests. Ultimately, oppression emerges as arbiter.

The inability of those in positions of power to deal with challenges to their preferred ideology of “homogeneity” is the major struggle of our times – an ideological struggle being imposed upon the world of variation, in favor of an ideology of uniformity unsuited for our global era. The myriad of differences in thought, appearance, and ways-of-life in varied expressions face extinction from the massive power invested in monolithic and monopolistic proportions in different industries and services including Big Ag, Big Education, Big Energy, Big Government, Big Medicine, Big Phar, and Big Military.  There is an inherent ideology in all these “Bigs” – an ideology favoring dominance and control. There is no room for variation from the perspective of the Bigs!

But don’t believe them!  Read about the multicultural alternative in my next post here on engagingpeace.com.

Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus, University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96822. He is the author and editor of twenty books, and more than 300 publications noted for challenging the ethnocentricity and biases of Western psychology and psychiatry, and for advocating peace and social justice.

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Can generals sometimes be right?

Israel-Palestine handshake symbol. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Author: Wickey-nl.

by Kathleen Malley-Morrison & Ed Agro

Monday’s engagingpeace post discussed the opposition of General Dwight D. Eisenhower to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although it is easy to stereotype military commanders as always believing that the only tools available in their fight against designated enemies are death and destruction, there are other recent examples of leaders who do not promote endless war.

In a recent (June 29, 2016) Associated Press article by Dan Perry and Joseph Federman, we learn thatAn extraordinary array of former top commanders are now criticizing Netanyahu in increasingly urgent terms, accusing him of mishandling the Palestinian issue and allying with extremists who are bent on dismantling Israel’s democracy.”

More specifically, and more dramatically, “a group representing more than 200 retired leaders in Israel’s military, police, Mossad spy service, and Shin Bet security agency presented a plan to help end the half-century occupation of the Palestinians through unilateral steps, including disavowing claims to over 90 percent of the West Bank and freezing Jewish settlement construction in such areas.

The movement, called Commanders for Israel’s Security, reflects an increasingly widespread assessment that Israel is drifting catastrophically toward permanent entanglement with the Palestinians and conflict with the world community.”

These courageous and long-overdue recommendations of the Commanders would move Israel in the direction of compliance with the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (Partition Plan) of November 29, 1947,  and away from the violence that continues today.

We have one point of disagreement with the Perry and Federman article.  They state: “Complicating the picture is that the Gaza pullout ended badly from Israel’s perspective: Hamas militants took it over, leading to three wars between the sides.”

This assertion misses the fact that Hamas was elected in a process all observers considered to be fair; it was only after Israel, with American help, declared that election to be illegitimate that Hamas returned to armed resistance.  Another thing that’s not well known is that Hamas was formed years ago with the help of Israeli fifth-columnists as a way to weaken the Palestinian Authority and render rational discussion impossible.

Overall, the Perry and Federman article is excellent, very informative and heartening! It’s taken years to reach recognition that Israel cannot continue its current policies, even with the self-serving military and economic assistance of the U.S. government.   Let’s hope reason and humanity prevail. Let’s hope the wrong-headed Netanyahu government falls and Israel finally joins the Middle East. And not to forget, the Israeli/Palestinian anti-Apartheid (for want of a better word) activists have been working against insuperable odds for many many years.

 

 

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WHOSE CHILD IS THIS?

By Anthony J. Marsella

Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Amer Hosin

Whose Child is This?  Whose child is this?  Is this child an Iraqi . . . an Israeli . . .  a Chechnyan . . . an Afghani . . . a Kurd . . . a Nigerian?   Is she or he English, Indonesian, Spanish, Lebanese, Turkish, Congolese, Bosnian, Persian?   Does it matter?  Is this child not a daughter or son to each of us?

Is this child not a human being born of a union of a man and woman whose intimacy, whose passion, whose very breathe yielded a life that sought only to live . . . to enjoy some moments of laughter and delight, some moments of comfort and calm . . . to make yet another life.

Now this child rests amidst the dust and debris of war . . . lifeless . . . torn and shattered . . . killed by someone whom she or he never knew, and would likely never meet.  Death from a distance. . . a bomb from a plane, a shell from a mortar, a strap of explosives . . .  intentional and willing, calculated and planned, a measured effort to destroy.

The Source:  an agent of death and destruction, a pilot or soldier, an insurgent or terrorist . . . does it matter? They have killed their own child . . . they have killed our child.  And in doing so, they have diminished each of us as human beings, each of us as creatures of consciousness and conscience, each of us as reflections and carriers of life.  Words cannot console her or his parents, if they, indeed, survived this horror. They are left with only endless pain . . . memories of a child eating, sleeping, playing . . . a reminder of a tragic moment inscribed in mortar and blood.

