This month has been full of hopeful signs of what H. H. Dalai Lama has been calling our transition away from the century of bloodshed to the century of dialogue.
This month Kim Jeong-il is dead after 17 years of his dictatorship in North Korea which have caused the systematic impoverishment and starvation of millions of Korean people. There has always been a lot of nationalistic sentiment against the North Koreans in South Korea since the Korean war. It seemed natural to think that this may have manifested in some celebration at the death of Kim Jeong-il. However, there are no crowds cheering in the streets. In fact most people interviewed by the media in South Korea said they are hoping for change in North Korea. They have expressed hope that the North Korean people will now get more to eat and that displaced families, separated by the post Korean War border, may see each other again. It is amazing and refreshing to hear that the people are choosing a more compassionate and hopeful view of the situation.
Also today the last of American troops have left Iraq after nine years of senseless and bloody war. The Iraq war was started for no apparent reason other than economic interests of the United States and it has now ended. (I think Joseph Palermo said everything there is to say about this topic in the first few paragraphs of his fantastic piece for the Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-a-palermo/the-end-of-the-iraq-war-a_b_1157086.html). This is a great relief for billions of people who are victims of violent US foreign policy and are hopeful that the military force of the United States may finally stop working to serve the bottom line of giant business and American commerce. The dialogue has begun about a possible future where the United States does not serve as the world police but instead cooperates and participates in a fair and just world.
What is more, the streets and web pages are filled with the peaceful protesters and voices of the 99 percent who are saying that time is up for the ill formed feudalist style economies. This is very hopeful news.
In support of all this and more here is a quote from the Dalai Lama's 'An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life'
I find that because of modern technological evolution and our global economy, and as a result of the great increase in population, our world has greatly changed: it has become much smaller. However, our perceptions have not evolved at the same pace; we continue to cling to old national demarcations and the old feelings of 'us' and 'them'. War seems to be part of the history of humanity. As we look at the situation of our planet in the past, countries, regions and even villages were economically independent of one another. Under those circumstances, the destruction of our enemy might have been a victory for us. There was a a relevance to violence and war. However, today we are so interdependent that the concept of war has become out dated. When we face problems or disagreements today, we have to arrive at solutions through dialogue. Dialogue is the only appropriate method. One-sided victory is no longer relevant. We must work to resolve conflicts in a spirit of reconciliation and always keep in mind the interests of others. We cannot destroy our neighbors! We cannot ignore their interests! Doing so would ultimately cause us to suffer. I therefore think that the concept of violence is now unsuitable. Nonviolence is the appropriate method.