20 April 2017

Violence in Context

Prashad is always interesting. I was first introduced to him on Democracy Now! I find his writings scattered here and there and he's always worth a read.
While certainly not a Christian, he is nevertheless insightful. This piece exposes the dual logic and ethics at work in how violence is perceived in the West.

While the West kills and destroys far greater numbers the fact that this violence is prosecuted from sterile environments, cloaked by state legitimacy and often by means of advanced technology it is cast in a different hue. The gritty, get your hands dirty type of violence conducted by terrorists is always perceived as immoral... and yet in truth the West has far more blood (and innocent blood at that) on its hands. And when it comes to 'terror' the West cannot be exempted. For many 9/11 is the seminal moment and they would argue the West never conducts attacks of that nature.
But what made the 9/11 attacks so terrible? Was it the magnitude? The numbers? The cost of destruction?
What if al Qaeda had spaced it out into six or ten attacks that did the same amount of damage and took the same number of civilian lives? Would that somehow make them less culpable?
Perhaps you realise where this is going?
The number one transgression to many Western thinkers is to argue from a standpoint of moral equivalence. And yet as Christians we cannot be bound by nationalist considerations or metanarratives. While I think few would suggest that Churchill was the equivalent to Hitler.... the fact that the analogy breaks down does not leave Churchill off the hook. He too was a vile murderer and person of base substance. The fact that Churchill was less than pure, in no way lessens or softens the magnitude of what Hitler was and did.

We need to avoid and call out these false dilemmas which even now cloud the thinking of many a Christian.

1 comment:

  1. Also imagine if another nation detonated the MOAB bomb... the biggest tactical use of a bomb since Hiroshima. A WMD to be sure, if any other nation had dropped it, the international response would be quite different.