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My understanding of “An eye for an eye” was to put a limit on retribution as a form of punishment. If one person pokes out the eye of another you are not justified in loping off your opponents head. If a person steals, you do not cut off their hand. However, this is guidance given at a time when the ability to massacre was more limited and and “justice” may have been a more simple and localized process.

What we face now has already gone far beyond that and what we must deal with is how do we contain this before even more slaughter and mayhem occur? The Middle East is a powder keg in the process of exploding worldwide and combined with The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the aspirations of Iran, China and North Korea can lead to widespread war.

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"Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal. There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels." - Siddhartha Gautama, The Dhammapada.

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founding

🙏

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Thank you. Until a person realizes his mortality he will act the fool and pursue hatred.

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Nov 1, 2023Liked by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Thank you Ruth for this broad discussion of the seemingly unbreakable vicious cycles of violence. As we emerged from the pandemic, many of my patients in their 20s were asking the same social anxiety question. Now all my patients are worrying this question. “Are human beings basically kind and benevolent, or cruel and truculent?” I think psychological research and insight shows we are composed of our influences, and under the right/wrong conditions, we have a wide capacity to go in either direction. We all, as humans, have to deal with the intrapsychic and interpersonal pressures of love and hate, fear and insecurity, etc. The fundamental human question is playing out in the hell-house mirror that is the Israel-Gaza border, with reflections around the world. Ultimately it’s not an eye for an eye, but cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. These are literally cousins. How do we deal with intrapsychic and interpersonal pressures, that can spill out into hate and violence? These are parties that have been gripped by all or nothing, win lose ideologies. This is something the human brain can do. It is build for survival, not happiness. Velcro for negative info and Teflon for the positive. It takes cultivation to allow nuance and complexity, and deeper humanity. We all have to deal with the narratives we have inherited from history, and the influences on us. We have to create a transitional space between and within us for transforming the historical transmissions of trauma into healing. But we must also name the forces of abusive power before we can vow not to transmit them.

MOSF 18.9: On Creating Transitional Spaces to Heal Intergenerational Trauma (EAAPAAO Part 5) https://eastwindezine.com/mosf-18-9-on-creating-transitional-spaces-for-intergenerational-trauma/

MOSF 18.11: Abusive Power and Megalomania Perpetuate Racial, Cultural, Transhistorical, & Intergenerational Trauma (Part 2) https://eastwindezine.com/mosf-18-11-abusive-power-and-megalomania-perpetuate-racial-cultural-transhistorical-intergenerational-trauma-part-2/

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I should say that the best folks I’ve heard about dealing with this human question were Jews in Nazi death camps who prayed, thanking God he didn’t make them like their oppressors - and Tibetan monks and nuns, who when asked what they most feared while being tortured answered “losing compassion for my torturer.” These folks had a sense of self, while the others were trying to “gain the world” at the cost of their sense of self and “soul”.

Cultivating Sense of Self to Cope With Trauma and Life | Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-pacific-heart/202310/cultivating-sense-of-self-to-cope-with-trauma-and-life

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This is core sharing. Thank you! We need to educate ourselves deeply and broadly to help others back to the good road. No one can do it but us.

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Thank you for your posting all these informative links. I’ve been so concerned about so many people in Israel with post traumatic losses. Trauma affects many generations, and my sense is that this war is a reenactment of PTSD. I look for ways to calm my clients, myself, my friends, those in need. I have made use of the Psychology today article previously, and shall study the links that you have sent .

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So valuable, thanks for posting. I am going to check the links. We need to each be working to cultivate nuance in communities around us? Keyword that stands out in your post: Gripped.

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Will the majority ever understand, work, and be content with PEACE.

It does require compromise.

It does root out the terrorists, their money making profit of selling ammunition, guns, tanks, bombs, ad infinitum.....

It does require a continuum of vigilance and stopping or isolating a disruptive head arising...is mankind capable?

Me thinks NOT.

So sad.

<<<<<<big sigh>>>>>>>>>

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Yesterday was Halloween. As the neighborhood kids happily collected their chocolate bars I reflected -- humanity must be capable of doing better. How can I not believe that when I see these hopeful, happy children? I know we can do better. I’ve seen it. Don’t give up on humans yet Patricia.

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Don't give up. We need your balance. Love can win.

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Patricia: Well said, “… money making profit of selling ammunition, guns, tanks, bombs, . . . “

Peace is not profitable for the oligarchs who are merchants of death: the military industrial complex, the NRA and others. But we the people are complicit for having abdicated responsibility and not paying attention.

