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Ceasefire 

Ceasefire

You can't read or listen to a news report today without noting the mention of some nation or group within a nation being involved in negotiations over a ceasefire. Apparently this means that some people want to talk about not shooting at other people. Almost always there is an accompanying story about the Secretary of State of the U.S. rushing to the troubled area to do some talking. If you are reading a newspaper you will also likely find in a less prominent place some mention of several folks shot to death in various localities around the U.S. If you are listening to television the shootings are usually quickly noted either in the few seconds allotted right before or immediately after "the break." You don't hear about anyone rushing to the troubled areas in the U.S. to do any talking or anything else. Apparently our nation or groups within our nation aren't much interested in talking about some people not shooting other people.

Perhaps I didn't express my thoughts very well with that previous sentence. We do like to talk about shooting people and we like to show people doing it a lot and we call it entertainment or infotainment if we start feeling a little embarrassed. Some of us even think it is our responsibility to be ever ready to shoot somebody else. Some are so eager to blast away they carry loaded guns with them everywhere they go. In the U.S.A. we call that freedom. We are free to reel off as many rounds as possible as quickly as possible into as many other bodies as possible. We like to say that kind of thing only happens when those other people getting shot didn't have the foresight to carry loaded guns and freely blast away at those shooting them. We even write laws to protect people who shoot other people when they think that other person might be getting the upper hand. What we don't want to think about and certainly don't want to talk about is a ceasefire.

If we started talking about a ceasefire in Chicago or New Orleans or Pine Bluff or Little Rock, we might have to talk about limiting access to guns and ammunition and the right to blast away when the mood strikes. That means we would have to talk about restricting freedom and nobody wants his or her freedom to have any restrictions. We also might have to talk about civic responsibility and sharing and right versus wrong and even, Lord forbid, something about the psychology of perception and, OMG, religion.

It's possible some education and a controversial historical reference or two could slither into the conversation. Maybe there would be a government secretary who understands these things and could spare a few minutes to broker a ceasefire. If someone as squirrelly as Vladimir Putin can stop a war in Ukraine with a wave of his hand as some very bright people seem to think he can, surely we can find a way to stop a war against ourselves.

David Stedman

Damascus

A cycle of violence

When Joshua invaded the land of Canaan, he murdered every man, woman and even the children in 31 cities, in the name of God.

It was through violence and terrorism that the Jewish people got control of the land of Canaan.

When the Egyptians conquered the Jewish state it was with violence and terrorism that the Jews lost their land and were scattered throughout the world.

In modern times, the English took control of Palestine, and it was through the use of violence and terrorism that the Jews regained control of Palestine, including Jerusalem.

One of the most inhuman acts was the blowing up of the King David Hotel by Jewish gangsters, which killed many innocent people and resulted in the English withdrawing from Palestine.

It was the United Nations and the American government who created the Jewish state of Israel, mostly due to the guilt the world's civilized nations felt over the horrible violence and terrorism perpetrated by the Nazi government against the innocent Jewish people in the Holocaust.

This resulted in the Palestinian people being removed from the land that they had occupied since ancient times.

Unfortunately, the Jewish people became what hurt them the most, the oppressed became the oppressor.

What has been happening to the Palestinian people since World War II is a war crime. The disproportionate reaction of the Israeli government is exactly like the methods employed by the Nazis during World War II. When Jewish resistance fighters tried to assassinate Nazi officials, the Nazis responded by slaughtering entire villages. Innocent men, women and children were slaughtered by the thousands. This is exactly what the Israeli government is doing today.

And what is the result of this violence and terrorism? It hardens the hearts of the oppressed, and creates a cycle of never-ending violence. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind, Gandhi said, and he was right. The civilized world has rightly judged the Nazis for the terrorism they perpetrated on innocent people during the Second World War.

One day the civilized world will wake up and condemn the Israeli government for doing the same thing. The hypocrisy is on a biblical scale, and it must stop now if Israel is to survive as a nation.

The Jewish religion teaches that they are God's chosen people. Islam teaches that its people are God's chosen people. The Nazi government taught the Germans that they were God's chosen people. In this belief system there is only room for one at the top, and that is not what God wants.

Jesus taught us that all human beings are the children of God, the same God, and how we treat each other is a sign of our respect for the Universal Father. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

The Master told the masses, if you do this unto the least of my Father's children, you do it on to me. Please, in the name of the Universal Father of all mankind, stop this insanity. Learn to love. We will live together as brothers or we will die as fools.

Butch Stone

Maumelle

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