Whenever someone wants to get rid of someone else, they make them into UN-people. This is a behavior trait characteristic of all mass murderers and psychopaths, they do not acknowledge and often actively deny the humanity of those they seek to destroy.
Now it’s obvious that ISIS holds this ideological position with regards to everyone outside of their vision of a new Caliphate, but I’m going to put it to you that if you are engaging in the same kind of thinking, then they have already won.
Why do we want to destroy people? Because they threaten us. It may be our lives, our social standing, our power, our freedom of movement or speech, what have you, always there is a threat, and always we come to the point of destruction as a viable option when our fear has gotten the better of us.
Do we expect to build a utopia from the reptile hind-brain? If not, we must acknowledge that violence is a function of this ancient and many times surpassed faculty of the human organism, and ask what behaviors come from the more highly sensitive and responsive areas of the body.
If we fall into spasms of violence to get rid of spasms of violence, we are creating a behavior that is self-perpetuating, and that requires only more of itself to do so. This is apparent when one considers that ISIS is in fact the extension of AQI, a group that formed in response to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when one considers that AQI was an offshoot of Al Qaeda, which itself was able to gain such a strong foothold due to training and arms supplied by both Russia and the United States during the Cold War.
We must recognize that the pursuit of peace transcends all individual ego structures and characters, all temporary identity; that it is the deepest, inmost desire of the self and that should the occasion arise, it is better for mankind to be run through with the sword than to run it through another.
The only way to break the wheel of violent action is to not act violently.
So you can see why we’re in the position we are, we met violence with violence, fear with fear. Now we may be in too deep to stop this. If we destroy ISIS with the sword, the hydra of terrorism will simply grow another head elsewhere and in five years we will be fighting the same horror, albeit sporting a different mask.
Yet, if we do not act, the people of the Middle East stand to be crushed under the kind of fascism that draws its authority from an unseen monarch, whose despotic whim holds no space for mercy.
One thing is clear to me, that this situation is as clear as mud. It seems to me that without mass dialogue between the citizens of the Middle East and the world at large, we in the West will, in the halls of our governments, continue these absurd power plays over land and oil, and in the streets, lazily generalize women, men and children into the category of UN-people, and watch on with mixed self-loathing and relief as the Middle East sinks back into the desert.
With peace as our ultimate aim, let’s put down our fears and our judgments and try to do this one differently than the last few thousand conflicts. I honestly think we can do better.