Enjoy, not destroy.
Most of the players in the United States Rugby side probably wouldn’t know where to point if you asked them to indicate Tonga’s position on a map, and thus it must have been quite satisfying for the small island to serve a cold can of whip-ass to the world’s only remaining superpower yesterday when the shamed Eagles lost 25 points to 15. The USA’s dismal performance in the Rugby and Soccer World Cup all serve as a startling reminder of the tremendous lack of interest in world affairs on the US’s part – and that when it comes to world sport, environmental protocols and UN resolutions, the US is not a team player. Of course it is not only in sport that the US are beaten by small and obscure nations, it would seem that recently the score-board in War hasn’t been to flattering either (think Vietnam, Somalia and Iraq where most of the soldiers who have been thrown into wars there probably couldn’t have found the country they’re fighting in on a map before they were stationed there.) Perhaps the lesson in all this is that aside from at a bit of geography in high-school, it would perhaps be good foreign policy to try prime the pumps of worldly curiosity within the Nation. I dare say that there’s no better way to get to learn a little geography and some history than by drinking wine and having a love of food. Imagine people switching off the mind-dulling and hate spewing Fox News, and switching over to the Food Network for a cooking show in Tuscany, a wine tour in Syria or a cuisine pilgrimage to Morocco. Perhaps we could do away with some of the demonization of the Middle-East if we were to explore their culture. Hell, how’s this for an idea: instead of trying to destroy the rest of the world, how about enjoying it! What a crazy thing that would be, enjoy and don’t destroy. There is after all such a thing as soft-power, which is where you win wars not with bullets and rifles, but with culture and ideas.
This is no new idea, in fact it was a great American who said it best:
- Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.
- Martin Luther King (1958)
What brings people closer together than wine, food and music? Most men would rather share a meal with their neighbour than spend all night wishing him dead. I’ve done a bit of travelling in the Israel, Lebanon and Egypt – and I’ll tell you this: all that crap you see on Fox about people wishing American’s dead is claptrap. Representing the middle-east as Al Qaeda is like representing the USA as the Klu Klux Klan. I think a shared appreciation of culture, poetry, music, literature and food could do a lot for US foreign policy. Who would have thought 30 years ago that some of the most successful contemporary Asian cuisine in the USA would be Vietnamese or Japanese? Mind you, Korean food is pretty good nowadays too. George Bush wants America to believe that terrorists target the USA because they hate their freedomâ€¦ but if terrorists hate freedom: then why have there been no bombs in Sweden?
And also, lets not forget that terrorism is in no way peculiar to the middle-east. Americans have committed acts of terrorism in America: the Unabomber, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Timothy McVeigh, Gacey, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Darma etc. Also, terrorism is not peculiar to Islam, as we’ve seen in Northern Ireland (thus it is ironic to see how Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity promote Guantanamo on Fox, hell, I would love to have seen O’Reilly’s reaction if the British had started throwing innocent Irish people into their own Guantanamo during the IRA bombings.)
In the words of Dr. King again:
- The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies itâ€¦ In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction…. The chain reaction of evil â€” hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars â€” must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
- Martin Luther King (1963)
American soldiers are simply making the world a more dangerous place. Of course, they have the best intentions, but what they’re doing is fruitless. We’d be better off investing in poets and filmmakers in Iraq. Giving people guns will just give other people reason to pick up guns. Training Sunni militias is a mistake, rather educate Sunni children. Training Americans to be killers is another grave error, rather make our soldiers teachers and engineers. What can a Marine do when they return to normal life besides obsess over atrocities committed in the State’s name? On the contrary, if you train a young American to be constructive rather than destructive, that is state-resources well spent. Rather set up feeding tents in Shi’ite neighbourhoods, giving local people Iowa corn on the cob, corn-bread, coca-cola and organizing soft-ball games. Yes, there will be bombings: but people will be more willing to harbour terrorists in their homes if there are uniformed men with guns in the streets. If Americans are to die on foreign soil rather let them die trying to feed other people than die whilst exchanging gun fire with them.
What can we do at home on American soil to contribute to the world situation? I think being open to other cultures and participating in world events in a positive and engaged way will do lot for world security. I think America makes awesome wines; some my favourite novelists are American; American cuisine is awesome, some of the world’s greatest luminaries are American and of course, half my family is American. Having spent a fair bit of time in the South and the middle-East I can honestly say that I see more cultural similarity than anyone would think. Southerners are middle-Easterners all love richy, hearty meals: Brunswick stew in the South and Lamb Kofta in Morcocco; iced tea in the South and Bedouin tea in the middle-East. We’re more similar than Cheney wants us to know.
- Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
- Martin Luther King
Let us not continue to destroy the world, but rather lets enjoy it and enjoy the cultural differences and the fruits thereof.
Tags: Culture, millennial, News, unity