It’s no longer polite to discuss politics amongst family members, friends and neighbors. We’ve been socialized to self-censor.

Why? It’s convenient for the ruling class. Since when? Since we broke our connection with the Earth and agriculture developed as a way of life. It created rather than healed the original generational trauma. wWhen untreated &/or denied the trauma worsens. Now we face multiple existential threats, even a death spiral (Bandy X. Lee.) For more on the original trauma, Chellis Glendinning’s “My Name is Chellis & I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization.”

Due to generational trauma and hubris we’ve become addicts; all addictions are fatal, according to the late Anne Wilson Schaef, (“When Society Becomes An Addict.”) We’ve been programmed to be servile consumers, unwittingly, to contribute profit for the few at the expense of everybody; instead of focusing on healing ourselves and protecting the Earth (once recognized as our Mother) and each other. As humans we have morphed into parasitic hyper consumers, devouring each other and the Earth; slowly but relentlessly killing ourselves as well as our planetary host .

Peace offers little profit for oligarchs, nor do we feel (as addicts/consumers) satiated not consuming. That was not the case before the original trauma, as has been observed in traditional Indigenous cultures, untouched by our illness, or pathology. This drove the renowned landscape architect, author, lecturer and professor Ian McHarg to his lecture entitled, “Man, Planetary Disease.”

We have become carriers of the original trauma, which has metastasized into a pandemic due to denial, greed and hubris. We might call the underlying pathology, trauma, the roots of fascism.

While the existential threats may seem hopeless we must act as if there’s hope. Oligarchs that profit from fascism thrive when we’re hopeless, in despair, depressed and addicted to what they sell. This is why they oppose a ceasefire in the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian massacres and promote endless wars; they create and spread enduring traumas which feed the generational trauma pandemic.

Hence, we must call loudly for a ceasefire and hold those responsible for war crimes, including the crimes of genocide and apartheid, accountable. Accountability contributes to hope; it’s an antidote for hopelessness and fascism. Hope empowers.

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Interesting read. I will research these writers. Dare WE think example and teachers can help enlighten ? Original Trauma..I’d like this explained more. Me thinks somewhat akin of original sin of which I don’t acknowledge, I understand premise and preference, not (and?) indoctrination. There’s centuries of brainwashing, and plenty of example what does/doesn’t work, regardless whose ‘telling the story’ FACTS are real. Feelings however can change properly nurtured. Aye, there’s the rub , mate.🥰

Thanks for your input. Peace be with you🫶

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Patricia, thanks for the feedback. Just to clarify, sin and generational trauma are unrelated. Generational traumas are psychological wounds so devastating that they persist through our lifetime and are passed on from one generation to another. Often, those with the condition are unaware of it due to agnosognosia, an inability to recognize one’s illness. Addiction is a good example. Addicts suffer from a physical and psychological condition, not from sinning, or original sin. Sadly, religion seems to obfuscate rather than enlighten. Ideologues are often unhelpful, as well.

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Original Trauma is generational trauma then?

OK .

I like the analogy of addiction too, closer and closer they crept on silent feet( feat?)

So I offer: one raised in a family of people indoctrinated for years hating ‘the other side ‘ while they may ( may not discussed later) have been hard working love their children parents they teach by their talk hatred of that other side...so it becomes a familiar mind set and usually passed on generation to generation. Whereas a drunk or drug addicted person by their own talk and actions teaches their trauma, schizoaffective personality and these children have ‘familiar ‘ too, gravitate , emulate, associate with like people ....addiction or learned behavior or both.

And the beat goes on.

Thats a real convenient bunch of people to manipulate, coerce, incorporate by promise or incitement and if one is powerful enough dictate or kill if lacking loyalty. Either a Putin or a Mafia Drug Lord and his chattel same same...Everyone here knows the famous picture of two babies 1-2 y.o. One black -one white -arm in arm-playing happily together. Tabla rasa I think Freudian term ( it’s been awhile). Suffer not the little children...but it’s done.

BUT...the world is 10x better poverty wise (so we are progressing) and with these sectors- hot spots sectors ...sectors of extreme religious fervor..and BTW rising right here in River City ya know...

The ties that bind us... in a sometimes very nasty game of life.

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Since the majority of Israelis want Netanyahu and his ultra-right wing government government gone when the Gaza war ends, do we safely assume that Netanyahu will prolong the war as long as possible or until Biden backs away because he finally wakes up to the damage his support for Bibi is doing to US status in the world as well as his own re-election prospects at home?

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That's exactly what he'll do.

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Biden has to stay close in the game, so Putin doesn't.

