Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Is Peace Possible?
No, I am not talking the Middle east or terrorism. I'm talking about adoption reform.
I have used the phrase here, that some amongst are “shooting themselves in the foot.” I’d like to elaborate.
There is a great deal of talk and concern about “institutionalized racism” i.e. police profiling. And yet 94 percent of all blacks killed between 1976 and 1999 were killed by other blacks. (Joe R. Hicks)
People who have so many real enemies…so much to be done to end the overt and covert forces that keep them down. Yet, they turn their frustration, anger and despair toward one another in “turf wars” and kill one another for “dissing” them. Why?
Aqeela Sherrills, who grew up in Watts, and, after seeing 13 friends killed in gang wars, was inspired to bring the warring factions—the Crips and Bloods—together to hammer out a peace treaty that lasted ten years. (This is What Peace Looks Like: Watts, Los Angeles: The Satya Interview with Aqeela Sherrills.)
Aqeela says: [The Blacks in these communities] have been … marginalized. “Gang member” is a scapegoat term society created that makes them inhuman, and when they get killed, people say, “Oh well, they were gang members.” But these were somebody’s daughter, somebody’s son, crying out for help in their own way. There’s this perception that people in urban communities are hardened killers and it’s not true. They’re bright and intelligent individuals, but they’re wounded deeply and carrying that around, which is basically a trigger. [Sound familiar? There’s more…]
Most of the kids as well as the adults are also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
So how did Aqeela turn things around? First by starting with a vision. And then teaching responsibility. In this case a vision of a neighborhood kids could live in safely. They developed grassroots commissions, or neighborhood councils, basically organizing and teaching them to become the stakeholders that they are in their communities. Gangs are responsible for the community—they’ve already said “this is our territory;” and it’s about flipping their consciousness, to protecting and providing a service to the neighborhood.
Along with the vision was realism. Peace is sustained—-not without problems and challenges, he says. Peace is not this utopian idea of dashing through a field of dandelions, you know, it’s hard work. Sometimes the peacemakers lose their lives in the process. But the key is that individuals consistently come back to resolve their conflicts to take them the next few steps towards peace.
It’s about who can communicate with these individuals and touch their hearts, helping each one to find their own humanity to see that there’s a different way. It’s based upon relationships and can’t be motivated by anything except love. It’s about igniting a conversation about just, you know, life—what makes people happy or sad; what they fear; what things they can change.
In every situation, in every conflict, what we’re actually negotiating on is the simple stuff. It’s about helping them go back to that place where they were first violated, and helping them to resolve those wounds so that they don’t become a burden in their lives, and so they can operate without them.
If people in the ghettos can do it, gosh darn it, so can we…end our feuding and fighting and work together toward common goals.
We already have a shared vision: family preservation! What we need is to begin to beleive that WE have the power to make that vision a reality ... and we CAN, if we combine efforts and work toward it instead of battling one another with loaded words instead of guns.
“Love Your Children More Than You Hate Your Enemies”
Adoption reform wars are just the product of bored middle-aged, middle-class milquetoasts hiding behind a computer screen fighting a pointless "war" of words.All anyone "wins" is a fleeting sense of power, rather like pointless academic squabbles about post-modernism, minimilism, nihilsim, and host of other "isms" that most of the world does not give a damn about.
There is no incentive to make peace among fanatics and no concession but full surrender to the fanatic mindset will ever be enough. None of the players want to give up their little bit of power that amounts to being in control of an internet virtual reality game. No, peace is not possible, because the players are not REALLY getting hurt and they are having too much fun ruling their irrelevant little worlds.
FUN? POWER? Anger creates far more harm to the person who is angry than any fun and as for power...well...an ant is powerful because of the amount of weight he can lift...until he's stepped on and CRUSHED!
I think it's PATHETIC that people enjoy fighting and I also think it pathetic that they have no conern for anyone but themselves. Maybe the kids in the ghetto have their own lives at stake - but Aqeela said they did what they did with a common vision to have a nighborhood THEIR KIDS could grow up safe in. Those concerned about the environment are concerned not for themsleves but for the world we leave our kids and grandkids.