Guide Killing For Peace

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For the international community, marshalling the reconstruction should be a top geopolitical and humanitarian priority. Groups like IS prey on social distress. The EU, backed by the UN, should take the lead on overseeing the return of refugees and implementing post-conflict reconstruction. But it also must repair its relationship with Turkey. The only way it can do both is to broker a rapprochement between Turkey and the PYD.

To that end, the US should honour its pledge to reclaim heavy weapons that it transferred to the Kurds, and press the PYD to restore local control to the communities it occupied during the campaign against ISIS. The US also needs to help keep Kurdish fighters away from the Turkish border, perhaps via a safe zone in northern Syria a proposal under discussion in Ankara and Washington.

With its forces and proxies on the ground, not to mention its considerable leverage over the Syrian government, Iran can stir up trouble not only in Syria, but also in Iraq, Lebanon, and Israel. Beyond that, the group should also make the delivery of reconstruction assistance contingent upon Assad distancing himself from the Iranians. Trump is right to want out of Syria. But the US must first initiate a new diplomatic peacemaking effort. If Trump walks away prematurely, Syria will be left chronically unstable, and thus vulnerable to a revival of radicalism.

The conditions would be ripe for a renewed conflict that drags the US back into the region at an even higher cost. The choice is an easy one. The new functions included managing property that requires public forces, as well as the goods and services for those spaces. The ETCR camps, which are supposed to offer peace and security, are now in legal limbo amid a crumbling peace process. Ex-combatants living within them have reason to doubt that the camps can guarantee their safety.

While the government did issue a new decree for ETCRs in August, it did not provide many concrete answers. While the government has floated the idea that the camps would be converted into permanent settlements, this will not always be possible. And the government decree did not clarify whether the ARN would be in charge of finding new homes for the camps. Sparked by this act of terror, full-scale civil war erupted in El Salvador. This was exactly what the archbishop had risked everything to avoid.

The fighting had shut down the national university, and young people no longer had the opportunity to pursue their education. El Salvador is a country slightly larger than Japan's Shikoku Island. Since the days of Spanish colonial rule, an elite minority had dominated the politics and economy of the country. Anyone who tried to change this corrupt and irrational system was labeled a communist and ruthlessly suppressed.

As many as 30, people were killed when the government put down an uprising in a figure equal to two percent of the population at the time. The same percentage of Japan's present population would amount to 2.

And for the next half century, military governments remained in power. Under martial law, the police could arrest citizens without a warrant. People were killed simply for looking suspicious. Elections were farces; public rallies were banned and newspapers censored, although few citizens were able to read them in the first place. The authorities sought to suppress the people's capacity for critical thought. Keep the masses ignorant and deny them access to the truth, demanded those in power.

They only need to heed our commands! Beyond that, there's nothing they need to know! Oppression led to despair, which in turn intensified the attacks of the insurgents.


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The guerrillas bought weapons with ransom money gained by abducting the rich and powerful. They destroyed telegraph and telephone lines, and crippled the transportation network. Buses were bombed as a way to punish their owners, but it was a dangerous tactic that put people who rode the vehicles at risk. Even if warnings were issued in advance and passengers given a chance to flee, this might minimize but not eliminate casualties. Eventually, even those who sympathized with the rebels began to speak out against this strategy.

There was no need, they said, to add to the suffering of the poor.

The collecting of a war tax from people, known as a "revolution tax," was unpopular as well. Archbishop Romero detested violence.

Killing For Peace | The Story

To him, violence, for whatever reason, was wrong, a sin. He saw a difference between officially sanctioned murder at the hands of the military and police and the acts of those fighting against that brutality, in the same way that the invading Nazis could not be equated with the Resistance fighters who opposed them. Nevertheless, violence could not be condoned. Killing is wrong and life irreplaceable. Where, then, was a solution to be found? The one thing clear to all was that, if the goal was to subdue the rebels, violent repression was the worst possible way to achieve it.

So long as the root causes--the immense gulf between rich and poor and a political system that denied citizens their human rights--remained unchanged, it did not matter how many guerrillas were killed.

Ordinary Afghans felt excluded from the talks and feared an empowered Taliban.

New recruits would rise up, one after another, from the ranks of peasants and the streets of slum districts. In one incident, El Salvadoran soldiers on a "guerrilla hunt" wiped out an entire village because the villagers were suspected of harboring rebels--a crime the army asserted was just as grave as active insurgency. The blood of any boy would boil with hatred toward the soldiers he saw burn down his home, kill his father or rape his mother. Another guerrilla fighter would be born.

How could a mother whose daughter had been burned to death ever be expected to understand that this and other barbarous acts were necessary to protect El Salvador from communist guerrillas, to preserve freedom and order? The more repressive the authorities became, the more evident it became that they had no intention of changing their ways.

Confronted with such arrogance, even the politically moderate members of society who had previously despised the rebels began to change their minds. The civil war swept through the land, and the fighting became part of daily life. The sound of gunfire was constant. After dark, bombs would explode in scattered parts of the city. No one dared to be out on the streets at night. While the rich could afford to take refuge in Miami, the poor could not. The number of refugee camps grew as more people fled the fighting.

These camps gave shelter to children who had lost arms and legs, their sight or hearing. Amid the most miserable conditions, the children died, the youngest first.

Killing for Peace by Garry Farrington | Books in Review

Adults in the camps were likely to have found someone to blame, someone to curse, as death overtook them. Children, on the other hand, trusted adults to the very end, thanking their mothers as they died without complaint. I am not being sentimental or melodramatic.