by Kevin Gribbroek
The 38th meeting of the International Peace Coalition (IPC), convened on Feb. 23, was a demonstration of why this deliberative body is uniquely suited to address and solve the crises threatening to plunge mankind into a prolonged new Dark Age or even thermonuclear Armageddon. Whereas most forum discussions on the issues of Gaza, Ukraine or any other conflict—be it mainstream or alternative media—are reduced to explanations of why one side is good and the other evil, much of the IPC meeting was devoted to deliberation over the true definition of good and evil from a philosophical standpoint. This proved very fruitful in helping participants to reach a higher-level understanding of why the Oasis Plan and economic development per se are so crucial to the survival of the human race.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche opened the proceedings by focusing on the incredible rift taking place between the Global South and the “tiny minority” of the Global North over particularly the conflict in Gaza. Exemplary of this rift is the recently concluded G20 meeting in Brazil where the U.S. and other Western countries refused to sign a common declaration because both Brazil and South Africa insisted that it include language denouncing the genocide in Gaza. Another highlight of this rift is the ongoing hearings at the World Court, where one nation after another has condemned Israel for its actions against the Palestinians. Ma Xinmin, Legal Advisor to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, called Palestine “a litmus test for the collective conscience of humanity….”
Zepp-LaRouche continued by pointing out the insanity of Western leaders, who, despite the impossibility of Ukraine winning the war, are demanding that more long-range weapons be sent to the Zelensky regime for striking deep inside Russian territory. These leaders seem incapable of thinking about the consequences of their actions; that this could lead to World War Three! Because the strategic situation is so dangerous, it requires that the IPC mobilize that much harder to “offer solutions to an otherwise seemingly unsolvable conflict.” The way to free Palestine is the Oasis Plan because it would transform the entirety of Southwest Asia into a prosperous economic hub between Asia, Africa and Europe—a solution of optimism in the best interests of Israel, Palestine and all their neighboring countries. A similar approach is needed for Ukraine. Only a new paradigm of cooperation on economic development is capable of ending the cycle of violence.
The next speakers, Alan Rivera and Gerardo Castilleja of the Schiller Institute in Mexico, recounted a recent intervention they made at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where they went from classroom to classroom briefing students and professors on the Oasis Plan. One professor even allowed them to show the Oasis Plan video. They then attended a campus ceasefire rally where they encountered a group of old American “lefties” repeating the same empty-headed “anti-imperialist” slogans from 40-years past with no comprehension of how to overturn the system to which they are opposed.
Dr. Mohammad Toor, Chairman of the Pakistani American Congress, stressed the necessity of peace through economic development. Weak countries must develop themselves so they do not fall prey to stronger nations. There are enough resources on the planet so that every nation can develop and become prosperous.
A university professor in Michigan spoke of the fear that permeates campuses, particularly concerning the Gaza issue. Despite a very large Arab and Muslim student body in the state, students and faculty alike feel they cannot express their emotions and feelings—they can’t advocate for what they feel is right. A large number of the students are Palestinian or have friends that are Palestinian, many of whom have lost family members in Gaza. To help people overcome this fear, the professor is organizing an arts and cultural event with the belief that, under conditions of oppression, the only way to speak up is through the arts.
The next speaker, Jack Gilroy of Veterans for Peace, reported on an initiative to deliver a document that outlines the crimes committed by Israel and the U.S. in Gaza to every State Department office in the U.S. The document warns State Department officials that they are complicit in criminal activity—the murder of thousands of people in Gaza—and could be prosecuted for these offenses.
During the discussion period, a profound dialogue was initiated by Father Harry Bury on the nature of good and evil. He challenged two fundamental beliefs that he views as obstacles to bringing about the objective of peace through development: The first is that there are evil people in the world. Father Bury believes that this is false; that there are good people that do evil things because they don’t know any better. These people must be educated to know what is good. The second belief is that the best way to prevent evil is through punishment. This is proven wrong by a worldwide recidivism rate of 80-85%. “Justice is not vengeance; justice is not getting even; justice is restoring the evil doer” according to Bury. Zepp-LaRouche, although agreeing in principle that people are fundamentally good, had one point of disagreement: Given that the human species is endowed by the Creator with free will, why is it that some people are quite capable of comprehending that what they are doing is evil but do it anyway? Why have they decided to be on the side of Satan?
The Michigan professor offered an idea, expressed in a book titled Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt, that evil is the absence of empathy; the inability to see others as equal with oneself. Zepp-LaRouche fully concurred with this view and explained Friedrich Schiller’s belief that only through the aesthetic education—education rooted in noble and sublime concepts—are people elevated to the level of reason.
Dennis Small of the Schiller Institute pointed out that to defeat evil one must put the City of London/Wall Street financial system through a complete bankruptcy reorganization, because that entire system is evil—what Pope John Paul II called the “structures of sin”—and creates the circumstances for evil policies to be carried out. As long as that system prevails, it will obstruct the potential to bring about the good in people. While the Boycott-Divest-Sanction (BDS) movement is fine, if you really want to go after the root of the problem you must take on the financial system.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche concluded the meeting by expressing her profound belief that “poverty is the greatest violation of human rights you can imagine”—children growing up hungry with no education are being robbed of their humanity. The only way to solve the crises of Gaza and Ukraine is through a discussion of how to develop these impoverished regions, something which is eminently doable. In history’s past, the areas of Central and Southwest Asia were developed: Baghdad was the greatest city in the world; Afghanistan was the land of a thousand cities; Syria was part of the Silk Road. “If we connect this great tradition of the past with a vision for the future, if that becomes the motivation of all the people involved, I think we can bring this to a much more beautiful epoch in history.