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John Wayne's Holster: Peace on Earth?
John Wayne's Holster
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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Peace on Earth?

I was driving past the Elm trees that line the mall leading up to the Pattee and Paterno libraries on the Penn State campus. As usual, there were a group of about 10-15 people holding a vigil to call attention to the Iraq War, and now the clash between Israel and Lebanon. I usually don’t pay much attention to the “protesters” but for some reason I did tonight. I don’t know if it is just the length of the Iraq war, or the mounting casualties, or what. Perhaps it is the renewal of fighting between Israel and Lebanon. Or maybe it’s the hundreds of thousands of Iraq civilians who have died or the Jewish and Lebanese, and perhaps Iranian and US citizens, who will have their lives snuffed out in the coming days.

Perhaps its just coincidence, but U2’s Peace on Earth came on the radio while all this shit was going through my head. I know the song was writing about the situation in Northern Ireland, but I think the lyrics can be applied to the situation in the Middle East and Iraq.

Peace on Earth by U2

Heaven on Earth, we need it now
I'm sick of all of this hanging around
Sick of sorrow, sick of the pain
I'm sick of hearing again and again
That there's gonna be peace on Earth

Where I grew up there weren't many trees
Where there was we'd tear them down
And use them on our enemies
They say that what you mock
Will surely overtake you
And you become a monster
So the monster will not break you

And it's already gone too far
Who said that if you go in hard
You won't get hurt?

Jesus can you take the time
To throw a drowning man a line
Peace on Earth
Tell the ones who hear no sound
Whose sons are living in the ground
Peace on Earth
No whos or whys
No one cries like a mother cries
For peace on Earth
She never got to say goodbye
To see the color in his eyes
Now he's in the dirt
Peace on Earth

They're reading names out over the radio
All the folks the rest of us won't get to know
Sean and Julia, Gareth and Ann and Breda
Their lives are bigger than any big idea

Jesus can you take the time
To throw a drowning man a line
Peace on Earth
To tell the ones who hear no sound
Whose sons are living in the ground
Peace on Earth
Jesus sing a song you wrote
The words are sticking in my throat
Peace on Earth
Hear it every Christmas time
But hope and history won't rhyme
So what's it worth
This peace on Earth

Peace on Earth
Peace on Earth
Peace on Earth


At 9:45 AM, Anonymous Roy said...

I think it is extremely important to distinguish from peace on earth and the absence of war. According to the UN from the cease fire with Iraq in 1991 until the invasion in 03, 50,000 Iraq civilians were dying each year from US sanctions.

But yes, peace on earth is the goal. My myopic dream is that globalization will bring about a more peaceful earth.

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Joe Verica said...

Hi Roy

Thanks for the comments.

I think you make a good point about the sanctions. Although, in some cases, the sanctions could be thought of as the first step in a war. The sanctions thing is my big fear in Iran and North Korea. The target of the sanctions are the regimes that reun these countries, but in reality, it is the civilians who suffer.

Rather than sanctions, direct action is probably needed to take the leadership out of power in those countries. There is probably no casualty-free way to so it, but the casualties could be minimized if the UN had any balls. Maybe the UN is part of the problem. It seems to me that it is just a group of countries acting on their own behalf - with their own best interests in mind. Ideally, they should be acting as a global force, but I guess human nature is stronger than altruism.

As for the globalization = peace thing. I hope you are right. As it stands now, it seems more like a license to practice laize faire capitalism. Maybe in the long run, things will settle and their could be peace, but I am not very hopeful.

At 6:03 PM, Anonymous Roy said...

I completely agree with you on the ineffectiveness of sanctions. They seem to cause much more problems than they solve. I too am scared that we will attempt to use sanctions on NK and Iran.

Have you ever read any of Thomas Barnett's work? If not you should definitely do so.

I am waiting for the day that we can reform and then strengthen the UN. I would be willing to sacrifice some sovereignty if we had a legitimate international organization that could enforce its resolutions.

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous brad said...

Though myopic, I agree that globalization like education will bring people closer together and eventually decrease violence like war. The more similarities we see and the more advantageous our business relationships are, the less likely we will be to resort to violence. But this isn't going to happen in our lifetime. The only thing that can decrease violence on a rapid scale is population reduction. But that's another topic. We can talk about that after I have kids...


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