Socially constructed war LO30003

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 03/17/03

Replying to LO29997 --

Dear Organlearners,

Vana Prewitt <> writes:

>"Don't you mean the THREAT of war? I don't believe
>there is a war yet, unless you count the war of rhetoric."
>I'm surprised that these people have succumbed to the
>media collusion with the American president's desire to
>desensitize the world to the THREAT of war by referring
>to it as though it already existed. Much like video violence
>desensitization processes, we have socially constructed an
>alternative reality. Doing so will make it easier for the populace
>to accept an ACT of war if the time comes, because in their
>own minds we are already at war.
>I am interested in hearing from others around the world
>about this phenomenon and how active critical thinking skills
>are being employed (if at all) in deconstructing the artificial
>reification of a war.

Greetings dear Vana,

Thank you for bringing this most important issue under our attention.
Since i am not a resident of the USA, i have not experienced how your
people speak of the looming war. I also look and listen far too little of
the only TV service CNN from the USA available here in South Africa.

As for South Africans, they usually use the phrase "threatening war"
(dreigende oorlog) as you have suggested. Why? I think there are several
reasons. Firstly, we had during the last two decades of apartheid an
undeclared war on our borders against the freedom fighters. Although the
burden of the war was carried by ordinary folks, it was instigated by
politicians who at the end capitulated shamefully. Secondly, the war came
to an end when the waring parties began to participate in dialogue, trying
to find a constructive alternative. Thirdly, the war caused our country
so much harm that nobody (except a few extremists) wants war again.

Informal dialogues eventually resulted in a formal dialogue called
CODESA. Fellow learners may read two addresses made to it,
one by Nelson Mandela, then president of the ANC, at
< >
and one by Frederik de Klerk, then president of the apartheid
government, at
< >
Please notice that parts of these speaches are in Afrikaans.

CODESA is a magnificent example of how a threatening war can be
deconstructed. But it requires that all major leaders involved must seek
peace and avoid war at all costs. The two speaches above tell it clearly.
However, when some major leaders consider war as a means to procure peace,
then peace will not come. The armies will prepare themselves as they
should and foreigners will flee the countries where the war will happen.
After the war the only emotions which will prevail are grief, misery and

This morning there is a report in one of our local newspapers that Mr
Mandela received lately several threatening email messages from the USA
because in the beginning of the year he dared to tell Mr Bush in public
that he should cherise peace in his heart and seek it rather that prepare
for war, even if it is intended to procure peace afterwards. When
peacemakers become damned rather than blessed, it is another way of
constructing war socially.

There was also another report on the many thousands of guided bombs which
will be dropped in Iraque the first week or so. Why such a massive
destruction to quench weapons of mass destruction? Is this eye for an eye
and tooth for a tooth really a wise practice? I do not think so and many
nations in the UN also do not think so. Furthermore, this is what
Confucius had to say more than two millennia ago:

Dz-gung asked about government. The Master said: "Enough food; enough
weapons; the people have confidence in him". Dz-gung said: If he could not
help but let something go, of these three, which will be first?" He said:
"Let the weapons go.". Dz-gung said: "If he could not help but let
something go, of these two, which would be first?". He said: "Let the food
go. Since antiquity there has always been death, but if people lack
confidence, he cannot stand."

Confucius said that confidence in a government and its leaders that they
shall follow the virtuous and just path is of crucial importance. After
more that two millenia of world history stained with hundreds of wars on
every continent Confucius has still to be proved wrong. Do the citizens of
the USA have confidence in their leaders and government they are following
the virtuous and just path? I myself have no confidence in them. I also
have no confidence in Saddam Hussein and his bunch of cohorts.
Consequently, neither Hussein, nor Bush, will stand up as a result of this
threatening war should it become actual.

Please bear in mind that i have written outrightly. The reason is that
once war is declared, martial law comes into operation. It is then often
declared that any public objection against the war will be treason. So if
some of us want to object, we will have to do when there is still time to
do it.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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