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How To Make People Think Peace

Vishnu Bhagwat

Edited by Aparna Rao, Michael Bollig and Monika Bock
Cambridge University Press, New Delhi, 2013, pp. 346, Rs. 995.00


The last century continuing into the present one has seen the bloodiest and most destructive violence in recorded history carried into homes, habitats and whole communities, almost the wiping out of civilizations like the Mesopatamian in Iraq as chronicled in William Engdahl’s Century of War: Imperial Wars for Resources and Markets under the aegis of the Colonization and Recolonization Project. In her intro-duction to the book, Elisabeth Colson of the University of Berkeley, under the heading, ‘Fomenting of War’ says, ‘One does not have to be a Marxist to recognize that economic factors are intimately involved with war and with fomenting the instability (as recently as seen in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Rwanda and indeed in all of the non Anglo-Saxon world) that leads to war.’ As she rightly points out, the military budget of the United States in the 1980s exceeded the profits of all Corporations and the rest of the world taken together. The preparation for war is often the single largest economic activity in the US and erstwhile colonial powers. This has contributed to the radical change from a manufacturing to a service economy, bringing factory closures and job losses to the fore in the imperial countries too. The demand for oil, strategic raw materials and capture of markets, imposition of free-trade and the whole apparatus of neo-liberal reforms agenda is an integral part of the recolonization project which imposes wars and violence/instability in quick time as in shooting wars preceding invasion and occupation or in slow time through instigation of instability by fomenting war with the help of death-squads/mercenaries, private military companies (provoking ‘sectarian’ conflict as in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan).   None of the 20 academics/social scientists from the departments of anthropology and other institutes in Germany, France, UK, Israel, US who have contributed to the book go deeper into the root causes or sources of wars —restricting their narratives to the conse-quences, spread and character of internecine, sometimes prolonged bloodshed; who have been driven to desperation by those powers and forces which instigated and initiated catalysts, extreme deprivation and want by aerial bombing, mercenaries, agents; intervention, including ‘humanitarian intervention’ (whereas historical narratives have related the village communities and habitats in earlier times as the model of social cohesion and solidarity); hate and identity politics which prepare the ground for, supported by black propaganda, creation of proxies and their sold ...

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