Musings: "Bombing Iraq Is So Last Century!"
A year ago when the theme “Beginning Anew” was chosen for this issue, I wondered if we might possibly be living in a radically transformed world at this time -- for better or for worse. Adrift between the uncertainties of war and peace, friends and foes, global economic instability and environmental destruction, it seems that the entire world has been sitting on pins and needles this past year waiting to see “for whom the bell tolls.”
It is a tragedy that a planet of over 6 billion brilliant, shining, individual points-of-divine-light-housed-in-human-bodies can do no better than to create a world overrun by terror, poverty, sickness, war and greed. We can fly to distant planets in the solar system. We have technology to reproduce human life outside the womb. We can build bridges and tunnels to span the oceans and link the continents. Yet two thirds of the global population is starving or stricken with disease, the planet’s ecosystems are breaking down and dying, and we live with the threat of international terrorism which can explode over our heads at any time, anywhere. We have created this nightmare and we can do better than this!
In my opinion, selfishness is the real axis of evil in this world. We often hear about the global economy and the global village, suggesting that the entire world is connected in some way, that we are all a part of each other. Yet it seems that our global economy has disintegrated into an unethical system where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. If people and nations acted on behalf of others as often as themselves, the human misery we’ve created would vanish from the planet! People would not be starving when there is plenty to eat in the world and healthcare would be available in countries which do not have the resources to research and fight disease themselves. Everyone would get their fair share of Mother Earth’s great bounty and natural resources would not be wasted, destroyed or abused anywhere in the world. No one would pick up a weapon against anyone else because we would all be living with respect for each other.
Although this vision of a new world may only exist as a possibility in the future, it gives us a direction of where we want to be headed globally so we can make good choices today. As the shocking and dramatic events surrounding the United States’ war on Iraq unfolded, many people were jolted awake to the realization that violence is no longer the answer for our time. Dropping bombs or blowing up buses and buildings does not create safety or peace for anyone. It does not move us closer towards cooperating with others or helping to build a better world, but prevents it. One banner spotted in the NYC peace rally clarifies the urgency of our situation: “Bombing Iraq is so last century.” It’s time for the world to move forward.
And so, it is up to those of us who know in our minds, see in our visions and have felt in our hearts that there is something better and more to life than supporting this frenzied, materialistic culture and lifestyle that now defines and consumes America and has spread like a cancer of greed around the world. Don’t get me wrong -- I love America! I love the freedom, the liberty, the innovation, the principles of equality and the land of opportunity that was originally borne of the Spirit of America and her Constitution. We must never forget what a high price was paid to allow this culture to take root and flourish: the massacre of Indians on this land. Perhaps it is because we have forgotten this debt that we have strayed off the path of our original intentions to be a haven, a beacon and an “anti-empire” in a world of corruption and oppression. Instead we have allowed ourselves to be seduced by trinkets of “the good life,” blinded by greed and misguided by leaders with selfish or nationalistic interests. It is not surprising that our government has broken alliances with the country which gifted us with the symbol of our nation’s great strength and soul: the Statue of Liberty, representing our pledge to equality, opportunity and freedom for all. Therein lies our country’s true patriotic cause, not the present-day nationalism in defending someone’s political agenda. To support a government regardless of its actions is not patriotism, it is nationalism. Nationalism is “an exaltation of one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups.” (Webster’s Dictionary)
It is time for the United States to become a caring member of the global family, not just a corporate or military presence. It is time for humans to bring forth their best efforts to raise humanity to the next level of civilization which cares for people, the spirit of life and all of Creation. The sooner we start creating this world, the better, because time is running out. Due to the critical nature of these global situations, we are presented with three options at this time: 1) Wait for it all to end with a big bang -- we are doomed; 2) wait to be rescued by a divine, extraterrestrial or superhuman savior -- we are destined; 3) start working as individuals now to begin anew, think enlightened and act cooperatively to bring about the global change we seek.
It really does make a difference if you buy less stuff for yourself and donate more generously to those in need. It matters if you live lightly on the Earth and let your inner light shine out to others. It matters very much if you speak out politically and do whatever you can to support and elect leaders of integrity and wisdom to positions of power.
I believe it is possible to repair and restore the American dream and that leaders do exist who can install a more responsible, responsive and respectable government. All of your small actions combined with your neighbor’s small actions and added to the millions of small actions contributed by people all over the world eventually make that global transformation a reality. If we can imagine it, we can begin it. Let us begin.
Carol Bedrosian is the publisher and editor of Spirit of Change, New England's largest holistic magazine.