Tuesday, August 15, 2006

How to Make Peace

Shalom Salaam © Kevin Brett 2006

One © Kevin Brett 2006

The art of compromise as explained in part by Beyond Intractability
...compromise is perceived differently in different cultures. In the United States, compromising is sometimes seen as bad, as it is seen as losing something or giving in. That is precisely why some American critics believe it is a bad approach. On the other hand, some traditional societies, such as the traditional Hawaiian culture, see compromise as a healthy way to end conflict. In the Hawaiian tradition, compromise focuses on restoring relationships damaged by conflict, which is generally considered more important than how much of a fixed pie each side will get. The primacy of relationships over substance is common in many societies, which may encourage compromise when core values or needs are not at stake.

Peace Activist Ron Greenstein asks,
How far has being right gotten either side in the Arab versus Israeli feud? Both sides perspectives on history legitimize their motivations. Both sides espouse rationale that they are the victims of evil and injustice. Both sides find popular support for their claim that their own aggressive, destructive behavior is appropriate to the circumstances. And both pray in earnest to the One God for victory over, and protection from, their enemy. What a predicament! Maybe being right should not be so highly valued or be taken too seriously.

A better way, the tried (little tried, but tried) and true method for vanquishing an enemy is to make him your friend. What magic is there that will make him treat you like you were his friend? Ah, you have already guessed--tenaciously treat him the way you would want your friend to treat you, BUT, most importantly, do not allow his poor behavior toward you to undermine your resolve. This may even involve the use of violence to prevent your "friend" from harming you or others, but without doing harm to him out of anger or hatred. Would you not want your friend to do their best to minimize the damage you might be inflicting by regrettable actions.

You might be thinking that this idea is crazy, dishonest or unnatural. In response, I would say that blowing up your neighbors so you can finally live in peace is far crazier. As regards honesty, this is a different order of honesty, one that seeks to uplift others at the expense of one’s own satisfaction. I suppose though that it is true to say that this concept is unnatural, but after it is practiced, one might find it to be supernatural.

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