what are our options?

There are lots of conversations about how to deal with the growth of Islamism and ISIL, especially in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris. People seem to be polarised around the two options – to bomb or not to bomb.

I’m firmly in the DO NOT BOMB camp. I’m horrified by the number of vengeful and counterproductive military interventions led by western powers in recent years. I see cycles of violence that are ever tightly wound being fuelled by the actions of men in power wanting to demonstrate what ‘strong’ men in power do when they are threatened. Yes, I see this as a male problem, the result of too much power being in the hands of too many men.

But it’s easy to sit in my comfy chair advocating pacifism from an unaffected area. Undoubtedly if I were on the ground seeing everything around me being violently destroyed, I’d be screaming for help, any help, wanting someone to come in and save us.

Certainly there’s no painless option, there’s too much mess as it is. But are there options people are refusing to consider, options that require stepping outside of our normal responses? There may no obvious roadmaps to success, but is that because we as humans only ever do the same things in response to aggression? We try to talk, decide it’s futile, and get violent.

Let’s throw it open to any suggestions, seriously, any suggestions. Let’s never limit ourselves to think ‘war’ or ‘nothing’ are the only two options.

  • All the world leaders come out and admit there are no gods (they know it), that fighting for religion is entirely futile. Copies of influential atheist books and documentaries are made available and distributed in millions, along with biographies about forgiveness, non-violence and change – Mandela, Aung San Suu KyiGandhi
  • Millions of ipads with completely addictive games handed out freely in all war zones, along with lots of food. When your tummy is full and you’re in the middle of a game, killing people doesn’t seem so important.
  • Start a movement for Women in Power – an experiment to see what happens when men aren’t making all the decisions. Get everyone to sign up for a 10 year experiment of all female leaders, followed by return to choice between women and men. What could we possibly have to lose?

The UK has just pledged £2 billion in additional security measures that might just as well be flushed down the toilet for all the difference it’s likely to make. Let’s redirect it somewhere innovative. Let’s strike out into the unknown and give peace a better chance than it’ll ever have by following the well-trodden paths of completely unsuccessful military interventions around the world.

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