Now, in a previous article, I’ve already mentioned that peace wasn’t exactly easy back in the day. For instance, before the turn of the 20th century when the World Wars and the Cold War with its “mini-wars” showed the world just how terrible war was, war was generally glorified and encouraged. To have taken part in any kind of war back then was something to be proud of and just about every male in the family will probably have put some time in the military even if it’s just a simple deskjob or just minor training on how to handle a firearm.
In the ancient days, things were even worse with every male in a country required to be part of a standing army as life was expected to be quite turbulent back then. You would be very lucky in those days if you never once saw an invasion of barbarians or bandits ransacking your beloved home village. Indeed, as already mentioned, the Greeks saw the idea of safety as simply being not in any immediate danger. So you were technically safe even if the local king or warlord was starving your family as long as there weren’t any bandits around to set fire to your home and slaughter your children. Try comparing how they lived and died to the way we live in this day and age.Now that you know that, is it really any surprise that peace can be so difficult for some countries? First off, if you’ll notice, feudal societies are all too often easy prey for petty conflicts as their leaders are often competing (often through violence and fear) for territory and dominance. Now, when you stop to think just how similar our politics work to the way that the feudal system works (you know, leadership positions being hereditary and nobles had the divine right to rule), you begin to see why the Philippines and its citizens seems to be trapped in an unending cycle of corruption, poverty and violence.
For there to be true peace for a country, there are facts to think about. Peace isn’t easy and it often comes at a heavy price. While the media and a lot of pro peace talk people might claim otherwise, appeasement isn’t always the answer to conflicts either just as violence isn’t the right solution for all problems. Before World War II became the horrific war it is remembered as today, it can be noted that there were always those who thought they could bargain with the Axis Powers. There were actually those who thought that the Nazis, the Italian Fascists and Imperial Japan would keep their ends of the bargain if people chose to negotiate with and appease them. Unfortunately, we all know how those “peace talks” ended.
Achieving Peace is Hard
I’m not saying that peace for Mindanao is impossible. I’m just saying that if we really want to go about it, then we have to be willing to make sacrifices. And no, it won’t be just some people who’ll be making sacrifices. Everyone will have to make sacrifices in order to finally bring the bloody conflicts of the south to an end. It doesn’t just involve the military and the rebels, it must also include the cooperation of civilians in Mindanao, strong participation of the Philippine government (which means they must make sacrifices too) and even the passive support of bystanders like you and me.
It may be difficult, but if we really want lasting peace with minimal bloodshed, we must first root out the problem in our own society before we can proceed to clean up the mess we’ve made. It has to start with throwing out the old methods that have repeatedly failed and exploded in our faces.
Also, everyone must play a part if we ever want to rid ourselves of our petty conflicts. There must be no exceptions because that will only allow bitterness to fester in our society and sabotage any future arrangements for peace.
Peace Begins with Tolerance
If we’re really interested in making any kind of peace, we first have to establish simple boundaries. What is tolerable and what is not tolerable. It’s like playing a game with rules but with dead serious consequences. If you want to play the game, then you have to play by the rules.
If you don’t like the rules, then go play another game. It’s really that simple. By refusing to play by the rules, it just goes to show that you aren’t really interested in playing at all.
So yes, if we’re going to reach any kind of concession, we must first be willing to put aside our anger and petty emotions and focus on the task at hand.
Consider that Peace Might Not Work
While we don’t really want pointless bloodshed, we have to be prepared for the possibility that things can still go pear-shaped in spite of all our efforts. In life, one can never be too sure about one’s choices and while positive thinking does allow you to be more confident in your actions, it doesn’t always ensure positive outcomes.
I want the peace talks to succeed (if it’s even possible at all) but we also need to consider that perhaps the rebels aren’t interested in any fair deal we have to offer them. While peace is good and that we must work toward it, we can never be too sure that the opposing party might not be willing to cooperate with us at all.
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