Globalization and violence
Much has been written about how the forces of globalization, the unremittin expansion of market forces, the breakneck speed with which capital investments move around the globe, the constant effort for maintaining greater economic efficiency, influence everything from identity, indigenous cultures and environmental regulation, to labou standards and pattern of products, yet "remarkably little attention has been paid t globalization's potential impact on global conflict. Perhaps we have unintentional subscribed to the persistent optimism of the prophets of globalization who either inferre or emphatically stated that conditions of globalization made a major sustained conflic
most unlikely. However the terrorist attacks and perhaps more significantly the war on terror have altered that comfortably held assumption." (Koshy Ninan, Globalization and the War on Terror - some preliminary observations 2002 p.3).
It is pointed out that terrorism is a product of Westernization, immigration, globali-zation and the society of the spectacle with its disaster films and video games Even toys today, guns for instance, teach modes of destruction. The media adds fuel to the fire by highlighting violence even in the news.
In the current context, the forces of geopolitics have also to be considered. The strategic location of the Balkans, Which holds the richest oil resources in West Europe, has faced the onslaught of violence. The war was related to protection of investments of the TNCS, especially the Oil Corporation in the Caspian Sea region. President Bill Clinton's statement, "If you are going to have a strong economic relationship in the Caspian Sea region that includes our ability to sell all around the world, Europe has got to be the key. That is what Kosovo is all about". Here violence and war against ethnicity and religion is really a camouflage to attain vital resources. Several trouble spots in the world today relate to the issue of vital resources.
The Pr sent Task
The task ahead is complex and challenging. A balance of power to stabilize the present world situation is imperative. A United Region of Asia with China and India taking the lead roles with the rest of the regional block would perhaps go on to create a balance. It is time to critically reflect and unmask the fact that religion in its true essence and violence do not connect. At the same time the prevalent logic of violence with its dehumanizing and destructive consequences has to be seriously addressed. The rules and laws meant to control the potential for violence in communities have to re-examine their constitutional sources. It is in the denial of such violence and revitalizing the human capacity for sympathy, solidarity, mutuality and co-operation that positive reciprocity of relationships will re-emerge.
Violence cannot be overcome by violence; any violent resistance against violence continues in a vicious cycle. The dynamic of violence has to be overcome at source. It is in this context that religion can play a key role. All religions are trustees of the wisdom of nurturing and maintaining mutually sustainable relationships. Violence in all its forms, whether interpersonal, social or structural, constitutes a break and a denial of such wisdom. "It reflects the inability of the refusal to live with differences, or to acknowledge the otherness of the other. It arises from the urge to shape the "other" according to one's own image, or to dominate, or in the extreme case to exclude or eliminate the other as a threat to one's own identity". (Kaiser, Konrad, Religion and Violence lecture in the context of the 5th Vissen's Hooft Consultation, 19th June 2002 p.8).
Religious resources can be used for peace building. The values of love, forgiveness, compassion have always have been a source of high ideals that promote wholeness, justice and the recognition of responsibility toward all forms of life.
On the other hand, the role of religion in containing the destructive forces and influences of violence since the beginning of human history must be duly re-explored. Scholars of religions should refuse to invoke a religious or spiritual power to justify violence of any kind; they should also refuse to invoke a religious or spiritual source to justify discrimination and exclusivism. More realistic efforts towards conflict transformation and sustainable peace in the. post cold war era have to be made. Peace and preservation of life is the rule not the exception. The forgotten virtues of acceptance and tolerance have to be practiced.
Jules Lemature has written beautifully on this virtue. "Tolerance is a vastly difficult virtue: for some of us, indeed, more difficult than heroism. Our first impulse, and often our second are to hate those who do not think as we do. Difference of opinion has in the past led to more massacres than any other factor and can lead to more trouble and misfortune than difference of interest.
Tolerance is not indifference, nor dilettantism nor indolence. On the contrary, it requires great effort and a constant watch over oneself. It consorts well with strong convictions for knowing their worth; it cannot hate them in others. It implies respect for men's individuality. Tolerance then, is not only the name for the critical spirit but als Sor modesty and charity. It is charity of the intelligence".
1. Religion as the moral conscience of society says, "Do unto others as you would have others to do unto you". Religious leaders can, for in instance, engage in dialogue with International Communities, political bodies, Human Rights organizations, United Nation Organizations, etc. to harness inter-solidarity, non-violent, movements and nurture plurality, solidarity and oneness of being.
2. The United Nations Organization should constitute one day in the world for non-violence, which I have also said in Switzerland and Indonesia very recently. We have a Father's Day, Mother's Day and a Children's Day. We can have one day for non-violence. It would mean nobody sells weapons, nobody uses weapons even across the borders and even with the person one considers an enemy. On this day all violence should cease. There should be no sale of arms, no manufacturing, no killing across borders, no militarization. That day we would plan together. We could shake hands. On the social level, exchange of flowers, planting of trees, sending of cards even to non-friendly people should be en-couraged and even music and dance festivals to celebrate the day can be held. The next action is to engage in a global action campaign towards structuring the world order encouraging no production of nuclear weapons and then we have to introduce peace education.
a) Peace education from the primary school level should be introduced. Reverence for all forms of life, love and compassion should be inculcated in the curriculum. This should continue for all levels of education.
b) A renaissance of the human spirit, a "Humanization" of the mind, a respect for the dignity for life should be practically implemented. A Food Bank for all the world's children should be created. And some sort of Medicine Bank for children also.
3. We need to awaken to the truth that all life is one and war and violence are self-defeating. Literature on the horrors or war ana vioience snoula oe puou-sneu. I 111111h c.) clp could be a good model. Understanding that we are global citizens, that we have a stake in the future. What happens when somebody uses a nuclear bomb, what happens to all of us? We have to create tolerance and acceptance of others and breadth of vision and compassion to embrace people of all cultures and religions. Dialogue and Interfaith encounters are a must.
4. Create an international think-tank as a pressure group to control war and violence. The United Nations should have more teeth; being dominated by any world power will destroy its credibility in the long run.
5. Creating space for women (50% place for women), please hear this: empowering them to create to explore, to develop, to contribute meaningfully to the culture of peace. Women often choose to identify, notably as mother. This cuts across international boundaries and ethnic enclaves. No mothers want their sons or husband killed in war. And they do not want other people's husbands and sons to kill in war. They can become Peace educators and peace negotiators at the political levels and they can talk peace to politicians.
6. Politicians and Governments have to be held accountable for their actions. We need vigilance groups / organizations like a morally - conscious media. We have not spoken about the media. Role of media and contents of media can play a key role in controlling violence. Media today is known as the Kingmaker, it can also be known as Peace generator. Its role has to be less sensational and more conscientious.
7. Finally, the voice of the silent majority must resound. There is no force in the world greater than the human will. As Gandhiji said, "Be the change you want to see in the world; a citizens movement in every country can reshape the world with the single voice" which is loud and clear. We want peace and must stop the killing.