ENDING THE SPREAD OF violence
Focus on the face of violence
by Keith Harris
It is always worth pointing out that violence against another person does not always have to be physical. I had a mobile telephone stolen from my apartment by a visiting guest. As any guest in my home is taken in on trust, I consider this an act of violence against that trust. Letting such things slide is simply to encourage them to continueif not to oneself, then to some other unfortunate soul.
It is wholly meaningless and pointless to 'blame' alcohol, drugs, or any other extra-physical entity for this sickness. The problem lies in how we have developed our societyand what measures we take to ensure the happiness of each and every individual member of that society.
More recently I happened to be having a peaceful drink in a Limerick bar (Nancy Blakes's) when an ass (no other descriptive term is appropriate at this point) grabbed hold of me and threw me out of the door, stating that he was 'the owner'. His grouse was that I had caused a 'problem'. The fact that he was not prepared to discuss the matter simply reinforced his qualification as an ass. If my mere presence caused a problem, then certainly to my mind it was this individual who had the problem.
We glorify violence every day of our lives whilst at the same time condemning it. Thousands of entertainment projects are designed, written, or produced every day of every week, with one root source as an origin. Violence. Toys, books, films, drama... the list is endless, and frightening, if observed with clinical detachment.
There is the camp who say that the violent nature of people can be assuaged, relieved, through such tools. But what does buying a young child a toy gun achieve, other than instilling the very idea of violence to beginleading to an acceptance of violence as being somehow okay. We teach our children that the world is a violent place and so we make it such.
We reap what we sow. For someone who has the benefit of a stable lifestyle and an education, it is relatively simple to condemn violence as meaningless. Two things will dramatically upset that judgementgreed, or the loss of any hope of better.
Someone who grows up in impoverishment and violence has far less time and therefore far less ability to understand the world in any all-embracing or philosophical way. Given such background, the struggle to survive is markedly paramount. Where hope appears pointless, violence is never far from the surface. It takes an educated person to recognise the fragility of those who are without the benefit of such education.
The simple truth is that violence is with us because we are not really doing anything to eradicate it from our world. How can anyone encourage a child that it is wrong to hurt someone, or that it is unnecessary to be aggressive towards someone, then sit back as that child watches films or cartoons or reads books all of which glorify violence? Or who watches TV newsreels that romaticise violence? Understanding might come laterunfortunately it is a little too late when violence has already been done.
The choice is simple. Join the peace revolutionor simply carry on in the way of violence. It really is that simple. But remember the axiomthose who live by the sword die by the sword. That is a sorry legacy to leave behind, no matter what flag you care to dress it up in.
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