On arms and lunatics

Taking a much-needed and rare break, yesterday I watched “Lord of War”, a superb film concerned with the international illegal arms trade and – without flinching – the ideological implications that surround it to and fro. I must admit, I didn’t (and still don’t) know much about it, and the film – that claims to be based on reality – was quite a shocker and an eye-opener.

The philosophy is simple: People will always fight each other, so what better business than supplying them with the means to do so?

A sad, but true logic. And the recent death of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic in his cell yesterday brought the whole thing into an ugly and very real relief. Because it is people like him and their actions who keep the industry of death open and flourishing.

Then again, others may argue that it’s the other way around; this might also be true, considering, for example, the indoubitable financial benefits that US oil companies reap as long as the Middle East is in chaos.

Oh, it’s a complicated and touchy subject, I know. Say one of the codewords, and you’re immediately tagged a rightist or a leftist or – even worse – a hippy. And, in this blog, I’ve always tried to remain unpolitical for a number of reasons, foremost of which is the fact that I don’t consider myself qualified enough to responsibly spray political views around. Instead, I try to give opinions as a Christian, again for a number of reasons, foremost of which is the fact that I believe the Bible to be true (I think we’re well-past the “burning stake” shock now).

Still, like the rest of you, I live on this planet, and what happens on it concerns me, like it concerns us all whether we like it or not. And, believe it or not, I only started following the news as recently as September 12th, 2001 (guess why). I don’t pretend to be an expert in political and diplomatic issues, but I do try to look at what’s going on and see if I can share something about it. Why is that important? Because we now live in that Marxist nightmare, where we’re all individuals rather than social creatures, and the bottom line is that, if it’s happening further than two blocks away, we simply don’t care.

And this is the soil on which Hitler planted his massacre. It’s how Rwanda happened. It’s how people like Mussolini, Stalin, Chausesku, Milosevic, Saddam, and their Band of Psychopaths become leaders of their causes: because their people were too distracted and – often, not always – too self-absorbed in their own problems to look further than their noses.

If History has taught us anything on the subject, it’s that dictatorship is a two-step process: Distraction and intimidation. But I wonder if it doesn’t all begin in the minds of people. Have you ever met a racist who was happy with his life? Have you ever met a communist who was content with his wealth? An anarchist or a terrorist who grew up in a fulfilled family? An atheist who was not angry at God?

I rue the free-thinkers of today, because they’re a contradiction in terms.

Men of blood will always be around, seeking to quench their thirst by feeding others patriotic nonsense or labelling themselves “freedom fighters”. But how far can they reach if the others around them are sensible and peaceful?

“Utopia”, I hear you say, and you are absolutely right. Lasting peace will never be achieved, at least not by human means. That’s why the global arms trade will continue to thrive. That’s why the words “genocide”, “suicide-bomber”, “terrorist” and “dead” won’t eclipse from the headlines. That’s why men of blood will always come to power. What we can do, if we can’t prevent it, is try to minimise it.

But blood, in the end, is always blood. And one way or the other, it will seek justice.

My son, do not walk in the way with them,
Keep your foot from their path;
For their feet run to evil
And they make haste to shed blood.
Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird;
But they lie in wait for their own blood,
They lurk secretly for their own lives.
So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain;
It takes away the life of its owners – Proverbs 1:15-19

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God – Matthew 5:9

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven – Matthew 5:13-16

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