The United States truly is at a crossroads. We’ve gone on for years using methods that don’t work well, both externally, as in our foreign policy, and internally with our political interaction. We’re a nation addicted to violence. It’s our sugar pill and we keep trying it as if somehow this time, it’s going to work.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met in the Oval Office Friday with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakastani girl who was shot in the head on her school bus by Taliban gunmen for criticizing their rule, including banning education for girls.
She had this to say to our President, I doubt he was listening.
“I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.“
– Malala Yousafzi
You know it amazes me after all these years of using money or bombs & bullets to try to influence people to see things from the American point of view, that collectively we haven’t learned from our mistakes. Let’s just suppose for a minute that your neighborhood was bombed or strafed or troops marched through it kicking in doors and then passing out leaflets saying, “we’re here to help you”. Yeah right, people are going to believe it.
We celebrate the power of his spirit, Martin Luther King Jr. led a generation of people in non-violence to overturn centuries of discriminatory behavior. Others came before him and were not quite so successful. It certainly was a combination of factors but he didn’t use this idea; how about we smack a bunch of white people around until they listen to us? That’s our foreign policy! What if we chose to adhere to his message of peaceful negotiation and interaction? We have all kinds of people telling us that’s naïve, it won’t work. Really?? Tell that to Jesus Christ, Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. I think their story is more compelling.
Yesterday I posted a brief examination of a segment of the Viet Nam war. A lot of lives were lost as well as money spent to try to bomb the locals back into the stone age. It didn’t work. What if we had sent educational materials written in Vietnamese, agricultural equipment and any advisers / educators to assist them to enter the modern world. What do you think our relationship would be like now? Do you think the people would have less freedom because of our kindness? (I know we’re trading with them now but that’s hardly a sign that we improved their situation.)
It’s time to learn from our mistakes and quit trying to persuade people to behave with a big club in our hand. We need to accept reality, people are never inclined to see your point of view as long as you hold a gun to their head. They may acquiesce but they won’t convert.
“When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail“ – Abraham Maslow
There have been more than one or two Malala’s who have been shot or killed by American war efforts in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lybia, Iraq, etc.
I agree with Malala, every girl has the right to education. Place that message in context with countries using this as an excuse to suggest we use routine bombings to save girls like Malala. Stop referring to innocent people as collateral damage and then maybe we’ll understand the message Malala Yousafzi brings to this country.
- Obama and First Lady meet with Malala Yousafzai (mcclatchydc.com)
- Malala calls Obama out on drones (salon.com)
- Letter From Birmingham Jail (MLK Response to criticism)