Robert J. Burrowes, New Age Islam
Beryl and James Burrowes
affected by the death of my two uncles in World War II, on 1 July 1966, the
24th anniversary of the 'USS Sturgeon' sinking of the Japanese prisoner-of-war
ship 'Montevideo Maru' which killed the man after whom I am named, I decided
that I would devote my life to working out why human beings are violent and
then developing a strategy to end it.
news about this commitment was that it was made when I was nearly 14 so, it
seemed, anything was possible. Now I am not so sure.
Here is my
report on 50 years of concerted effort to understand and end human violence.
In 1966 one
of my immediate preoccupations was war. The US genocidal war on Vietnam was
raging and, as a sycophantic ally of the United States, Australia had been
drawn into it some years previously. Trying to understand what this war was
really about was challenging, particularly given the limited (mainstream)
sources of information available to me at the time.
But I was
deeply troubled by another problem too. I had seen a photo of a starving
African child in the newspaper when I was ten and I found this most disturbing.
Why did adults let children starve? I wondered. And trying to make sense of
this by reading newspaper reports or asking those around me was utterly
early 1970s the environmental crisis was starting to impact on my awareness
too, including through environmental campaigns I heard about and the 'limits to
growth' literature published by the Club of Rome, which I read at University.
Are We Today?
most casual perusal of the state of our world reveals the ongoing (and recently
heightened) threat of nuclear war and obliteration (on top of the ongoing and
rapidly spreading radioactive contamination generated by Fukushima and the use
of Depleted Uranium weapons), ongoing phenomenal levels of military spending
and the endless push from corporate and other elite interests for more wars. Hence,
we are witness to and, through our taxes, active supporters of an endless
sequence of wars, military invasions, occupations and coups, virtually all of
them instigated by the US elite and its allies, as well as a sequence of
'local' wars, also instigated by western elites and supplied with weapons by
economy teeters on the brink of collapse and, of course, from the viewpoint of
those 100,000 people in Africa, Asia and Central/South America who starve to
death each day or those one billion people who live in a state of
semi-starvation and abject poverty in many parts of the world, it has already
'collapsed'. This all happens at the instigation of insane elites who continue
to accumulate and hoard their wealth, much of it in illegal offshore tax
havens. Given the enormous psychological damage that individual members of the
elite have suffered, millions or even billions can never be enough.
environmental crisis has only become vastly worse with the synergistic impact
of our combined assaults on the environment causing human
extinction-threatening strain on the biosphere. These devastating assaults
include those inflicted by military violence (often leaving vast areas
uninhabitable), the emission of vast quantities of carbon dioxide, methane and
nitrous oxide into the atmosphere, rainforest destruction, industrial farming,
mining, commercial fishing and spreading radioactive contamination.
We are also
systematically destroying the limited supply of fresh water on the planet and
inducing the collapse of hydrological systems. Human activity drives 200
species of life (birds, animals, fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians, plants)
to extinction each day and 80% of the world’s forests and over 90% of the large
fish in the ocean are already gone.
this readily available information, governments continue to prioritize spending
$US2, 000,000,000 each day on military violence, the sole purpose of which is
to terrorize and kill fellow human beings, now or in the future.
you might have noticed the ongoing attacks on everything from our civil
liberties and right to privacy to our right to eat healthy food that has not
been poisoned and/or genetically mutilated.
So why does
all of this happen? Well, 50 years of research and decades of nonviolent
activism have had some rewards and particularly the research that Anita McKone
and I conducted during our 14 years in seclusion (1996-2010) which fully
explained why human beings are violent. In essence, it is an outcome of the
visible, 'invisible' and 'utterly invisible' violence inflicted by adults on
children. See 'Why Violence?' http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence and 'Fearless
Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice'.
this research also gave us enormous insight into the insanity of the global
elite and those who serve them in order to maintain this worldwide system of violence
and exploitation that is killing us all while destroying the biosphere. Whether
it be the politicians who implement elite policies, the academics who 'justify'
or remain silent about this violence and exploitation, the businesspeople who
manage it, the judges, magistrates, lawyers and prosecutors who defend and
ultimately enforce it, the teachers and media personnel who teach and promote
(or distract us from) it, or the soldiers, private military contractors, police
and prison officers who inflict its most direct violence, the global elite is
served by a ready stream of witting or unwitting people, many of whom are paid
by your taxes to do its bidding. See 'The Global Elite is
And just to
ensure that you are endlessly frightened into accepting this worldwide system
of violence and exploitation, and to support its further encroachment into your
life, the global elite conducts an ongoing terrorist campaign against you. See
'Terrorism: Ultimate Weapon of the Global Elite'
http://warisacrime.org/content/terrorism-ultimate-weapon-global-elite and 'Why
Elites Love Drones' http://rinf.com/alt-news/editorials/elites-love-drones/
is another huge problem too: Lack of solidarity.
that they can divide us and that enables them to conquer us. Despite our
efforts to build solidarity over recent decades, elites keep finding new ways
to emphasize our 'differences'. We need to start thinking of our selves as 'We
are all each other'. Does it matter if the 'big' difference between us is our
gender, our race, our class, our religion, our nationality or something else
(or even all of these)?
