Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Peace passes on

One of the ways you bring about change is, you must change yourself so that you're prepared to lead people in the direction they should go. If your emotions are as bad as those you're fighting, even if your cause is just, you disqualify yourself from being effective. Correta Scott King
So admonished the widow of the American Civil Rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King. Mrs King died on Monday, 30th January 2006, and the world is poorer for an eloquent advocate of non-violence in achieving one's goals. In this age of chronic violence, perpetuated by Muslim extremists, governments (there are 2 now that espouse violence) and hate groups all over the world, Mr and Mrs King's stance opposing violence as a means to an end is becoming rare.

At this point, people should revisit the effectiveness of non-violence as a force that ultimately brought some measure of reconciliation to the American people. Violence only begets more violence. It is my hope that in the new year, it will decrease.

But alas, Muslim's are reported to be rampaging in the Palestinian Territories over a series of Dutch originated cartoons that depict the Prophet Mohammad in a manner that they find offensive. This brings to mind the Rushdie incident some years ago. Yes, such illustrations may be insensitive and offensive, but violence will not gain them any sympathy. Some may even begin to think that Islam is a religion of violence, such is the manner that its adherents behave at any and every perceived offence to their religion. (See Newspaper apologises to Muslims)

If an alien were to visit planet earth today and observed events on earth these past few years, I would not be surprised that the conclusion it will draw is Islam is a violent religion. I think Muslims who are against violence and believe the alien's views to be mistaken should emerge from the shadows and take a strong stance against violence, much as the Kings did half a century ago.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Turning guns into ploughshares?

The Hamas' surprise victory in the Palestinian Elections may yet be a good thing. For one, it demonstrated that the democratic process is alive and well in the relatively young self-governing Palestinian Authority. This gives legitimacy and credibility to the Hamas as the people's representatives. Therefore, the Hamas must, by reason of choice, form a government that represent these people.

Of course, many peace-loving countries are alarmed because the Hamas has openly advocated violence as a means towards their ends. They have yet to renounced their stated objectives of destroying Israel - the second time within the last year that an elected government has come to power with such bald aggression (the other being Iran).

On the other hand, the world can now deal with a duly elected government, not merely a terrorist group. This can be more straightforward. With the weight of a nation on its shoulders, it is, hopefully, now less likely for the Hamas government to behave purely as a terrorist organisation. If it wants to take its place in the nations of the world, it has to follow the rules of international relations and civil behaviour set down by these nations (and these are not just the Western powers).

But first, the Palestinians must resolve their domestic differences, and quickly at that. Otherwise, it cannot hope to move forward much further in its quest for peaceful home for its people, much less think of pushing a nation into the Mediterranean Sea.