“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” By James Porteous

Photo: ©UNICEF/ Almahbashi. Millions of children across Yemen face serious threats due to malnutrition, in particular, and the lack of basic health services. All these threats are caused by the ongoing war and hostilities in the country (file photo).

16 May 2022 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News

By Jame Porteous

Violence begets violence (or “hate begets hate”) is a concept described in the Gospel of Matthew, verse 26:52. The passage depicts a disciple (identified in the Gospel of John as Peter) drawing a sword to defend against the arrest of Jesus but being told to sheath his weapon:

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”


More than 70 children have been killed in the Israel-Palestine conflict. These are their names and faces (2021)

More than 70 children have been killed in the Israel-Palestine conflict. These are their names and faces

My, how we love this notion that we have moved beyond the hallmark cliches about violence.

Violence is not something we can prevent, we are told. It is something we should avoid seeing.

UN humanitarian office puts Yemen war dead at 233,000, mostly from ‘indirect causes’

UN humanitarian office puts Yemen war dead at 233,000, mostly from ‘indirect causes’ (2020)

And so we continue to hide ‘real’ violence, the carnage of wars and incursions and forced calamities.

We pixelate ‘offensive’ images of violence and issue warnings that ‘what you are about to see might be distressing to some people.’

Well, in truth, the footage of survivors traipsing out of a bombed hospital in Ukraine or digging through rubble looking for innocent survivors in Palestine or Syria should be distressing to everyone.

The U.N. children’s agency says Syria’s 10-year-long civil war has killed or wounded about 12,000 children and left millions out of school in what could have repercussions for years to come in the country

UNICEF: Syria’s war has killed and wounded 12,000 children (2021)

Instead, we glorify our resilience. The home-grown violence makes us stronger. More devoted to our freedoms.

We can take whatever the mean old world throws at us! 

Except we are part of that mean old world. And much of the crap being thrown comes from us.

And given that we blindly condone this violence, should we not be held accountable for these actions?

There is something almost repulsive in Ukraine's daily death-toll updates.

The War in Ukraine is but the most recent example, of course.

This time, like so many times before, we are only asked to take a moment out of our busy lives to mourn the passing of the innocent civilians trapped without warning in yet-another manufactured crossfire hurricane. (It’s all right, Jack. In fact it’s a gas.)

But think about this: How on earth did the perpetrators, and by that I mean Russia, Ukraine, and the United States, manage to whip up so many earnest, pro-war cheerleaders?

And tell me, how have we failed -yet again- to understand one of the most basic tenants of human nature: All who draw the sword will die by the sword.

We are dying by the sword! Right now. Every time we support wars that cause the deaths of innocent people from our bombings or starvation or neglect, we are also dying from that sword.

In the meantime, yes, we will continue seeing violence and starvation and abject poverty in the streets of America, Sir Lanka, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, and Ukraine. Of course, we will.

But we don’t learn from our past or current mistakes. We will continue to look beyond the horrors and keep our eyes on the prizes, our democracy, that beacon of freedom, and the economic workhorse of the world, the envy of all freedom-loving people throughout the world.

The number of dead in Syria’s civil war has passed 100,000, the U.N. chief said Thursday, calling for urgent talks on ending 2½ years of violence even as President Bashar Assad’s government blasted the United States as an unsuitable peace broker.

UN: More 100,000 now dead in Syria’s civil war (2013)

All we need to do is to continue to avert our eyes every time some home-grown lone-wolf explodes or our bombs murder innocent people. It is a small price to pay for our freedom.

Well, maybe it is time to grow up and wake up. Maybe it is time to stop blaming others for our manufactured mayhem and take a stand for something that really matters

This current ‘sword’ we are standing up for was never going to end well. It was never meant to end well. It was meant to do exactly what it is doing.