elites can easily manipulate us, especially via education systems and the
corporate media, into projecting our fear and self-hatred onto others who are
'different' and then inflicting violence on, or even killing, each other
because, in effect, 'I am an adult and you are a child', 'I am a man and you
are a woman', 'I am non-indigenous and you are indigenous', 'I am a
Christian/Jew/Hindu/Buddhist and you are a Muslim', 'I am working class and you
are middle class', 'I am white and you are not', 'I am straight and you are
LGBTQIA', 'I am one nationality and you are another', 'I am a feminist and you
are a socialist', or even 'I am human and you are a
bird/animal/fish/insect/reptile/amphibian/plant' then we haven't even begun to
realize that the real issue is that we are all living beings and this insane
elite is willing to do anything they can to exploit and, if necessary, kill us
time we started to see what makes us the same – victims of violence and
exploitation – rather than focusing on what, after all, are the rather less
significant differences in our bodily characteristics, in our beliefs or even
the causes of our exploitation (which is not meant to diminish the significance
of the outcomes of direct and structural violence which undoubtedly have
variable impact)? Fear divides us.
interesting personal outcome of this lifetime of effort, apart from the many
arrests, terms of imprisonment (including once in a psychiatric ward where I
was forcibly injected with 'antipsychotic' drugs), bankruptcy and seizure of my
passport that have been direct results of my nonviolent activism, is that Anita
and I have been homeless since 1999: conscience has its costs. Moreover, a
worldwide search has failed to identify more than a handful of individuals (but
pre-eminently my parents, James and Beryl, both veterans of World War II and
now 93) or an organization of any kind that is willing to fund our research or
our work to end human violence. Of course, there is a psychological explanation
for this as well. See 'Why Don't We Try to Understand and End Human Violence?'
So what of
human prospects? Not good. With an insane elite controlling the US (and other)
military/nuclear arsenals and the highly exploitative global economy (with the
secret corporate governance deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and
the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, designed to further
consolidate corporate control of our world), as well as the dominant discourse
via the education systems and corporate media, very few people have the
emotional and intellectual capacities to critique this world order and then
strategically and non-violently resist the rush to extinction in which we now
find ourselves. In short, most human beings are utterly (unconsciously)
terrified and remain politically inert despite time and opportunities slipping
who do courageously resist this violent world order face a phalanx of violent
institutions, ranging from psychiatry – see 'Defeating the Violence of
Psychiatry' http://warisacrime.org/content/defeating-violence-psychiatry – and
the pharmaceutical – see 'Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and
Harm Patients' theguardian.com/books/2012/oct/17/bad-pharma-ben-goldacre-review
– and agribusiness – see 'Monsanto,
America's Monster' http://mediaroots.org/monsanto-americas-monster/ –
industries to the corporate media – see 'Propaganda & Engineering Consent
for Empire' youtube.com/watch?v=F7HmFH-Wo1s – and the police, legal and prison
systems – see 'The Rule of Law: Unjust and Violent'
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article35866.htm/ – designed to
neutralize or stop us, one way or another.
So what do
I suggest? Well, with the scientific evidence now indicating that near term
human extinction is the most likely outcome – see 'Why is Near Term Human
Extinction Inevitable?' https://www.oximity.com/article/Why-is-Near-Term-Human-Extinction-Inev-1
– it is increasingly clear that if we are to end human violence in all of its
many and complex manifestations, and prevent human extinction, then we need an
integrated and comprehensive strategy for doing so that also provides many
meaningful avenues for involvement by individuals and organizations who wish to
respond powerfully: token gestures have no value. Over many years I have
endeavoured to create this overarching strategy and I invite you to participate
in it by doing one or more of the following.
If you are
an adult, you might consider dramatically modifying your treatment of children
in accordance with 'My Promise to Children'.
http://www.nationofchange.org/my-promise-children-1383835266 You might also
find this article useful in better understanding how to do so: 'Nisteling: The
Art of Deep Listening'.
suggestions seem beyond you, then perhaps your own emotional healing should be
your priority. Despite its title, this article explains what you need to do:
'An Open Letter to Soldiers with "Mental Health" Issues'
And remember this: if you don't believe that you are 'important' enough to
spend time learning to know yourself more deeply, I disagree. You are
from the above, you might like to join those participating in 'The Flame Tree
Project to Save Life on Earth'. http://tinyurl.com/flametree You might also
consider signing the online pledge of 'The People's Charter to Create a
Nonviolent World'. thepeoplesnonviolencecharter.wordpress.com
And if you
would like to learn how to make your nonviolent action campaign for a peace,
environmental or social justice outcome more strategically effective, you can
do so here: 'Nonviolent Campaign Strategy'. nonviolentstrategy.wordpress.com To
nonviolently defend against coups and invasions, remove a dictatorship or conduct
a liberation struggle, check out 'Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy'.
I am not
going to get another 50 years to try to create the world of peace, justice and
sustainability for which many of us strive but I am going to use every single
moment of the time I have left.
Because I love the Earth and everything on it. And you?
Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to
understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966
in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a
nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of 'Why Violence?'
tinyurl.com/whyviolence His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his
website is at robertjburrowes.wordpress.com