The world, especially governments, which come from people as I keep reminding myself, is out of control, and it has been for some time. A friend in a very serious tone recently said to me, "don't worry, God is coming soon."
I am currently reading the book, "Dead Man Walking" by Sister Helen Prejean, a statement against the death penalty. In 1866 Dostoevsky said, 'A society is judged not by how it treats its upstanding citizens but how it treats its criminals'. There are close to 60 countries in which capital punishment is permitted. Twenty-one countries carried out executions in 2012, the same as 2011. The biggest offenders are China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. In 2012, though, was a dramatic doubling of executions in Iraq and reversals of long-standing death penalty moratoriums in countries such as Japan and India.
"If we believe that murder is wrong and not admissible in our society, then it has to be wrong for everyone, not just individuals but government as well. Government can only continue killing if we give it the power. It's time to take that power back." Dead Man Walking p. 130
'... to assert, in any case, that a man must be absolutely off from the society because he is absolutely evil amounts to saying that society is absolutely good.' Albert Camus (1913 - 60),
I read an article by Toral Varia Deshpande titled, "Boomtown, Can anything put India's defense middlemen out of business?", in the September issue of Caravan. This article reminded me of a movie I recently saw called, The Lord of War and an article about Viktor Bout a notorious arms dealer, of which the movie is based on. Global military expenditure stands at over $1.7 trillion in annual expenditure at current prices for 2012. It fell by around half a percent compared to 2011 -- the first fall since 1998. . In calendar year 2012, US military spending declined from $711 billion to $668 billion . I can't even imagine the size of these number and my feeling is that it is probably even larger. (The outstanding public debt of the US is $16.7 trillion).
"You must have a dream, you must have an idea, you must plan, you must implement and then only you can harvest" Sudhir Choudhrie Vice Chairman of C&C Alpha Group, India's most influential arms agent.
"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes ... known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.... No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." James Madison, Political Observations, 1795
What are we to do when chemical weapons are used on people, who are no more than pawns in a ruthless game for governments (people) to control one another? The US says the Syrian government is to blame, on the other hand Russia states that the rebels are to blame. A failure to respond with force, Obama argued, "could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm. In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted."
What about the people who were no more than guinea pigs, now dead or suffering the effects of sarin for the remainder of their lives? What should be done about groups such as Al-Shabaab that can turn a mall into a killing field, asking their victims, before they are killed, if they know who the mother of Muhammad is. Al-Shabaab is fighting to implement a stricter form of Islamic law in Somalia, a struggle in which Kenyan troops have been directly involved since 2011. What about the killers described in Sister Prejean's book who rape and then kill innocent teenagers and the recent Indian rapists? "People speak sometimes about the "bestial" cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel." (Dostoyevsky)
I don't know how I feel about capital punishment. But what should we do with these wanton murderers belonging to "terrorist" groups? Should we also classify governments as "terrorists" and, if so, should world leaders be put to death for what they do to their populations and what they try to do to other country's populations? Isn't it in fact governments and corruption that creates the kind of environment that leads many to hopelessness to even consider becoming part of "terrorist" groups or hurting others? If someone were to purposely murder somebody close to me would I be for the death penalty? When my sister was killed by a drunk driver I must have had feelings of vengeance, but I don't think that I ever wanted to see this person murdered by the State.
The way that I see things, are that groups such as Al-Shabaab, whether it is intended or not, take away more of my freedoms, e.g. when I check in at an airport or go to a mall, and create greater authority for the police and military, and intentionally create huge amounts of fear. When I find out about people such as Sudhir Choudhrie or Viktor Bout, I wonder how they sleep at night, how they can bring so much destruction in order to make profits. But, of course, they are not killing anybody. But governments have made the military industrial complex so large that it infects the entire world, limiting our freedoms, which doesn't help me to sleep at night but has the opposite effect of wondering when we will destroy the planet.
I wonder what Sister Prejean would say that we should do with murderous war lords or people attacking innocents, in order to achieve vengeance? I'm left with a feeling of emptiness as to where we are heading as a species. I can't avoid reading about the daily bombings, shootings and killings. The world's priorities are so out of whack, maybe I should believe my friend, although I'm not at all sure abut will do whatever I can to promote peace within myself.