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How Come Peace Has Disappeared?

When I was in graduate school, which was from 1967 through 1971, the national news began every night with a report from Viet Nam. Those of us who were on college campuses during those years spent our evenings watching bombs being dropped on Viet Nam and then spent our mornings or afternoons demonstrating against those bombs in front of the campus building which housed the ROTC.

Anyone today who claims they were not involved in anti-war activities in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s was either not a college student or wasn’t born before 1955. If you were born after 1955, by the time you went to college, the war in Viet Nam was over and by the way, we lost.

What then started happening on college campuses was the appearance of what were called ‘peace studies,’ These were programs which offered an interdisciplinary major, combining courses in History, Sociology, Political Science, and prepared students to do whatever kids do who graduate from a four-year school.

There are now 128 colleges and universities which have a major in Peace Studies, except most have been renamed ‘conflict resolution’ programs, and I guess get students ready for careers in corporate HR. Which isn’t a bad way to earn a living, right?

Meanwhile, the whole notion of peace as a way to define relations between countries, as in ‘peaceful coexistence,’ seems to have gone by the board.

I have been watching the reports out of Israel (since none of the American media appear to be within Gaza) and I haven’t heard the word ‘peace’ mentioned once. For that matter, I have also watched over 300 nightly TV reports from Ukraine, and I can count the number of times I heard the word ‘peace’ on the fingers of one hand.

It’s now 1 P.M. and CNN is switching to the White House for some comments from Joe.

Now Joe’s finished his brief remarks although he didn’t come out to speak until 2:30 P.M. But he made it clear without going into details that the entire fault for this violence and loss of life rests on Hamas. And just before he spoke, CNN carried a report that Israel has moved tanks up to the Gaza border, and you know what that means.

In his remarks, Joe mentioned the word ‘war’ multiple times. He also mentioned the word ‘peace’ twice in one sentence when he accused Hamas of making an ‘unprovoked attack’ on a music festival celebrating peace.

In fact, that festival took place in a kibbutz located less than three miles from the gate in a fence which rings Gaza and can only be exited by Palestinians who have Israeli permission to leave. So, the residents of Gaza could hear the music from the festival, but they couldn’t attend.

How is it that the word ‘peace’ seems to have disappeared from the Western lexicon? How come as the world becomes more developed and more national economies move into and beyond the industrial era, that mass violence not only isn’t becoming less frequent but, if anything, seems now to be more the ‘normal’ way?

And by the way, we were told that the spike in street violence within many American cities was a reaction to the stressors of Covid-19. So, how come the Pandemic appears to be yesterday’s news (I got my Pfizer booster on Saturday – thank you Walgreen’s) but the daily violence in many American cities keeps going up?

I’m beginning to think that all the talk about the alleged link between violence and underdevelopment is just talk.

Ever hear of a little village named Turmus Ayya? Of course you haven’t. This past June, more than 400 Jewish West Bank settlers stormed this village, killed a resident, set homes and cars on fire and wrecked businesses.

The Israeli government’s response? They issued permits to build 1,000 new homes on the West Bank. If some of those homes will occupy locations where Palestinian families happen to live, those families can pick themselves up, shlep to Gaza and join the other million Palestinians living in refugee camps.

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