Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Injustice and conflict never end – why?

Injustice will never end because there will always be people who consider themselves better than others, or different, or they will somehow justify their actions by believing they have a special need that no one else could conceivably have. Possibly more pervasive is the “belief” that a particular gender, skin colour or religious persuasion gives a “right” to persecute or denigrate those not of that gender, that skin colour or not of that religious persuasion.

This type of “injustice” happens everywhere. Take for example Israel’s flouting international law and ignoring United Nations requests for them to stop their annexation of Palestine, by stealth, with their continued building of new Jewish settlements in occupied lands. (I choose to mention Israel as their apparently intractable difference with the Palestinians affects us all and Israel is a topical issue in Australia at the moment vide “Prisoner X” and the apparent injustice of this incident).

The differences (at least in the Middle East), and the injustice, appear to stem from a strict adherence, by their followers, to the required observances written in two books – the Old Testament - the Jewish Torah, and the Koran – the book of Islam, and to the sacredness or otherwise of the land now claimed by both Israelis and the Palestinians.   

If the situation was reversed I am sure that Israelis would defend by every means at their disposal their “right” to claim what "should" be theirs. But they deny the Palestinians that very “right”.

There are always two sides to every story, as the saying goes, and the Palestinians are not blameless in this. They apparently object to a Jewish presence in their “homeland”. All this may be relevant and true but it is important to go behind the need (if that is the correct word) for injustice, whomsoever the perpetrator and wherever it takes place.

All humans are diminished – the human family is diminished - by injustice. In this regard it seems almost impossible for humans generally to accept the fact that we need each other; that we cannot live in total isolation; that our “needs”, our desires and wishes are much the same as those of everyone else.

In other words we need to observe the “Golden Rule” - to treat others as we would like to be treated. ALL religions, ALL moral teachings and ethical concepts have the “Golden Rule” as the cornerstone and principle for ALL effective human relationships.

For those who believe in the importance of “differences” this may be an unpleasant idea and difficult to accept. It is important, however, for them to realise that theirs is an intellectual resistance to Nature which seems to demand that mankind include others in their schemes lest their selfish desires lead to general chaos and destruction. But even with Nature’s inner demand and all the centuries of ethical and moral teachings it is patently evident that mankind (to paraphrase Jung) “has only very imperfectly learned that it is in his own interest to consider his neighbour and that it is impossible for him to ignore the needs of the body social of which he is a part”.

It is necessary to remember that conflict (more often than not the result of some injustice) can never be resolved at the level at which was created – at that level there can only be winners and losers – not reconciliation. Resolution and reconciliation needs a greater understanding of human nature and a higher level of awareness and education.

Resorting to laws, rules and regulations or ancient texts (however sacred) with the same mindset that held at the onset of the conflict (or the injustice) will not resolve anything.

Written on the gravestone of Paul Robeson (African American singer April 9, 1898 – Jan 26, 1976): “The artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery. I have made my choice. I had no alternative.”

This is why without real education for all (not just “book learning”) we face the rather depressing idea that injustice will never end.

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