• For over 200 days since October 7th, the brutal oppression of Palestinians in their homelands has been brought into the awareness of a previously unaware western population
  • Western governments’ desperate attempts to support Israel’s genocidal leaders reveal their own authoritarian and fascist tendencies
  • The suffering of the Palestinian people epitomizes a global system that prioritizes money as the central value in society
  • The urgent need for a Movement for Nonviolent Social and Personal Transformation has become evident

The vast majority of the world’s population – those who were not previously aware of the dreadful plight of the Palestinian people since their land was essentially stolen from them in an agreement brokered by white Christian men in foreign lands in order to further their own antisemitism and assuage their collective guilt over what they allowed to happen to European Jews during Fascism’s murderous reign in the 1930s and 40s – today watch in abject horror as Israel’s campaign to exterminate Palestinians from what remains of their lands moves ahead unabated.

Despite calls on Israel from the ICJ to stop its murderous and evil actions, Israel continues on its path, funded and supplied with weapons by all those western countries who simultaneously, without any sense of irony or self-reflection, call for the upholding of human rights and international humanitarian law.

The gaslighting is staggering, as are the profits of weapons manufacturers.

Increasing numbers of people are now starting to experience the uncomfortable sensation of cognitive dissonance in their heads; that experience of seeing all the facts laid out in front of you and realising that what someone else is telling you to see is, in fact, a load of bollocks.

“But I can’t believe the Israeli government would lie.” “I can’t believe that my own government would lie.” “I can’t believe the media would distort the truth like that.” “I can’t…”

And of course, when you understand that your government and the media are capable of lying, it creates an even more uncomfortable sensation in the pit of your stomach when you realise that everything you’ve learnt in life has been mostly taught to you by people who have specifically curated the information in your head, precisely so that you believe the unbelievable.

George Orwell had it right in 1984 when he wrote, “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

Today it feels that we are at a turning point, perhaps like the social unrest of the late 1960s, early 1970s, or the Arab Spring of 2011 which had echoes all over the world. There is a new social awakening in progress, and those who rule the world are terrified that they will lose control.

But now, in this moment of history it is important to take a brief step back from the immediate source of the cognitive dissonance that is underway, focused as it is and should be on the systematic extermination of the Palestinian population of Gaza. However, this is not in order to ignore their plight, but rather to quickly locate the source of the problem. Because without locating the source of the problem any proposal to change that situation will fail.

If we conclude or if we’re led to believe that the massacres in Palestinian Gaza and the West Bank will be resolved by, for instance, the elimination of Hamas, the return of hostages, the removal of Netanyahu from power, etc., then we will once more fail in our attempt to achieve any kind of lasting peace.

Silo, the founder of the Humanist Movement which marks its 55th anniversary today, May 4th, 2024, wisely counselled; “you will resolve your problems when you understand them in their ultimate root, not when you want to resolve them.”

What is now required is for us to truly open our eyes and understand that everything that is happening in the world today, every single conflict; from wars, to ecological destruction, to climate change, to poverty, to femicide, and all the others are the results of a system that puts money as the central value and encourages us to applaud and yearn to experience the lifestyles of billionaires. This is the problem in its ultimate root.

We have to rapidly wake up to the fact that this image of “success” that we are constantly fed in the west is a source of absolute evil that allows us to and even encourages us to dehumanise other human beings, to see other people as less than ourselves, to “other” them to the point where we lose all empathy and solidarity with them.

This nascent movement of solidarity with the Palestinian people that is awakening all over the world, needs to take a moment to connect the dots between this conflict and all those others and understand that any system that is not based on the principle of giving a central value to human life in a sustainable relationship with the planet is doomed to end a violent death.

Now is the time for the emergence of a Global Movement for Nonviolent Social and Personal Transformation. For this movement to succeed it must agree that; human life must be treated as sacred, that no human being, nor group of human beings, has the right to kill any other human being; that money must be a tool for human development, and not a tool for slavery and impoverishment; that every aspect of our society must be seen through a lens of protecting an environment that must support all forms of life for millions of years to come, not just during the next 4 years of the electoral cycle; that States are abstract lines drawn on maps and have no inherent right to exist; that human beings have a right to live in peace and with dignified living conditions anywhere they choose to do so; that we have the resources as a species and a planet to cater for the needs of the entire global population; and that conflict must be resolved without the use of violence in any of its forms. Furthermore, this movement will understand that violence exists around us and within us, and that it is important that everyone studies this violence and the impacts that it has on our behaviour, because it is only with this act of personal reflection and transformation that we can break down the dehumanisation that surrounds us and create a world fit for human habitation.

On that May 4th, 1969, Silo spoke at a small gathering in Punta de Vacas in the Andes mountains on the border of Argentina and Chile, watched by armed police and finished his sermon to the crowd with the words “Carry peace within you, and take it to others.”

If a movement can emerge from these devastating days that can move in that direction, we will be able to allow ourselves to hope that a better world is in fact possible on this planet.

Shall we start one?