Bombs are never an answer to problems. No more than guns are. Repeatedly resorting to weapons as a solution to complex, conflictual situations is not a sign of strength or intelligence. On the contrary. It is an admission of weakness, of inability, of failure, of lack of imagination, even of insanity. ‘Troublesome others’ cannot be eliminated by dropping bombs, by touting guns, by building walls, by tightening immigration controls, by pointing fingers at designated culprits, by throwing them into prison, by starving them to death, by excluding their children from schools and social services, by refusing them healthcare,… Such actions are the delight of the enraged or the deranged who feed off war and conflict, those whose power and immense richness is built on chaos and conflict and the misery of others. Such actions fill the coffers of purveyors of arms and militarised forces. But they kill innocent people, foremost women and children. They spread extreme misery and fear while destroying the tissue of human society required for recovery and the reaffirmation of life and the living.
Worse, the recent ‘allied’ strikes in Syria have little to do with halting the atrocities. Under the cover of outrage at the behaviour of one side in a conflict where all sides have killed, maimed and plundered, leaders who are challenged lash out to distract attention from problems at home and threats to their own authority. We can’t just shrug and turn our backs, muttering, “What else do you expect from such a madman?” Remember the young people in the States who faced extreme gun violence in their school. They got together to share their suffering and loss. They tended a hand to other victims, their friends and families. They debated what happened. Then they raised their voices against gun violence in a massive non-violent movement that drew support from hundreds of thousands. Like them, we need to join hands, to stand up and raise our voices to put a halt to the violence.