FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Aylan’s Shoes

by

Peace on Earth and goodwill to all — in a world of conflict, tis the season of peace.

I write about the peaceful angels of our nature every holiday season. I hope to replace “conflict” with “love” soon. Another year over, and it was full of war. But we cannot expect the end of war without first realizing what war is.

Those of us in western nation states, especially those of us my age (born in 1984), have grown up with a steady climate of peace. Violence exists in our society, sure, but recognition of the destructive nature of war is largely missing. Even the attacks of September the 11th, or the Paris attacks of this year, as horrific and terrifying as they were, pale in comparison to the leveling of entire cities — a common element of war.

In Losing the War, Chicago author Lee Sandlin paints a vivid picture of the destructive chaos that is war. Sandlin writes poignantly about the nature of World War II and describes how devastating war can be. Soldiers and civilians alike, slaughtered. Children unable to even begin realizing their potential. War fever and a flood of patriotism, the pounding of the drums of war escalating the violence — on all sides. Endless amounts of culture lost, history buried in ruin, jingoism, fear, and an endless destruction of property. War is much more than political struggle, it is the death of humanity.

War is made possible by systems of power and domination. This is true of the violent war-making regimes of yesterday, and it is still true today. It is important to remember that the most violent among us are caged by an inhumane ideology. Those with a thirst for war are themselves dominated by and stuck within systems of power — be they the politicians, their supportive subjects or violent terror cells. Warmongers wish to dominate, as opposed to participate in, humanity. They are captives in need of liberation.

These systems of power thrive on the obedience of their subjects. Once these institutions are challenged, once the environment that grants them power is changed, their authority is called into question. They become feckless when challenged by humanity.

I am a big believer in humanity. It is important to remember that all races and all creeds labor together, peacefully, globally, everyday. The creative, inclined labor of human beings builds markets, mutual aid, relief, commons regimes, charity and generally decent societies. Human labor crafts peace.

Peace is liberty. When peace is realized every human being will be free to pursue their own interests and develop their capacities into individual and social account. We all deserve such liberty, especially the most vulnerable among us — children.

The current global conflict is responsible for the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. The war-torn Middle East is experiencing human destruction on a heart-breaking scale. One image of this war in particular has struck the hearts of many — the lifeless body of a Syrian child. The child and his family were fleeing Syria, a country torn apart by western interventionism, a brutal dictator and a vicious terror regime vying for power. The family was in the final trek of their journey, crossing the sea, seeking refuge in Europe, when their 15 foot boat capsized. The boy washed ashore on a Turkish beach. His name was Aylan Kurdi. He was just three years old. Aylan’s five-year-old brother, Galip, and his mother, Rehan, also drowned. His father, Abdullah, is the only surviving family member.

I am broken by the photograph of Aylan’s lifeless body. I am a father with a toddler of my own. So much about being a dad fills my heart with joy. One of the simplest activities that makes me so happy is putting on my son’s shoes. I sit on the floor and ask the boy if he would like to put on his shoes. He (usually) nods and with a confident “yeah” he picks up his shoes and sits on my lap. Once there, he raises his little foot in the air and looks at me — time to go do something fun. My heart bursts. The first thing I notice in the photograph of Aylan is his shoes. They will carry him no more. There are no more experiences left for the child to explore — he’s been robbed of his pursuit of happiness.

This is the reality of war.

Cherish life, the most precious gift. Never doubt that we can and will build a real and lasting peace. Human liberty will make life on Earth worth living. There will be a peace for every child of humanity.

More articles by:

Grant A. Mincy is a senior fellow at the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS.org) where he holds the Elinor Ostrom Chair in Environmental Studies and Commons Governance. He also blogs at appalachianson.wordpress.com. In addition, Mincy is an associate editor of the Molinari Review and an Energy & Environment Advisory Council Member for the Our America Initiative. He earned his Masters degree in Earth and Planetary Science from the University of Tennessee in the summer of 2012. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee where he teaches both Biology and Geology at area colleges.

February 22, 2018
Jeffrey Sommers
Bond Villain in the World Economy: Latvia’s Offshore Banking Sector
Mark Schuller
Haiti’s Latest Indignity at the Hands of Dogooders, Oxfam’s Sex Scandal
T.J. Coles
How the US Bullies North Korea, 1945-Present
Ipek S. Burnett
Rethinking Freedom in the Era of Mass Shootings
Manuel E. Yepe
Fire and Fury: More Than a Publishing Hit
Patrick Bobilin
Caught in a Trap: Being a Latino Democrat is Being in an Abusive Relationship
Laurel Krause
From Kent State to Parkland High: Will America Ever Learn?
Terry Simons
Congress and the AR-15: One NRA Stooge Too Many
George Wuerthner
Border Wall Delusions
Manuel García, Jr.
The Anthropocene’s Birthday, or the Birth-Year of Human-Accelerated Climate Change
Thomas Knapp
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Russiagate
February 21, 2018
Cecil Bothwell
Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail