The beginning of the end of global violence starts with you and me

There has been a lot of horror in the news this week, last week, the week before that and, it sometimes seems, time immemorial. Paris was horrific, so too Beirut, so too Kenya, so too the many other untold stories of death, destruction and mindless violence occurring everyday in all corners of the globe. The media, of course, does its best to dictate how we should feel about each of these incidents, sometimes not reporting them at all. But really, it’s up to us to make the difference here.

As for the war in Syria that appears to be at the centre of much of our problems, well, it’s a mess. The video below states there may be no end in sight. That is true, but it’s important for all of us to remember, it’s only because of the actions of a small group of very ignorant, little people who have the temerity to call themselves “leaders”. They are foolish enough to endorse one side or another in this bloody mess, and expect us to fall on one side of the pathetic fence or face the consequences. Paris is just the latest chapter. At this stage, it’s not likely to be the last.

For me, nobody involved in what has happened over these past few years has any justification for their actions. While killing remains the primary focus of these groups, I’m not interested in anything any of them has to say. Whether they be backed by the US, UK, Australia, ISIS, Iran or anyone else, their beliefs most certainly are not mine. I will not enforce more bombing to combat ISIS. I will not endorse more beheadings and public carnage to combat the US. All of them, to me, are as dumb as each other.

The clip below from Vox was created around a month ago. It proves, beyond doubt, that such tactics simply do not work. Catch up on where we’re up to by watching.

As Gandhi once said, “an eye for an eye makes the world go blond”. It helps nobody to fight fire with fire. These actions, from all participants, are based purely on vengeance and greed, and nothing remotely constructive or related to the concept of peace.

But make no mistake: the global movement against this mindless minority starts with you, and it starts with me. It starts with all of us.

Whenever you are given an opportunity to elect a leader in your part of the world, think not only about yourself, but also about your fellow human beings. Do not think about how many people your leader can kill or hurt to square the ledger. It’s a ledger that can never be balanced. Many of us learn of our violent history in school, from the days of old to the World Wars, Vietnam and more. We are able to learn so many things as human beings, able to make things better. Why do these tales of death and destruction not help us to learn that killing will never lead to a peaceful world? Every year, we “mourn the dead” of conflicts past, only to allow our leaders to tip more into battles within hours of acting our deep sorrow so the generations after us can continue to mourn as we do when we are dead and gone.

It simply has to stop, because it does not help anyone. We all have a responsibility to help each other.

It’s extremely idealistic to think all of us can live in harmony. We are not the only animal to fight over territory, for example. But we are an animal that is capable of so much better.

You do not need a flag, threatening rhetoric, guns or bombs at your side. Before you vote next time, think hard. Think carefully. Your vote is the most powerful course of action you can take in all this. Look for the real leaders, those who can talk and not simply kill. Those who can empathise, those you can understand. They are out there and they are many. Nothing you do can be more important.

You can affect a change in this world that is meaningful. You can turn all this negativity into something positive. Imagine a world you can explore without fear of being harmed, killed, taken hostage, abused, vilified. Just for a moment. A world where any destination is a possibility. War-zones, such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, once so innocent, beautiful and awe-inspiring before the bullets and bombs scarred them like a battered child. We can create a world where these places can again become accessible and can again inspire us to live more harmoniously with each other.

Play your part in ending the endless cycle of violence on planet Earth, our home.

From a distance, we all know Earth looks beautiful. Let’s work together towards making her look just as good up close. It might not happen in our lifetimes, but with enough of us banging the drum, it can happen at some time.