The Downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17


In 2014, the growing list of suffering by violent conflict management includes (but is not limited to): more than 10,000 murders and kidnappings in Nigeria, civil war in Syria, escalated terrorism in Iraq, an asymmetrical bombardment in Gaza, and now somebody, some faction, some government shot down a Malaysia Airlines jet and killed 295 human beings.  The cause of the tragedy – a missile – confirmed by a U.S. official, will guide at least one week of media coverage. We’ll bicker and brood about who done it, how and why until the next tragedy and the next and the next. All the while, we’ll ignore the underlying assumption: that violence is natural, inevitable and an acceptable method for problem solving – so long as it’s done by our guys with our weapons on their guys and their ground.

I don’t care who did it.  I care that the victims and their families find justice – at least knowing the absolute truth and receiving reparations and support. But, I don’t care who’s to blame, what weapons they used, which countries/leaders are allies/enemies, who hates Malaysians, Americans, Russians, Ukrainians or any of the typical issues fueling analyses from political science talking heads on mainstream media. There’s only one most important problem anyone should care to address: All violence, from state to non-state to domestic varieties, all weapons, from small arms to nuclear bombs, and all industries profiting from human violence, from manufacturers at every level to dealers of every “legal” degree, have only ever caused more violence, war, destruction and suffering all over the world.  This global pro-violence worldview will shoot us all down from the sky unless we – as international citizens of rational mind – reject the outdated, illogical idea that violence is an acceptable, or possible, means for achieving peace.

Let’s finally start listening to and joining with the voices of positive peace – defined by my mentor and dear friend Tom Hastings, author and professor of conflict resolution, as: “peace and justice by peaceable means.” World Beyond War, a nonviolent international movement to abolish war and build a truly sustainable global peace, has a plan in which we can all participatePhysicians for Social Responsibility have been working for more than 50 years on campaigns to ban nuclear weapons, reverse or mitigate climate change (a current cause of violent conflict in some areas – especially when violence is the preferred method of conflict management choice) and eliminate toxic waste that violently threatens our very existence on Earth. Online university, media service, research institute and peace development network Transcend International, founded by Prof. Dr. Johan Galtung, father of Peace and Conflict studies, aims to educate the global public on current peace and conflict research and peacebuilding practices, including peace journalism, that will create a positive-peace world. There is also the United States Institute for Peace (can you believe it?!), established by Congress to “increase the nation’s capacity” to use nonviolent conflict management methods. USIP had its funding completely eliminated and reinstated between February and April 2011 – a flagrant message to our peacebuilders that pro-violence politicians can and will cut you – if we let them.

These are just four examples of organizations and people who have been tirelessly working for peace and nonviolence against the raging current of a pro-violence worldview. Let’s give these four, and the many, many others out there, some jet skis already before the fan simply breaks and we’re all just covered in the feces of this big white elephant we’ve raised.

We’ll always have conflict – it’s absolutely natural and inevitable. It’s our beliefs about how we should properly manage, resolve and transform that conflict that determine whether or not hundreds of innocent people are murdered at 32,000 feet, are kidnapped from their homes and schools, or hear a “knock on the roof.”  I’ll let Oxfam America sum it up: “…it is not conflict but conflict management that should be of utmost concern; that is, the ways in which environmental and political stressors interact in the presence of ameliorative or exacerbating institutions are the keys to overcoming violence.”  We’ve got the knowledge, we’ve got the tools, we’ve got the capacity, we’ve got the motivation and we’ve got each other – so let’s get to it.

Erin Niemela (erin.peacevoice@gmail.com) is a Master’s Candidate in the Conflict Resolution program at Portland State University, PeaceVoice editor and PeaceVoiceTV channel manager.

Erin Niemela is a Master’s Candidate in the Conflict Resolution program at Portland State University and Editor for PeaceVoice.

November 30, 2015
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Embrace of Totalitarianism is America’s Dirty Little Secret
Omur Sahin Keyif
An Assassination in Turkey: the Killing of Tahir Elci
Uri Avnery
There is No Such Thing as International Terrorism
Robert Fisk
70,000 Kalashnikovs: Cameron’s “Moderate” Rebels
Jamie Davidson
Distortion, Revisionism & the Liberal Media
Patrick Cockburn
Nasty Surprises: the Problem With Bombing ISIS
Robert Hunziker
The Looming Transnational Battlefield
Ahmed Gaya
Breaking the Climate Mold: Fighting for the Planet and Justice
Matt Peppe
Alan Gross’s Improbable Tales on 60 Minutes
Norman Pollack
Israel and ISIS: Needed, a Thorough Accounting
Colin Todhunter
India – Procession of the Dead: Shopping Malls and Shit
Roger Annis
Canada’s New Climate-Denying National Government
Binoy Kampmark
Straining the Republic: France’s State of Emergency
Bill Blunden
Glenn Greenwald Stands by the Official Narrative
Jack Rasmus
Japan’s 5th Recession in 7 Years
Karen Lee Wald
Inside the Colombia Peace Deal
Geoff Dutton
War in Our Time
Charles R. Larson
Twofers for Carly Fiorina
John Dear
An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind
Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Andrew Levine
The Real Trouble With Bernie
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
John Whitbeck
Who’s Afraid of ISIS?
Michael Brenner
Europe’s Crisis: Terror, Refugees and Impotence
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Vijay Prashad
Showdown on the Syrian Border
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Jean Bricmont
The Ideology of Humanitarian Imperialism
Mark Hand
Escape From New York: the Emancipation of Activist Cecily McMillan
Dan Glazebrook
Deadliest Terror in the World: the West’s Latest Gift to Africa
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Mats Svensson
Madness in Hebron: Hashem Had No Enemies, Yet Hashem Was Hated
Walter Brasch
Terrorism on American Soil
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Bears, Dreaming and the Frontier of Wonder
Michael Welton
Yahweh is Not Exactly Politically Correct
Joseph Natoli
A Politics of Stupid and How to Leave It Behind
John Cox
You Should Fear Racism and Xenophobia, Not Syrian Refugees or Muslims
Barrie Gilbert
Sacrificing the Grizzlies of Katmai Park: the Plan to Turn Brooks Camp Into a Theme
Rev. William Alberts
The Church of “Something Else” in “an Ecclesiastical Desert”
Andrew Gavin Marshall
Bank Crimes Pay
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Thomas S. Harrington
Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe and the Death of Ezra Schwartz
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability