Por Andre Lopez Turner
With the war in Ukraine, the military and arm industries are once again salivating with gusto. The myriad of weapons currently used in that conflict reads like a «My bomb is cleverer than yours» situation. And now, thanks to Putin and his warped sense of historical destiny, every European nation wants to join NATO and is increasing its defence budget
You cannot ignore the horrific invasion and war between Russia and the Ukraine, unless you live in an extremely remote place, you’re without the internet. Like most people, you probably would like to ignore this war, and like most of us, you probably can’t imagine the horror of war. I certainly can’t. What I do think is being ignored is those human beings that imagine, create, build, and sell murderous weapons. In other words, many of us ignore the military industrial complex.
I say this after listening to a young woman on New Zealand’s national radio giving an articulate and forensic talk about the plethora of weapons being used in the current conflict between we know who. I listened to her speak phrases like “cluster bombs”, “detonating this”, “shrapnel dispersing that,” “heat seeking this,” “chemical asphyxiation,” “fragmenting,” “bombs exploding and scattering on impact.” Like the howling north westerly wind outside, my mind howled – who imagines and creates these weapons, and the horrific ways in which they kill and maim their fellow human beings and the environment around them?
The news anchor moved the conversation onto – “war crimes, and crimes against humanity.”
“Shouldn’t we also have a new set of crimes, crimes against murderous imaginations,” I said aloud.
“Now, that’s a new one, for an age-old problem,” replied My father, driving at pace through central Otago’s golden fields, “but us human beings have been at war for some time now, and if we were going to change, surely, we would’ve by now,” he continued.
I replied we were getting better as a species and gave a few examples of human beings, and the institutions we have, and how non-violent means and dialogue had been increasing over the centuries etc. He gave a wry grimace.
“Okay, okay, good points but you know the counter argument. In response to you they’ll say we need weapons to defend ourselves from being invaded and attacked.”
Speaking of weapons and self-defence. A day after our conversation it was announced that World military spending had topped the $2 trillion dollar mark for the first time. In the last calendar year, the U.S. spent $801 Billion on its military budget, followed by China at $293 Billion, India $76 billion, United Kingdom $68.4 billion, and Russia $65 billion. In other words, the peoples tax dollars have been given to private or state-run military companies to build weapons of mass destruction. All the while money to transition into the green industrial revolution begs for crumbs. It’s safe to think the political classes who govern the above countries, and many others, are prepared to spend more money on killing humans than conflict resolution, dialogue and saving the planet.
Our taxes and the political classes inability to agree to disagree without attacking each other violently (most of us civilians do this well on a daily basis) have seen the deathly imaginations and profits of many arms manufacturers and their employees reach new heights this year. Lockheed Martin (USA) have made $44.9 Billion, Boeing (USA) $26.9 Billion, BAE (U.K) $22.9 billion, Airbus (trans European) $11.2 billion and Almaz-Antey (Russia) $8.5 Billion. There are 25 large arms manufacturers in the world.
Many will say you’re naive in writing this, usually the political class and their commissars in the media. They’ll pontificate the obvious – you must defend yourself. I agree. Violence and war are the failure of dialogue. “We the many” as Percy Bysshe Shelley the poet wrote, go about our daily lives agreeing to disagree, getting frustrated, annoyed, often voicing our anger and displeasure without “acting on it.” “They the few,” as Shelley called them – think and do otherwise.
Our modern technological marvels have all been imagined before they have been created. The grand majority of humans beings create and imagine positive things for each other and the planet. We can imagine and act in so many ways to end war, the arms industry, thus create sustainable ways of being for ourselves and the planet. For those of you creating weapons of murderous potential I say the world needs you to change course. We need you to use your creative minds for life giving acts. Imagine a doing a job that creates no harm. How satisfying.
If John Lennon and Bob Marley were once placed on the CIA’s watch for singing “dangerous songs” about imagining living in peace, harmony, and unity, then let’s start charging those who aid and abet the military industrial complex with “crimes against murderous imaginations.” Fairs fair.
Andre López Turner is co-editor and co-presenter of The Programme, a political and cultural podcast by ZTR Radio www.ztradio.online