The Summer of Our Discontent

The Summer of Our Discontent

By Siegrid Raible

New York celebrated America’s 240th birthday on July 4, 2016 in spectacular fashion. New Yorkers of all stripes gathered together at the end of the day and were awed by Macy’s free fireworks display over the East River. The very next day and almost every day thereafter in the month of July the breaking news banners crawling across our screens were not celebratory but alarming – rising violence and political unrest in Europe and increased gun violence in America. A new pandemic of violence seems to be sweeping over a planet already awash in violence.

Besides the endless wars in the Middle East and the all but forgotten smoldering conflict in Ukraine, many nations in Africa are plagued by corruption, violence and political unrest. There are an unprecedented sixty million refugees fleeing conflict and economic privation. Europe, the destination of many refugees, is experiencing a rise in terrorist attacks. Against this backdrop in mid-July we learned of a coup attempt and purge in Turkey. In the states we were assaulted with near daily reports of gun violence. The growing list of lives lost due to these tragedies is frightening and numbing; our faith in ourselves, one another, and our leaders is being sorely tested. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

We must remember that in these uncertain and deeply troubled times we are not powerless performers. The violence we see in the world today is a symptom of disease. The causes are often deep, complex and unique to place but they are not without a cure. To answer violence with more violence only leads to an unending cycle of death and destruction. Instead all the aggrieved and interested parties must be persuaded to sit down and through the difficult, time-consuming and on-going dialogue process explore those steps which lead to the relaxation of tensions and the arrival at a resolution agreeable to all parties.

So as global citizens we must press or elect those leaders who will engage in the peaceful dialogue needed to resolve differences within and among nations. Locally we must press or elect those leaders who will engage our community members and our police officers in the often frustrating peacebuilding process. And finally, our shared journey on this planet requires us to ask ourselves one simple question: what can I do to put an end to violence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *