IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Bang! Bang! Bang!

I heard this (again, I guess) on an oldie station the other day.  Please take a moment to listen and read the lyrics. It says it all.  It tears my heart out.  This woman is a genius.

Here is the video of Ms. Chapman singing the song:  Bang! Bang! Bang!

…and

Bang! Bang! Bang!  Lyrics

(Song for little man)

“What you go and do
You go and give the boy a gun
Now there ain’t place to run to
Ain’t no place to run

When he hold it in his hand
He feel mighty he feel strong
Now there ain’t no place to run to
Ain’t no place to run

One day he may come back
Repay us for what we’ve done
Then where you gonna run to
Where you gonna run

But one fine day
All our problems will be solved
Bang bang bang
We’ll shoot him down

Give him drugs and give him candy
Anything oohhh, to make him think he’s happy
And he won’t ever come for us
He won’t ever come

But if he does
And if there’s no one else around
Bang bang bang
We’ll shoot him down

If he preys only on his neighbors
Brothers sisters and friends
We’ll consider it a favor
We’ll consider justice done

But if he comes for you or me
And we can place a gun in his hand
Bang bang bang
We’ll shoot him dead

What you go and do
You go and give the boy a gun
Now there ain’t no place to run to
Ain’t no place to run

Now we’ll all be at his mercy
If he decides to hunt us down
Cause there ain’t no place to run to
Ain’t no place to run

If he wants the chances that you took from him
And nothing that you own
Then there’ll be no place to run to
There’ll be no place to run

And if he finds himself to be
A reflection of us all
Bang bang bang
He’ll shoot us down

Before you can raise your eyes to read
The writing on the wall
Bang bang bang
He’ll shoot you down

Before you can bridge the gulf between
And embrace him in your arms
Bang bang bang
He’ll shoot you down”

IGbarb says:  “For God’s (and your own) sake, raise your eyes, bridge the gap!”

January 21, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Human needs, and why they matter

One of my personal favorite approaches to understanding conflict and changing the world so there’s much less of it, was developed by the Australian scholar and diplomat John Burton. Burton built on the work of Abraham Maslow about needs that were not just physical, and came up with a list which included identity, security, recognition and meaningful relationships (the list varies). Why is this important? Well for one thing social sciences have always had a problem with human nature…what makes people tick. Also, in his work, Burton argues that these needs can’t be bargained or negotiated away. They have to be met, one way or another. So, social institutions such as governments and laws must foster the fulfillment of these needs for everybody. If they don’t, then there will be conflict, and, very often, violent conflict. He even went so far as to argue that it almost didn’t matter how many police or other forms of oppression were applied, people would still fight for need fulfillment (one way or another).

This points very clearly to what Burton considered the key to the problem: find the needs not being met, and reform the relevant institutions so they fulfill these needs. For example: if political institutions deprive a group of identity, security or both, and that group revolts, you will, sooner or later, have to do something about those institutions. The “only” problem here, is that there would undoubtedly be some other groups who benefited from the unjust status quo ante, and who would very likely resist changes to it. But even this is instructive.

Human needs theory has its critics, of course, and you can read a brief and balanced assessment of it here. You can also find a nice short article on Burton and his work here.

August 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Being Fran(c)k about opposites

I was reading an interesting article the other day and came across some of the ideas of Sebastian Franck about peace. Who, you may ask, is/was this Mr. Franck? Actually it was Herr Franck. He was, according to Wikipedia, “… a 16th century German freethinker, humanist, and radical reformer” (you can find the complete article here). He got into all sorts of trouble for being suspected of heresy (many were in those days).

But in the article, I found the following: “Franck…disputes impressively the usual argument that war can lead to peace. Nothing can be achieved by its own contrast: poverty would never lead to riches, neither would dishonesty create honesty. War brings about more damages than profits, even if this does not always become obvious as the damages suffered by souls…are less visible” (from Istvan Kende, “The History of Peace: Concept and Organizations from the Late Middle Ages to the 1870s”: Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 26, No. 3, Aug. 1989, p. 236).

First of all, Herr Franck seems to have been way ahead of his times, since these arguments are certainly part of much contemporary writing about peace. Second, what do you think of his argument about “contrasts”. I found myself thinking about it for some time. I have always believed, for instance that the end rarely justifies the means. Rather, if you want a peaceful, beautiful, just…etc..end, your means must have those same qualities.

Anyhow, hats off to Sebastian!

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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