Enough!  Enough!  Stand, speak, write, act against those who advocate violence and hate no matter the source — be they presidents, prime ministers, generals, terrorists, mullahs, rabbis, dictators, ministers, true believers . . .  tell them that we do not share their quest for power and greed.   Tell them we do not share their hate, nor their blindness and indifference to suffering.  Tell them we do not share their empty post-tragedy rhetoric designed to keep us mired in the fulfillment of their selfish needs. We are not pacified and contented by their explanations and assurances. We challenge and contest their motives!  We resent and resist their excuses. How shallow their words in the face of dying or dead child.

THIS IS OUR CHILD!  Today, we claim this child as our own, too late to keep her or him alive, too late to know her or his hopes and dreams, too late to know the promise and possibilities of their life had it been given the chance to be lived free of oppression, abuse, and indignity.

But we are not too late to affirm to all living children that we will try to protect you, to guard you, and to shelter you from the terror of war and violence, and from an untimely, painful, and meaningless death, by choosing peace over war, compassion over violence, voice over silence, and conscience over comfort.

Note:  I first wrote this brief appeal in July, 2005, following a conference in Savannah, Georgia, in which Dr. Amer Hosin shared photos of death and suffering in the Middle East.  I emailed this appeal in the December holiday season, when the poignant holiday carol, “What child is this?” is played endlessly on radio and television, testimony to Christian faith, but indirectly testimony to the consequences of violence against children, and the reality our hope for recovery and redemption reside in children – all children!

Today, as I viewed the now iconic photo of the stalwart Syrian boy, covered in dust, his mind and body shattered by bombs he could never fathom, and I recalled the iconic photo of the naked Vietnamese girl escaping napalm.  I decided I must share this appeal today.  It is upon all of us. What can we do to stop the destruction of life? What can we do end the reflexive response of violence and hate toward those we deem enemies.

I say to you, I plead with you now: “Hate begets violence, and violence begets hate, and always innocents become the victims.” We use the word “hate” daily, casually expressing our so often disgust or revulsion with something as benign as broccoli, or an athletic team.  “I hate __________!

The powerful emotion of “hate” has escaped our conscious awareness! We “hate” too much, too often, too easily; the consequences of the word and the behaviors it implies are lost to us.  Ask: Do I have a right to “hate?” Is “hate” a choice? What do I mean when I say I “hate”!  Stare at the image of a dead Iraqi child? Embed the image of the struggling shocked Syrian boy in your mind. Make room for it!  It is more important than so many other images you hold.

Ask: Whose child is this? He or she is your child! If you deny this reality, then await the day the face returns to remind you of your failure, to haunt your minds as you look at your child.

Anthony J. Marsella, August 19, 2016

 

 

Posted in Armed conflict, Children and war, Terrorism, Understanding violence | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

When will they ever learn?

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, at his headquarters in the European theater of operations. He wears the five-star cluster of the newly-created rank of General of the Army. In the public domain.

Kathie Malley-Morrison

As the anniversaries of the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945) snuck by with little acknowledgment and limited chagrin in the US, it troubled me that those world-shattering, paradigm-changing events are, for young people growing up in this country today, basically ancient history.  Doubly unfortunately, the shared “history” is woefully incomplete, the full story never told. Little learned.

The “history” I was taught in public school, which I still hear echoed today, was that the dropping of those atomic bombs was a necessary, essential, moral way to keep those aggressive, warmongering Japanese from increasing their deadly toll on innocent American lives.

Nobody ever told me that Dwight D. Eisenhower, General of the U.S. Army and Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II, and later a highly-respected President of the United States, opposed dropping those bombs.

In his own words:

“Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act…

“During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude…”

Eisenhower’s antipathy regarding the use of nuclear weaponry did not diminish after those blood-thirsty, saber-rattling, cock-crowing events of August 1945 .  At the Republican National Convention of August 23, 1956, he warned his party, his country, and the world that:

“We are in the era of the thermonuclear bomb that can obliterate cities and can be delivered across continents. With such weapons, war has become, not just tragic, but preposterous.”

The hour is late; can’t we find a way to address the preposterousness of nuclear arms before tragedy completes envelops the planet and obliterates a large portion of living things? And while we are at it, how about doing something about obliterating lives with drones?

 

Posted in Armed conflict, Champions of peace, Environmental impacts of war, Military-industrial complex, Protest | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments