An open letter to members of ISIS, Al Qaida, the Taliban, and those wanting to join or to become local cells of violent action against the dominant world order.
It seems evident that the circumstances of one’s life, the web of relations one is born into or falls into, shapes one’s behaviour so that there can be no understanding of violent conflict by confining one’s analysis to ‘acts’ as if they derived fully and solely from those through whom relational social tensions channel and manifest. It also seems evident that if one is brought up with a strong belief in morally judging behaviours as ‘good’ and ‘evil’, that this will shape one’s responses to perceived abusive treatment by those ‘in power’.
That is, in the indigenous aboriginal cultures of North America (and elsewhere), it is common to believe that ‘we are all related’ within a common ‘web-of-life’ so that it is impossible to attribute the actions of an individual, fully and solely to that individual. Instead, such actions track back into the relational web so that what comes from the individual comes from the web and there is no ‘guilty offender’ and ‘innocent victim’ division and justice is ‘restorative’ rather than based on ‘moral judgement and retribution.
Since my personal orientation is to restorative justice with its ethic of restoring, cultivating and sustaining relational balance and harmony, this message is not to impose moral judgements on anyone. In my view there is no threshold of ‘odiousness’ at which point the perpetrator must be designated ‘evil’ since the perpetrator is not the jumpstart author, but is a channeller of relational social tensions so that the relational web is the author of both the perpetrator and the shaper of his behaviour.
Since my view is that ‘all is One’, I do not acknowledge the culturally imposed binary split between ‘guilty offender’ and ‘innocent victim’, and, instead, see violent and harmful acts as the community ‘doing it to itself’. It takes a whole community to raise a child-soldier, and restorative justice, which is beyond good-and-evil, aims to restore relational balance and harmony in the ‘All’ without starting from an assumption of causal responsibility. Binary reason and binary moral judgement are intellectual abstractions that do not deserve to be given precedence over our experience based intuition that we are ‘all-related’ [‘mitakuye oyasin’].
As an individual, my voice is buried beneath the dominating media and government voice which has been morally judging the members of; … ISIS, Al Qaida, those trying to join them, and others aspiring to join or become a local cell that launches violent attacks against the dominating world order and its supporters. Because I reject moral judgement, I am writing this letter to hopefully share with a few people, perhaps some who are contemplating violent action, an ‘alternative view’ that is unlike the moral judgement based views of the media and government in the region in which I live.
The behaviour of people within a relational social dynamic is situationally orchestrated and shaped. It is theo-logical abstraction to impute to people ‘independent being’, ‘free will’ and ‘mastery over one’s acts. People are the channels through whom relational social tensions are released as energies which have accumulated as potentials and which become kinetic as they are released, … sometimes as violent or disturbing behaviours. The provenance of terrorist attacks, criminal violence and mentally disordered behaviour is the relational social dynamic. It does not derive from the interior of a notional ‘independent being with free will who is master over his acts’.
Western civilization teaches ‘scapegoating’ so that people who become channels for relational tensions that manifest as violent and/or disturbing behaviour are accused of being the full and sole authors of such behaviour. This allegation can take hold on a collective like witchcraft and the ‘bewitching’ is facilitated by the subject-verb-predicate structures of noun-and-verb language. Western justice is only interested in the answer to the question; ‘did he do it?’. But our intuition informs us that it is our situation within the relational social dynamic that is the epigenetic influence that actualizes the genesis of behavioural potentials.
Scape-goating is the basis of Western moral judgement based justice which, in the same stroke that it imposes guilt, anoints those who judge, with ‘innocence’. This is a dualist abstraction that denies the relational nature of the world. This denial infuses dysfunction in social relations and encourages endless cycles of retributive violence.
