Friday, February 11, 2005


Notes on violence, instinct, and moral constructs

In light of recent and ongoing attempts to find peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Azmi Bishara has a thoughtful essay on violence in al-Ahram. Among other things, Bishara writes:
It is meaningless to take an ideological stand against violence and for life because the juxtaposition is invalid: violence is a part of life. Taking an ideological stand against violence and for social peace, or peace between societies, is another matter and one that begs many questions over the conditions necessary to secure social or inter-societal peace. This cannot be reduced to the absence of violence, which is essentially synonymous with peace and not a condition for its being obtained. Equality, freedom and civil rights -- these are conditions, and it is over these that positions vary and, accordingly, over violence and the ends it is meant to serve.

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