Violences

Thought bubbleI was reflecting recently about different forms of violence. Some of them are pretty obvious: killing someone, attacking a person with a firearm, knife or club. Shouting at and belittling a person is easy to count as violence as well.

There are more subtle forms of violence. One form attacks, instead of a person, a relationship. By backbiting between two people, it’s possible to poison the relationship, violate trust and companionship. Gossip can be considered a form of violence, striking the victim from behind their back. Violence against a relationship can take varied forms, but it often kills or injures trust.

I realized that their are further forms of violence not visible from the outside. One can attack or berate a person from within your imagination. You can wish they would suffer harm or die, but not take any steps to plan to carry that out. These inner violences can still have negative consequences because they can be reflected in interactions with the other person… acting cold or rude in a manner not characteristic with other people. One can reveal the negative attitude when talking to other people about the target.

One further form of violence is against oneself. That can include suicide and physical self harm. Through self-sabotage, one can thwart ones potential by giving up too easily because of inner voices saying you’re no good, you’re not worth it, you don’t deserve any good things.

The form of violence that I’m most prone to is the latter kind. I project from my past what will happen next. My pattern-recognition is so attuned to detecting negative qualities of myself that I find fault in many things.

I didn’t recognize it as violence until I was writing a letter to a friend and thinking about how I treat myself. I’m most certainly rarely a good friend to myself. It’s hard for me to accept and forgive my mistakes because I can focus blame on the things I do as I participate in my life.

One poignant way that this has played out in the past is insecurity on relationships. I have a much too sensitive hair trigger on rejection. Although I am getting better, I still worry that I’ve done something wrong when i don’t reach someone for a while. Either I did some slight to make the person reject me or they don’t want my friendship anymore. I attack myself and usually no criticism is even necessary, just my hypersensitivity.

Know the “enemy”

It’s interesting to go to international English language newspapers.

With the Internet being borderless, you can learn things from different perspectives. Especially in war and conflict.

I’ve learned some of the enticements ISIS gives to get Taliban fighters to join it in Afghanistan. One is to “join the winning team.” Another is “the West hates Muslims.”

That Syrian media portrays Bashar al-Assad as hugely popular and well-loved.

When Russia was making bombing attacks in Syria, the Russian use of the Iranian airbase was controversial in the Iranian parliament. Iran has a constitutional provision that prohibits it from allowing foreign armies to deploy on Iranian soil.

Brazil is undergoing a political crisis far beyond the impeachment of the president. Due to corruption charges against many of its politicians.

The Palestinians are following proceedings in the International Criminal Court about crimes committed during the Gaza conflict by both sides. Israel rejects the court’s authority.

The local paper glossed over the players in a recent terrorist attack from Gaza. In Israel, a non-Hamas group claimed responsibility, but the paper said “Israel holds Hamas responsible….” so that the U.S. paper didn’t have to explain the messy details of the Gaza conflict where there are multiple actors.

The contrast between the Chinese culture and the U.S. culture was an interesting subtext of the Shanghai Daily. It seemed to me that even though China has over a billion people, the articles have a “small-town” feel to me. The local, small-town paper, The Star in DeKalb County Indiana has plenty of stories of conflict and disunity in the U.S.

Fearing America’s Legacy of Violence

[I posted a version of this earlier and deleted it out of timidity.]

The fear of accepting refugees because they might repeat the Paris attacks doesn’t make sense to me. Fanning the flames of fear is an easy way to promote policies that let the powerful increase their power.

We have a fear of terrorists from the Middle East, but the fear mongers forget the terrorist incidents in the U. S. with American perpetrators. There is a long list of shooters in this country who have killed multiple victims. People apparently don’t remember the university shootings this fall, let alone the Charleston Church Massacre, Virginia Tech and many others. Colorado Springs has seen two separate multiple fatality shootings within a month.

Now, Sandy Hook is part of the American legacy of violence. There’s no evidence that there won’t be more attacks by Americans on Americans.

Opposing refugees by promoting fear is a low-cost, highly effective way of winning political points with people who already are afraid of “them.” Who “they” are changes from decade to decade. When we fear “them”, we help destroy freedom in the name of freedom.