If it is not yet clear, my view is that Western civilization, in its elevation of reason and moral judgement to the highest value levels in society is fueling the fires of global social dysfunction. It may not matter to others what my views may or may not be, but it is important to me to make clear that I do not support the popular reason-and-morality based views of mainstream media and government in my region and to further make clear that those that contribute to a global balance of power that preserves and protects social dysfunction by scapegoating those who could otherwise be the natural authors of needed relational social transformation, push them towards extreme avenues while misrepresenting themselves as righteous and innocent victims.
In the same manner that the authoring source of the urban ghetto youth’s violent action springs not ‘from him’ but ‘through him’ from the relational suprasystem, … and the 9/11 terrorist actions spring not ‘from the terrorists’ but ‘through them’ from the relational suprasystem in which global European colonialism dominates, … it is not possible to determine a ‘starting point’ of ultimate authorship, not in the physical reality of our natural experience; i.e. not in a transforming relational continuum in which all inhabitants are relationally interdependent. The indefinite deferral of the causal sourcing of violent action precludes any isolating of a ‘causal starting point’ and argues for ‘restorative justice’.
Therefore, unlike the mainstream media and the governments of the region I inhabit, I do not morally judge members of ISIS, members of Al Qaida, the Taliban and people aspiring to join extremist groups or form local terror cells. I do not morally judge anyone. But like Russell Means and Ward Churchill and many of the long oppressed indigenous aboriginal peoples of turtle island and the world, I see the 9/11 terrorists as channellers of pushback from relational tensions accruing over centuries of colonial oppression that has made use of ‘bewitchment of understanding by language’, … whereby binary reason and binary moral judgement are elevated into an unnatural precedence over intuition and a natural tendency towards cultivating, restoring and sustaining balance and harmony.
The tradition of restorative justice and ‘mitakuye oyasin’(‘we are all related’) among the indigenous aboriginal peoples may have been the reason why ‘pushback’ has rarely taken on an extremist form in North America, not even in the face of centuries of attempted cultural genocide by European colonizers, though pushback is more commonly taking extremist forms both within Arab islamic peoples and within the body of the Christian state, where in both cases, there are ‘good and evil’ moral value judging traditions.
This completes my ‘open letter’ to members of ISIS, Al Qaida, the Taliban, and those wanting to join or to become local cells of violent action against the dominant world order [European colonialism].
It is evident to me that you are being scapegoated by the dominant world order and that support for this scape-goating is being cultivated by ‘the bewitchment of understanding by language’; i.e. by putting binary reason and binary moral judgement into an unnatural precedence over intuition and our natural relational tendency to sustain balance and harmony.
It is probably clear that my view is that ‘everyone in the global community shares responsibility’ and that the path to restoring balance and harmony is to abandon [as highest values] ‘reason’ and ‘moral judgement’ and all attempts to ‘determine culpability’, and to instead refocus, intuitively, on the restoring of balance and harmony.
Of course, who cares about individual views? Certainly neither the mainstream media nor the government that claims to speak for all its citizens.
I share this directly as an individual to other individuals since it is the type of view that is simply ‘dropped’ from a popular discourse that elevates binary reason and binary moral judgement to unnatural precedence over intuition and our natural tendency to restoring, cultivating and sustaining balance and harmony.
Used together, reason will establish that ‘you are the author of the violent act, and moral judgement will establish that it is an evil action, ascertaining your full and sole guilt and the innocence of all others. The institutionalizing of this formula is what makes Western civilization a scape-goating culture since it fails to acknowledge what our intuition readily does; -the channeling of authorial influences from the relational social collective to y/ourselves.
As Ward Churchill said in reference to 9/11, it makes natural sense for people to push back;
“. . . to accept a rule of nature so basic that it could be mouthed by an actor, Lawrence Fishburn, in a movie, The Cotton Club.
“You’ve got to learn, ” the line went, “that when you push people around, some people push back.”
As they should. … As they must. … And as they undoubtedly will.
There is justice in such symmetry”.
The error lies in assuming that the source of the pushing is local as it appears to be. It never is. Not in a transforming relational continuum wherein ‘relations are all there is’.
Scape-goating works in opposite directions at the same time.