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I try to be tolerant. I try. Everyone is entitled to a voice. An opinion. To be wrong. Sometimes, however, it gets too much for me. Sometimes I hear something of such overwhelming moronic stupidity that a phrase such as, "this guy is a fucking moron" escapes my lips.
Similarly, I try not to demean people based purely on their professions. Sometimes, however, members of their profession conspire to make themselves absolutely ludicrous. One example is artists. I'm sure that, just as you'd expect their to be good plumbers and bad plumbers; good scientists and bad scientists; good lawyers and bad lawyers, there are good artists and bad artists. Regardless of one's proficiency in their chosen profession, however, this does not necessarily mean that they should be given a special political voice. For some reason, electricians are never asked how they would solve the world's problems. Carpenters are never asked on ways to deliver socially equitable tax-and-spend programs. Advertising executives are never asked how they would solve the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
And yet Bono is listened to for his neo-Hansonite economic theories on how to make poverty history. For crying out loud. He can't even find what he's looking for. And Geldof? He is known for two things: his idea that to make poverty history we print more money (or equivalent) and that he doesn't like Mondays.
But the source of my current ire was a radio program I generally quite like. Any Questions is a program on BBC radio which is a panel show where a series of panelists are asked topical questions, such as "how do we end war" or "where should Blair go on his holidays". Last night, in a clear sign of why a (warning: alliteration ahead) poetry proficiency possibly presents problems practicing particular politics in public. So it was that on last night's program, one of the panellists was Linton Kwesi Johnson, a poet.
In response to a question asking, "With an uneasy ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah being the latest in violent clashes throughout the world, what single factor do the panel think is the key to reducing global conflict?" While I think this question does ask for an overly simplistic response, I was dumbfounded at this response from Johnson: "Controlling America's imperialistic behaviour is one way of guaranteeing peace in the world because most of the conflict that's going on in the world, America, United States of America has a hand in it. America has a hand in supporting Israel in its aggression against its neighbours. America has consistently stoked the flames of dissension in the Middle East by its policies to countries like Iraq, Iran, its invasion of Iraq, and its policy towards the Iraqi Government, for example. We can't do nothing about America because America is the only superpower in the world so there is no real simple answer to that question."
There is one real simple thing related to that answer, but it is only the speaker. The other panellists did defend America in his response, and take him to task for the simplicity of his answer. But during the 5 minutes he took to deliver the above answer, I was somewhat annoyed. First off, there are other conflicts in the world besides the one currently under ceasefire. Ones that could deal with a bit of intervention. Sudan. Sri Lanka. Ethiopia/Eritrea. Just to name three. A bit more intervention in Rwanda or Somalia would have been a good thing (1066-style, not it's a good life-style). He makes it sound like Israel is the sole antagonist. As if the Iranian president proudly proclaiming plans purporting to wipe Israel from the face of the Earth is necessarily a sign of Israel's aggression.
Anyway, given that I am complaining about simplistic answers, I suppose I should provide one of my own (a simplistic answer, that is). And here it is, Alex Lubansky's solution for ending all wars and conflicts in the world:
First, I will make the assumption which always seems to be lost on people trying to work out how to bring about world peace: That people are people. They have different likes, wants and needs. Some want peace. Some want money. Some want power. For those who want power but are unable to attain it through peaceful methods, they may well resort to violence. Bearing that in mind, how do we stop those who would resort to violent techniques? Brutally. Using Stalinist techniques. Who can do it? Only Big Brother. On a global scale. And why? Because Big Brother would forcibly disarm every potentially armed group. Armed resistances would not be able to be formed, because they cannot get arms, as this is all carefully controlled by the Government, and you can't fight the Government on a global scale. If people try, they disappear.
I'll accept conflicts and wars, thank you very much. I like my freedom. While democracy has disadvantages, at least basic democratic values tend not to require the death, dispersement or disappearance of anyone who might have slight differences of opinion with the Government of the day. So the exercise for today, dear readers. 1) Can you find any problems with my gloomy outlook on avoiding war? 2) Can you find any better solutions? 3) If you were to have the choice between occassional conflict or having a brutal global totalitarian Government, which do you prefer and why?
Comment from gelfen
gelfen's solution for ending all wars and conflicts:
admittedly i still have a few logistical details to iron out, but it has the advantage of actually working once properly implemented.
Comment from Todd Fraser
The way to stop wars is to build more pubs.
Imagine if the world leaders could sort things out over a nice cold beer/wine/whatever. None of the posturing for the press because of hardliners in their staff. Just shooting the S%^T and getting real solutions made. How many times have you been down the pub solving the worlds problems after a nice cold dozen beers? Just think.... all the world leaders on the dance floor at the end of the night arm in arm drunkenly supporting each other and slurring the words to New York New York, American Pie, Khe San (ironically a song written about the personal after effects of a war) or whatever other swaying end of the night song you might choose. After a night like that how can you go to war with each other?
As for terrorism....... What better way to lighten up such an up-tight group than a night of flaming sambucca shots, tequila slammers, jager bombs (better than suicide bombs)and good scotch.
The only flaw I've found in this policy so far is the policy of some religions to disallow alcohol...... I'm not sure how to deal with that but I reckon we could make a start. After all with all the good Irish beer I'm sure that if the IRA leaders just sat down and got P#$sed with the government things would have been sorted out much faster over there.
Would Rage ATM's "Killing in the name" be appropriate to sing/slur?
My favourite procrastinations
The Head Heeb - Jonathan provides a balanced view on various Israeli and (former) colonial states in less developed regions of the world.
The Bladder - a sports satire site. Well worth a look.