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Nov 1, 2023·edited Nov 1, 2023

Great insights as usual

These goons need each other to justify their power and cruelty. It is disgusting.

Those cheering slaughter of innocents on either side should perhaps take a step back and examine where they went wrong.

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Ruth, outstanding article. Someone with an alternative view of the carnage that is happening. Not wishing to digress to much, I am reading your book "Strongmen I encourage all of your subscribers to read this amazing book. I gives insights to the world and why we are here today. After a brief search on how many children have been killed by the US in wars since the WWII. Now I understand the US’s apathy about children being slaughtered in Gaza. If the media reported on the deaths of children in every war, perhaps wars could have been prevented. When you kill off children you kill off the future.

Afghanistan children killed 8,820.

Iraq war children killed 13,807.

Vietnam children killed 84,000.

Another reason why women should be running the world.

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Wow! Thank you Ruth for this most needed article. It’s so simple to understand that an eye for an eye only results in an endless cycle of violence , seemingly intelligent people still endorse this practice . We desperately need a non violent movement to push forward a 2 state solution, seems so obvious …..I pray for the those in Israel and Palestine who want peace .

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Merci Michel

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A preemptive reminder to keep our Lucid comments a space for civil discussion. Anyone who cannot do that, or bullies others for holding a different view than their own, will be banned from commenting. Thank you to everyone.

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And the question is: How to achieve the necessary peace? Who/where are the experts and scholars with insight into how to defuse even our own MAGA Christian Nationalist/authoritarian problem, where they are using the mechanisms of democracy to enact an autocracy?

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MAGA is our domestic terroristic & autocratic enemy! Wake up America!

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Nov 1, 2023·edited Nov 1, 2023

Cycles of violence bring to my mind the ancient Greek tragedy, The Oresteia. The transition from natural justice to civilized justice is mythologized in Aeschylus’s masterpiece. The mythical Furies, part of an older set of Gods, torment the victims/families and especially perpetrators of violent retribution. This leads to suffering and

insanity, perpetuating the violence cycle.

It is not until a new 3rd party intervenes that the cycle is broken. Rather than tormenting victims and perpetrators, the newer Olympian gods would insist on a trial by jury. This would satisfy all parties enough to end the violent cycle. Application of fair, civilized justice upheld by powerful parties (or institutions) is what can end these violent cycles

We humans, at least sometimes during the past several thousand years have been able to conjure some decent systems of justice fir domestic matters. But we cannot seem to work out institutional justice among nations. I believe it would require the nations upholding the world order, the US, China, Russia etc, to submit to rule of law among leadership. As great as it sounds, it doesn’t seem to be likely any time soon.

But in the meantime, I would appreciate if Biden switched gears from full throated support for Israel in the face of a terror attack, to a mediator role, back to pushing a 2 state solution.

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I understand , Ed P., that is Blinken & company’s goal.or so they say ....Netanyahu used the moment for intended purpose.

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Ed, your comment made me think of the UN and ICC as examples of an international system of law and order. Your comment took me back to a debate I had with an aspiring lawyer. The argument was: is a law effective without enforcement? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

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Nov 1, 2023·edited Nov 1, 2023

Its a great question.

My sense is that no, law is not effective without enforcement, or at least not very…and this is exactly the situation we have right now at the ICC and UN. This is a part of the reason the UN has repeatedly failed to end this conflict over decades. There is no enforcement mechanism. There are also autocratic nations without any semblance of accountability in leadership with veto power.

So in practice these are quite flawed. But they are also better than nothing and far better than not trying. Perhaps these institutions can be stepping stones on a path towards more functional international justice institutions. But I think the world will need to move more away from autocracy for international justice systems to have any chance at long term effectiveness

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My friend took the position that the spirit of the law itself is powerful enough, even in the absence of an enforcement mechanism. At the time (many years ago) I was skeptical of this. But now, not so much. Perhaps even codifying a set of principles that like-minded nations hold in esteem is powerful stepping stone to inspiring citizen advocacy within each sovereign state.

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Has anyone done a study melding the Middle East wars and the low price of oil? It seems to be connected, but I'm not 100% certain. I believe the biggest threat to peace is when the price of oil is low and democracies around the world have the momentum vs the Authoritarian oil producing regimes. Is it safe to say, "Iran wants to sell its oil and gas, when it can not, it encourages attacks on Israel as leverage to reopen markets to sell more oil and at a higher price." The same could be said about Russia and Saudi Arabia? These hydrocarbon resource exporting countries are all funding or investing in the conservative political parties throughout the West. This almost destroyed Ukraine ( and still could), and has destroyed Yemen. The oil exporting oligarchies have aligned with Western Refineries and subsidiaries ( which equals high paying jobs in refinery states and districts). It used to be that only the oil industry funded the R's party. But now, direct investment ( 2 billion to Jared Kushner to "manage" and 1 billion to Steve Munchkin to "manage", and dark money pac....less to no transparency) entering Western political party coffers. And remember how Oleg Derikposka invested in a shuttered Aluminum smelter in Mitch's Kentucky a few years before Russian invaded Ukraine?

