Although Powerful Peace is about reducing conflict, conflict sometimes increases spontaneously. As I’ve always maintained, two primary roots of conflict are ignorance and misunderstanding – today misunderstanding jumped up and gave me a splendid spinning back kick right in the nose.
[At the end of this article I will provide the link to my original piece on Reverend Terry Jones, the planned Qur’an burning, and predictions that it would inspire justification for violence.]
It had been an enjoyable first month or so at Twitter.com. I got to meet and “Friend” or “Follow” with hundreds of very interesting and – just the way I like it – diverse personalities. We discussed an extremely diverse range of topics, usually with respect, and I could sense the ”applied” smart power (mutual understanding) of peacemaking flourishing all over the dialogue. (By the way, if you’re looking for me over there my TwitterID is “RobDuBois” and you can Follow by clicking the “T” Twitter button at the top of this page.)
I say “had been enjoyable.” This morning I “Retweeted” a comment from a person who addressed a connection between the Qur’an burning of Florida’s Reverend Terry Jones and a recent gruesome spasm of violence in Afghanistan. Recall that SecDef Gates, SecState Clinton, General Petraeus and others emphatically warned exactly as I had (but after I did) while the Rev’s self-promoting circus was playing out: On September 10th of 2010 I declared that his desecration of holy texts would serve as valuable ammunition for very bad men to manipulate press…and could result in mutilations and deaths.
That warning never so much as hinted that the violence would be justified.
One of my respected Special Operations colleagues on Twitter interpreted my admonition to hold Rev Jones accountable for starting fires around our soldiers as “blaming” the pastor for the murders themselves. It isn’t. Murderers are murderers and irresponsible self-promoters are irresponsible self-promoters. Each is accountable for himself.
Unfortunately, Twitter isn’t a WordPress blog; 140 characters cannot convey such important distinctions. More unfortunately, some of our other SOF friends saw this back-and-forth…and inadequate space for writing clear explanations devolved further into heated assumptions. At one point one of my friends speculated that I believe “provocations by radical Mullahs clearly warrants our exterminating them [Muslims].”
Long story slightly shorter, if you want to see the actual string you’ll need to look at my Twitter Timeline (again, RobDuBois). I don’t want to re-hash that here. The purpose of this article is to spotlight how easily misunderstanding can spin into angry comments (some were sarcastic and insulting) and drag people further from a shared and stable – and forward-moving – respect.
Here’s the link to my original article from last year. It says most of what I wished Twitter would let me say today…: