“Peace in the Mideast” is a slang term meaning goodbye. And by peace, many Western people seem to mean the cessation of bloodshed. Which is a far thing from actual peace. When there is a little bit of unrest, when the calm is broken, many people start praying, hoping and wishing for peace. I pray, hope, and wish for quite the opposite. I want the revolution to continue.
“I am a revolutionist by birth, reading and principle. I am always on the side of the revolutionists because there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolute.” – Mark Twain
Currently there is not peace in the Mideast. But the bloodshed due to recent protests in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen and elsewhere is just a surface indication that there is not peace. And therefore it is not bad news to me. I do not wish for violence, but absence of violence does not mean peace.
The newspapers might report calm, but freedoms and true peace for a population does not equate with such surface tranquility. These good things come through struggle. I pray for this true peace, which generally means we will see bloodshed first, and often the blood of the peaceful protestors.
In most cases, calm is actually an indication of suppression: either by the gun (like in Syria) or pacifying of the populace by the pleasures of materialism (the Gulf). The calm in neither of those two cases indicates freedom, even if the second option is more or less what we have (tragically) come to view as freedom in the West.
When we see protest, that is usually an indication that things are moving in a direction. That people are thinking and speaking and demanding and working that their society be a better place. To me this is a good direction. Especially good because the protest methods generally used since the Arab Spring have been peaceful. It is the regimes who have used violence in return.
In the morning when I see news of blood of protesters being shed again and I am encouraged. The people have not been beaten into submission by the regime’s desperate and violent tactics. They have come out again to air their grievances, knowing that for some of them the price will be their lives. It is worth that much. These people are true heroes, doing what is necessary for their nation, for their country, for us all.
When there are deaths and bloodshed, it is indeed very sad. But since life is so valuable, that is why the actions of those willing to accept death are so powerful. It signals to their countrymen that the cause is felt deeply, and their sacrifice resonates with all who hear about the killings. This makes the regime more fragile.
So when we see violence, we at least we know the people in that place see the great value in standing for a cause and are getting close to some change. The alternative–no news and business as usual in the dictatorship–generally indicates not peace, but rather something darker and even worse than bloodshed.
“Fashions have done more harm than revolutions.”- Victor Hugo
“If you want peace, work for justice” -Paul VI
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” -Thomas Jefferson
[nb post title paraphrased from KRS-ONE lyric]