England had a war with France for over a century. It happened between 1337 and 1453AD, and today there is still animosity between the Frogs and the Roast Beefs (their names for each other).
If you ever wondered where “giving the finger” came from it was a French response to the effectiveness of the English Long Bow. The French vowed to cut of the fingers of the longbow men if captured. So the longbow men would wave their fingers in the air as a taunt to the French.
This “longbow salute” has over time been simplified to a single finger. But the French still resent it’s origin.
And while Winston Churchill used the salute as a “V for Victory”, you can be sure that he and those who saw his salute knew of this double meaning.
The Irish Catholics and the Irish Protestants, still fight regularly. Thankfully the bombing campaigns of the IRA have stopped, and at a political level there is discussion of their differences. But children still fight, and men still argue with more than words in pubs and at sporting events.
After the forming of an Independent post-colonial India and the subsequent forming of Pakistan and the murder of the world renowned peaceful leader of that amazing change, we still see aggression between the two sides of that argument who now both own the worlds most destructive weapons.
The simple fact is that when arguments turn violent and people are hurt and killed, then the friends and family of those lost will always put aside logic and reason and look for revenge.
If you want to create crazed people who are likely to join together as a mob, who put the idea of killing their enemies ahead of everything else, including the welfare of their loved ones, then it’s easy just kill their son, brother, mother, father, uncle, aunt, sister or wife.
Is there a way of stopping the madness? Well there has never been found a simple way, but a slow and careful set of actions that embrace religious and ethical influencers and the holders of power has been proven to work to some extent.
The Chinese still hate the Japanese because of the atrocities of world war II. Don’t believe me? then count the Japanese cars on the streets of Beijing, You won’t need many fingers.
If you want to know what it takes to move from fighting to talking, just look at the Irish conflict. It’s not over of course, but has made amazing progress. Have a look at http://www.infoplease.com/spot/northireland1.html
The only way to stop killing is to talk. Initially most of the talking happens through back channels. But eventually each side in a conflict must address why the other side holds the position then do, and some form of compromise must be considered before true open discussions can take place.
These discussions are taking place all around the world every single day.
But when a politician stands up and says there is a simple and absolute answer to any conflict, what they are really doing is pandering to one part of their electorate, and they don’t expect their words to lead to a resolution, just make it harder for their political opponents. That is a cowardly and destructive act, and should be derided by all peaceful people.
The issue is every single politician does it! And it makes me very Angry…..