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Monday, September 2, 2013

Motivational Monday: Psychology, Morality & Politics: Is there a Red Line Even Pacifists Cannot Ignore?

Thought for the Day: It's Labor Day and I don't feel like writing, however, often I find that I need to push myself when I feel least motivated. Sometimes, it leads to some of my greatest insights. I have been avoiding writing about the horrible events in Syria for a while now. I try to stay clear of political topics. Instead, I focus on things more directly related to the field of psychology. However, as a psychologist who has always looked at issues related to war and peace, I know that I need to address this sooner or later.

It will be no surprise to those of you who have been following my blog, that I am a "dove" at heart. I grew up singing folk songs of peace and protesting war. I lived in Israel and studied ways to help people cope with the trauma of war, father absence and death of a parent during war and terrorist attacks. Here in the USA, I have continued to work for peaceful resolution of conflicts, sensible gun control, and reduction of violence and bullying.

On the other hand, I grew up hearing about the holocaust. I know all too well the traumatic impact World War II and the Nazi's intent to annihilate the Jewish people (and gypsies and disabled of all races and religions) had on my family and on countless others for generations to come. I worked with holocaust survivors and their offspring. Therefore, I am conflicted by the evidence of the gassing of innocent civilians and children. Although I and most Americans are weary of wars and reluctant to get involved in yet another conflict in the Middle East, can we sit by idly and watch a tyrant who would gas his own people? What message are we sending to the world if we turn our heads and pretend it is not happening? Could hundreds of thousands of lives been saved during World War II if the United States had responded sooner to Hitler's regime? Is there a red line even pacifists cannot ignore? Has it been crossed?

I don't have the answers, just scores of questions. I hope that our president, congress and military strategists have creative interventions that will make a difference and help put an end to the violence. The red line in Iran and a nuclear threat to the world is rapidly approaching as well. Like it or not, we need to address these issues. Is there a moral red line that we all must cross when a tyrant moves toward the genocide of any group? It saddens me that I must write about this, but I guess this is why I did not feel like writing today. My guess is that it is something we all would rather avoid, but the world is looking to us for leadership and it is our responsibility to address these questions.

As always, your thoughts, suggestions and comments are welcome. Please join the discussion and share them here.

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