June 6, 1999
Keeping in mind that as these words are being written the NATO bombing continues over Yugoslavia and one cannot but feel mixed emotions about the outcome of this conflict. First and foremost, a sense of relief that the death and carnage inflicted on all the populations of the region will finally come to a halt -- if not an end. And, secondly, a feeling of abhorrent hollowness when confronted with the dire consequences of our unfathomable deeds.
Kosovo, for this writer, will forever remain a powerful reminder of our inability to overcome our cavemen instincts. To force and violence we answer with more force and violence. Faced with the perception of potential mayhem we drape ourselves in the mantle of moral righteousness and create real mayhem. As we are approaching the dawn of a new millennium our behaviors reflect prehistoric thinking processes. As a species we haven't evolved one bit. Only tools have changed. From the stick and the rock, the club and the dagger, to the present armada of terrifying weaponry. Our sophistication can be measured in terms of destructiveness, not in terms of humanness.
Gustave Flaubert, the author of Madame Bovary, wrote in an 1852 letter to a friend, "As humanity perfects itself, humans get debased..." We've gone a long way in just about a short 150 years both in perfection and debasement...
Violence pervades our culture; domination, total domination, is the ultimate and rational aim of competition. To talk about the law of the jungle is an insult to the jungle itself. We destroy species by the thousands and we name such destruction a natural process. While claiming repetitively how much we value diversity we prohibit any difference with great and, if necessary, forceful determination. Fear is our highest motivation and we instill fear in any one party considered as an interferer in our ambitions.
This extends far beyond Kosovo, far beyond the respective costs of destruction and reconstruction, the maintenance of a force of occupation for years to come, far beyond the fabrications of history and the maiming of populations, far beyond the hatred we are perpetrating. This strikes at the heart of our humanness.
How far shall we go to protect our economic interests? How long will it take for a new dragon to overwhelm us, with the same extreme means we are applying to the world?
When shall we learn that we are 12 or 15 billion years old and not 200, 500 or 1,000?
When shall we learn to respect?
This Week's Other Articles:
An Apology - Dedicated to Milica by Charles Buffalo
A New Empire is Born by Matthew Parris
Speaking of Humanness... Gilles d'Aymery