Compared to some of humanity’s other problems (like diseases, or climate change), in some sense, peace seems like something that should be relatively easier to accomplish. It doesn’t require the pitting of our most ingenious minds and efforts against monumentally daunting technical challenges. In fact, peace doesn’t require us to do anything extra at all. All we have to do to have peace, is just do less of a particular something, namely, fighting.

OK, so, how can we stop fighting? We can stop fighting when enough of us- that magical, threshold percentage of us- decides to stop fighting. And how do we get that to happen? Well, that’s where I keep getting stuck… (So OK, this really is a hard problem after all. Well of course it’s hard- because if it were so easy then it would have been solved by now, right?)

So perhaps you might think this entire discussion is a hopeless waste of time, because nothing ever changes… because people don’t ever change, they simply can’t change, because of intrinsic “human nature” that is basically always the same…

Um… really?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’ll proclaim it from the highest mountaintop, I’ll utter it with my dying breath: all relevant data must be factored into an analysis, to have a correct analysis.

Today, in the year 2016, I can go to Paris, and visit the Eiffel Tower… I can go to Venice, and take a ride in a gondola… I can go to Holland, and frolic in a field of tulips… I can go to Berlin, and feast on bratwurst and strudel…

But if I had been in any part of much of Europe between 75 and 71 years ago, I would become, very promptly, DEAD. Done for. Finished. Kaput. End of Sandra…

Is there a convenient shorthand notation that we can use to refer to this worse, prior state? I used A for our current state, but this worse state came before A, and as A is the first letter in the alphabet then there isn’t any letter that comes before A… Well, I could switch to a different alphabet… how about Greek? Yes- I shall call the bad state before A, “Beta” (β), sort of like for software releases, how this is used to refer to earlier, “buggy” versions.

I don’t know if it would be permissible for me to say that I have a better appreciation than most people do, regarding just how much of an improvement A is over β… maybe that would be going too far. But what I feel I can rightfully say, is that β spells far worse doom for me than it does for most, and I can say that the appreciation that I have for the difference between A and β, is whoppingly ginormous.

So, from my perspective, the world has already made quite a significant leap, in going from β to A. Therefore, perhaps it is possible for us to make one more “hop”, from A to B? I’m not entirely sure though, and here’s why:

Yes- things are certainly very different now compared with then, but to what extent is this because of people being different?

I don’t think this is all that easy a matter to determine, because it so happens that both of the paths that I had discussed in Paths, have been traversed: there had been a cataclysmic war (which is what had finally, officially, ended β), and, so many years have gone by between then and now that most of the people who had been adults during β, have died off.

From my understanding, virtually all of the people who had been Nazis, simply lied about it afterwards, denying that they had ever been that. There were some fanatical die-hards who did freely admit they were Nazis… and unabashedly continued to espouse that ideology for the rest of their lives.

And there also seems to be a smattering, who like the die-hards, do admit that they had been Nazis, but unlike the die-hards, they say that they have since realized that it was wrong.

But what I have never heard though, is anything along the lines of why they are sorry… what exactly was it, that had changed their minds?

Why this is so important, is because it could be that vital piece that I’m missing- what could change those who are not too far off the deep end as to be changeable, but who are impervious to the one and only means that I have at my disposal (logic). And what leads me to suspect that such a testimony might be effective towards changing some, is that ostensibly, therein is what had changed the person who has given the testimony. Thus since whatever this was had worked once before, on that person, then perhaps it might work again, on others.

Take, for instance, Oskar Groening, the so-called “accountant of Auschwitz”, who had been on trial not too long ago, which put him in the news quite a bit while that was going on. And in all that I had read surrounding this, never once was there any answer to that question, of why he is sorry- he only simply stated that he was, with zero explanation. I guess it never occurred to any reporter, or to anyone else who currently has access to him, to ask this. Perhaps because to all those who happen to be in a position where they could ask him this, the wrong of Nazism seems so blindingly obvious to them that they just don’t ever think to pose such a question. But it actually can’t be all that universally obvious, because if it was, then some people, like Groening, wouldn’t have ever bought into it as he once had, and moreover there wouldn’t still be so many people with this mentality today.

But alas, I suppose in all likelihood the old bastard will drop dead before anyone ever does realize how valuable the answer to this question is. Oh well.

I wonder, if a Yazidi woman were to read all this, what she might think…

Wow, this A of yours sounds real swell, Sandra… living free of fear… hope you’re enjoying it…

I would be remiss if I were not to acknowledge that today’s A is a lot more β-like for some than for others.

Contemplate this: how bad must something be, if setting your face on fire, is preferable?

It is yet another irony (and, a heartbreaking tragedy) that while both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides are lobbing accusations at the other, of the other being so reprehensible, not all that far from them, genuine genocidal monsters are wreaking horrendous havoc… Gimme an I! Gimme an S! Gimme another I! Gimme another S! What’s that spell? That spells, “OH MY FREAKIN’ GOD, are these guys atrocious…” And please note that I have no problem whatsoever with the “g-label” being applied to those cretins, because, in this case, it happens to actually be true (yeah, that kinda sorta makes all the difference…)

Are the thoughts of the Israelis and Palestinians so muddied by their emotions, that they can’t even recognize basic facts, such as this? I think the answer to this question may actually be… no, they’re not really that moronic. A sign of this is a Washington Post article from April 30, 2016: “Israel, Hamas and Egypt form unlikely alliance against Islamic State affiliate”. Look, I understand that sometimes there are circumstances, like when mass murdering, mass raping savages are at your doorstep, that demand military countermeasures. When the B of your opponents is soooooooooooooo very bad, that the big cost X of fighting, is necessary. I’m just not seeing the Israeli-Palestinian issue as being one of those.

And this further underscores the radiant brilliance of the Israel-loves-Palestine and Palestine-loves-Israel groups: that they not only see a potential for Israel and Palestine to stop being enemies, but they also envision them actually becoming friends– YES, dare I say- allies!!

So, with respect to paths to B, I’ve discussed the case of people being able to change, and the case of people not being able to change. Are those all the possibilities? Well, no… as there is another possible path, one that doesn’t depend on people at all…

Isn’t there…?

Published in 2016 by Sandra Goldstein.