Aikido and the politics of violence
I posted this forum in another thread, but it may merit a topic all its own, so here you go!
Recently I have given much thought to the U.S. involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (really the US-Israeli/Palestinian conflict, because we are as much a participant in Palestinian suffering, as is Israel).
Until last March, I was largely ignorant of the details of the situation: I believed that the peace process was delayed because of the intransigence of the leaders involved.
What got me interested was the reports of Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed Palestinians using weapons supplied by the U.S. I also heard about the effect the international observers had in lessening the violence. I resolved to go to Palestine (with a group) as an international observer.
I also wanted to go to dojos in Jerusalem (the dojo web search lists 6 of them) and ask the members there how they felt about the violence perpetrated in their name...what was their approach to lessening the violence, when they had to deal with it on a daily basis (not to mention the constant fear of being blown to bits)? How does Aikido change the way they think about the conflict, and their role in it?
To make a long story short: I never made it to the first Israeli dojo. I was detained at the airport in Tel Aviv, held in a cell for 21 hours, labeled a supporter of Arafat and the PLO (by both Israeli customs and the American consul; a false accusation) and shipped back on the first plane.
The action was a failure, but the question remains: what role do we, as practitioners of an art of harmony and peace, have in ending violence committed in our name? What role do we, as seekers of peace, play in stopping the violence...even as that violence occurs when we do nothing?