When a democrat or moderate R is in power, accepting and working on climate change and equality at home and abroad, that always seems to coincide with an uptick in violence in the Middle East, especially in Israel.

In this way, the Palestinian hard liners like Hamas and Hezbollah are manipulated into using violence in Israel, so that Iran can use their influence and power of resources to influence Palestinians ( weapons and Cash) as leverage to open more Western markets to buying their oil? Russia, a competitor can encourage more violence to keep Iran out of the market. This seems to me to be a logical threat to peace and to democracy. Oil is a very messy industry.

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Nov 1, 2023·edited Nov 1, 2023

Great comment

Hamas and Iran convened in Moscow last week for a reason.

It seems to me Russia will likely attempt to use this conflict to both take focus away from its terrorism in Ukraine and to divide the Western alliance. Turkey and Saudi Arabia seem to be nations that could be peeled away. Scary stuff

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Hydrocarbon oligarchs of the world unite! Erghhh

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MIT economist opined in the Washington Post about “taxing “ Iranian oil like what nations have done to Russia when they most recently invaded Ukraine. Put economic sanctions on Iran, without damaging the global economy may help. War uses oil and gas that in the long run destroys local and global environments.

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I'm thinking of a passage from Tim Snyder's book The Road to Unfreedom and On Tyranny. Mostly about Russia and the politics of eternity. I think it must also apply to the Middle East Monarchies. The Arab Monarchies benefit in more than one way by funding and encouraging Palestinian violence. When Israel retaliates, its says to the Arab Monarchy populations, "See how normal it is to retaliate against threats to power? This normalize the violence. It helps the Arab kings, as they can say how good and peaceful it is when the people fall in line and don't resist their oppressors. If you do, there will be violence against any and all perpetrators. The Arab Kings have brought Israel down to their authoritarian level. There is little hope of a better tomorrow in the Arab countries.

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Ruth, thank you! Brilliant and more importantly, an objective/fair analysis.

Let’s give peace a chance. Support the call (demand) for an immediate ceasefire.

SILENCE IS COMPLICITY. This is not a ‘war,’

an Orwellian euphemism; it’s serial massacres, carnage, state sponsored terrorism, out of proportion with the Hamas original despicable 10/7 attacks.

Casualties, (another euphemism: for deaths:)

Palestinians killed by Israel:

8500+, in Gaza, as of 10/31/23

Palestinians killed by Israel, in the West Bank:

120+

Israelis killed by Hamas:

1400

Hamas hostages:

200+

WRITE to Pres. Biden, at WH.gov.

CALL/WRITE your congresspersons,

(202)224-3121

NOW.

Support the call for a ceasefire and oppose any non humanitarian (military) aid.

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As it was with America and bin Laden after 9/11, so it needs to be for Israel after 10/7. The level of barbarism, given accurate reporting, leaves no question that the individuals responsible be brought to justice. But that justice must be delivered fairly, and Netanyahu is compromised. He needs to step down soon, or somehow transition to a new leader. Israelis, and the world, needs someone whose decisions are being made in the national, and not personal, interest.

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In the old days when countries were at war we had such thing as diplomacy.

When Al Qaida were slitting throats of Americans it produced that chilling fear in every one of us. However, there was no other country to talk to, only terrorists.

Same here, this is perfect if one wants the war to continue as Israel is not going to have diplomatic talks with a terrorist organization.

And why does everyone have an opinion?

It is very difficult to understand as the this conflict goes back before Jesus Christ.

Take something as silly as Meaghan and Harry.

Why do people take sides? Isn’t a marriage difficult enough these days on its own? Can’t we wish that young family the best?

But this is what they want; to create sides and therefore divisiveness.

We are falling into the war mongers hands by choosing sides.

Why is it politically incorrect to say firmly that Hamas is a terrorist organization and what they did was beyond evil and still want peace and the best for the Palestinians?

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Well said.

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Nov 1, 2023Liked by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

Whoh! Great analysis Professor! What a great summation of so many of the thoughts I've been having on all of this chaos =]

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