For Peace on Armistice weekend
Saturday 10th November 2018 @ 11:16 am
Gandhi’s list of ‘Seven Social Sins’, was published a few short years after the end of the ‘War to end all Wars.’ Sadly the war to end all wars was nothing of the sort. In many ways it was only the beginning of continual war with continuously exceeding capacity to destroy to greater extent.
Ghandi listed the greatest social sins as:
Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Knowledge without character
Commerce without morality
Science without humanity
Religion without sacrifice
Politics without principle
It’s frightening that these realities have magnified exponentially in the last 100 years.
There are of course exceptions – e.g., a burgeoning social enterprise network in the western world, a shift in the language and reach of science etc.
By and large however, the threats to common good that Ghandi recognized in 1925 remain with us in bigger and more encompassing ways.
Maybe, if we scratch below the surface, many of these concerning traits can be seen most obviously in the current debacle of Brexit.
I’m tired being conciliatory and quiet about it.
It’s a farce. It has been from the start.
As we commemorate this weekend, the devastation of continental War, we are putting on the table for destruction not only the continuing Peace Process on this island, but the continuing Peace Process that is the EU.
The EU was the original Peace process experiment … deliberate decision–making on behalf of all. Making sure we never go back to such devastating war. Getting everyone in the room. Collaborating (albeit tediously & laboriously due to the contingencies of bureaucracy) for the common good. And conversing across a rich and wide continent for the health & wealth of as many within its borders as possible. These things have been an important evolution of partnership over destruction and collaboration over violence.
I don’t feel alarmist in the slightest asking questions of what will happen on this island (which don’t forget voted in its northerly part to Remain) if one nutcase extremist does a drive–by shooting, or plants a car bomb. Violence begets violence.
Brexit came about for so many interconnected reasons – which will fill academic books for decades to come – but for my small mind we self–inflicted this gratuitous political wound with;2 massive political mistakes by David Cameron (calling a national referendum to solve internal Conservative control issues, and not getting anything worthwhile from EU in his own negotiations), fueling an English nationalism trapped in the 19thC, driven by elitist Etonian politics primarily concerned with self–preservation, leading to heightened feelings of fear amongst a population already feeling distanced from decision making and striking their vote for impossible promises.
I’ll never ever, ever, forgot Theresa Villiers – Leave campaigner & Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Secretary of State for NORTHERN IRELAND!!!) looking into the camera during the campaign and saying, “No, I don’t see the border as a problem at all? I don’t think there has to be any changes whatsoever. We can vote Leave and keep the border as it is.”What planet she lives on is still unknown. She either was exceptionally illiterate and naive about her ministerial charge, or she was an intentional liar. Either is shocking.
More than all of that however, is the continual fallout. The impossibility of ‘ourselves alone’ for UK is magnified only by the selfish desire to see it happen at any cost.Teresa May has climbed Everest a few times to get negotiations this far. It’s quite remarkable really, and I admire her stickability in the face of constant criticism from absolutely every angle. Negotiating for the good of UK alone, while the good of Ireland & the rest of the EU is intimately linked, is proving impossible in the face of self–seeking screams from sideline politicians.Monetary realities are precarious (the pound has dropped in value), jobs have been lost, more people than ever from UK have applied for Irish passports, and there is a massive % rise in companies from UK relocating trading addresses to Ireland.
Wealth without work? Knowledge without character? Commerce without morality? Politics without principle?
For the folks I know who disagree – It’s no longer adequate to respond ‘shut up you wee remoaner!’ I want to know your way through this quagmire. I want to hear your ideals for progress for the good of all (as s minister of the Christian gospel I have no choice but to seek the good of all, at all times and in all places). If you are still convinced this whole Brexit thing works and is worthwhile I want to try and understand where the silver lining is. Because from where I’m standing, we might already be over the edge.
We must do better. I’m sure we can. And I know I can’t do better without you. However you voted.
Continued Peace depends on it.
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