Saturday, November 25, 2006

The need to assign blame

I have been thinking about the need to assign blame. Often we humans feel that if we can define who is at fault, who caused the suffering, then we have somehow come very close to solving it. And solving it does not necessarily mean ending it. It just means that we have come up with some justification in our minds.

I am just as guilty of this. "If the United States would just stop supplying Israel with military aid, or if we just get the majority of the population to realize that the U.S. invaded Iraq for the economic interests of a few, then blame has been assigned and the violence will stop." But is this really true?

I think of the conflicts that I get into. There are times that I can easily assign blame to myself or to someone else but this does not necessarily solve the conflict. There is a point where I have to let go of blame and instead work towards a peaceful alternative that all parties can agree to. Of course this also means that everyone involved wants to see a peaceful alternative and is willing to let go of blame to create it.

What I am saying is that blame does not solve conflict. Those involved in a conflict must care about the greater good of their community or their country and come to a compromise.

An editorial in today's Daily Star about the current situation in Lebanon reminded me of this:

What many of them [internal and external parties expressing their opinion] - especially local leaders - fail to see is that the current crisis is more than just a power struggle over who will get to run the country. It is a crisis about Lebanon's very existence. Those who adamantly cling to their simple remedies are like inept doctors arguing around an operating table while their patient is hemorrhaging. This is not the time for posturing or bickering; we urgently need to stop the country's bleeding.

Lebanon is in the emergency room right now and it is not the time to assign blame. It is time for Lebanon's leaders to find compromise. Once out of crisis, the tribunal can reach conclusions as to who is responsible.

This should also happen in other parts of the world such as Iraq. There should be a true investigation, not the one-sided one where blame was already assigned to Sadam Hussein. No wonder we humans satisfy ourselves with assigning blame! Sometimes it is all that we can do. What are the chances that those who are truly responsible for the war in Iraq will accept responsibility?

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