A state of war is a state of exception, which pushes one to take a position:
to fight back,
to start acting and change the world,
to be afraid and stay immobile,
to give blood,
to learn first-aid,
to learn self-defence,
to pretend like nothing is going on,
to talk about biased media coverage of that war,
to actively pursue peaceful resolution of the situation.
Or one may refuse a war that is not theirs.
And that means acting outside of the imposed context (of war),
which means not taking any position prescribed by the state of exception
but, rather, making a step outside of that state and moving sideways.
Making a step that would be exceptional in relation to the state of exception itself.
Everyone is automatically implicated in the state of war if they share what the war is about.
Usually, it’s territory, ideology, or resources.
(That’s why people in Europe know about the bombings in Paris and know less about the bombings in Lebanon.)
War attempts to make a division based on a very simple question:
– “Are you ready to die for it?”
People who fight wars drag everyone in their proximity towards that simplistic binary yes/no take-a-side mentality. Where the stake is their life itself.
They care for their territory, ideology, and resources so badly that they are ready to die for it.
Even worse, they are finding themselves within a self-reinforcing loop of violence losing connection to the original cause. War then just becomes about killing or getting killed. No matter what for anymore.
To stop the war is to take a side. Wars have never been stopped by “neutrality”.
This is why “peace” at its core (in this context, at least) is about death anyway.
But why should somebody want to die for something?
What if one simply wants to live
(for anything, for nothing)
What if the only thing one is ready to put their life for is life itself?
In that case, the only plausible response to the simplistic binary trap (yes/no, war/peace, kill/get killed) is to simply walk around it:
– “What is the model of the gun you’re pointing at me?”
– “I’m sorry, but I’m so stressed that I’m going to have an epileptic fit right now and I’m afraid I can’t think properly to be able to answer your question…”
– اللہ کے نام کے ساتھ جو بے انتہا رحم کرنے والا، بِن مانگے دینے والا (اور) بار بار رحم کرنے
It’s not about taking no sides.
It’s about taking the side outside of the limited range of options proposed by the state of war.
Refusing the binary traps, refusing the fear, and acting from one’s own dynamic position of life itself.
Proposing a new context.
This requires practice. Not the practice of fighting back, not the practice of praying, not the practice of sharing Facebook posts, not the practice of closing down, not the practice of grief, not the practice of escapism, or defeatism. But the practice of opening up new worlds and new possibilities in extreme circumstances where there is no time to think. Developing intuition. Coming into a direct dynamic relationship with whatever it is that is outside in order to survive and to develop. Finding points of contact in order to redirect the flow. Not banging against the wall, crying in front of it, or pretending like it’s not there. Rather, changing direction. Even better – together. Adaptation.