Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Doukhobor solution for Middle East?

I was recently asked how the Doukhobor position of nonkilling could help solve the current Middle East situation of terrorism and war. The nonkilling paradigm has been developed extensively by Dr. Glenn D. Paige of the Center for Global Nonkilling.

The West typically uses military might to crush the Islamic State and take over the oil resources. The result in Iraq has been an illegal war and a complete quagmire just as in the earlier Vietnam War.

Summary data from the Information Clearing House about recent costs of wars with Iraq and Afghanistan (Middle East) to the West are alarming:
The situation in the Middle East is complex with many political, economic and religious players actively involved. The solution of creating a culture of peace is not immediate, but it is a step in the right direction.

Historically Spirit Wrestlers / Doukhobors have taken an absolutist stance against the institution of militarism and war. They have argued that there is a spirit of love/God/beauty in all of us. Therefore it is wrong to kill another human being. They proclaimed this nonkilling stance by doing a mass burning of guns in Tsarist Russia in June of 1895. The result was persecution and the migration of one-third of the most persecuted group to Canada in 1899.

Just think how much the Middle East would be better off if bombs and missiles were destroyed and the moneys redirected from military hardware to building houses, roads, public transit, free universal medicine and education, providing clean water, supporting scientific research, creating new parks and helping with the transition to a carbon-free energy supply? The Doukhobor solution promises a new era in human development.

The situation in Canada with a new Liberal Government and an economic downturn may be conducive to providing a peace dividend to the country. Hopefully the new government will not cave into the pressures of the military industrial complex, sensational media, and Conservative mindset.

In my opinion, Doukhobors (and probably most concerned Canadians) would support the intent of the following two writers who propose nonkilling solutions:

Jim Cooperman. Switch spending from military to helping citizens, Opt Ed, Ottawa Citizen, January 18, 2016: page C5.

Cooperman, an antiwar activist from the 1960s, is an environmentalist and author who presently lives on a rural property above Shuswap Lake, British Columbia. He concludes his article with:
Canadians can help by encouraging the new Liberal government to replace bombs with diplomacy, bullets with books, jets with better social programs and warships with programs to address the dangers of climate change.

Paul Maillet. Open Letter: 'A coherent Mid East strategy'. January 19, 2016.

As a retired Colonel in the Canadian Airforce, Paul Maillet is now a co-chair of the Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative. Also he heads the Paul Maillet Center for Ethics. In this Open Letter, Maillet supports the values of peace, nonviolence, compassion and respect, and shows how these values can be achieved by a new peace strategy encompassing all the possibilities of peace building, peacemaking, and peace keeping. He concludes with these words to Canadian politicians:
No matter how intractable, there is always something positive we can do. The over 500 million dollars we have spent on bombing, could have gone a very long way to saving countless lives with this approach. I believe that it is time we rebuild institutions for peace operations in Canada. I believe it is time to earn the two Nobel peace prizes we have for peacekeeping. We can become a leader in next generation evolution of peacekeeping and peacemaking and peace building operations and practices. We can regain our place in the world as a country for peace. This is only a question of courage and values.

YouTube video clip: I didn't raise My Boy to be a Soldier —the first anti-war hit record. 3.08" The  song in the video is 100 years old.


  1. I applaud your position and your thought process however in light of both the Sunni and Shia eschatology (coming of Messiah and how his coming is brought about), it seems you are not taking into account their deeply held convictions. I'd love to hear your response. Thanks. debbie

    1. Violence gives rise to violence, as Tolstoy, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr have stated over the decades. So let us try a different way, even if the world views are radically different amongst the population. Here is where we need to actively listen and use our tools of understanding and compassion to the utmost.

  2. Thank you again Koozma. It is always refreshing to hear your very clear-eyed analysis and recommendations. I had never heard that song - thank you. Difficult to watch, but the words were repeated almost exactly by a mother in Bosnia-Herzogovina when she convinced a group of men in her community to apply Education for Peace in community schools.