Culture kills. That's what many peacekeepers are learning, out there.
But it's not considered politically correct to repeat this observation on
returning home. But people have to know. So listen up.
as we know it, is a rather recent phenomenon. In the past, when there was
unruliness somewhere, and outsiders felt compelled to do something about it,
the usual procedure was to go in and burn, kill, rape and take hostages until
the locals agreed to behave. That sort of behavior is no longer acceptable,
although a number of Islamic leaders plead religious or cultural grounds as
they attempt to preserve this ancient tradition. But Western peacekeepers have
to behave, and while they have been able to bring peace to many hotspots, they
have noted a disturbing sameness to the places they are called on to help. All
of these places have a culture that encourages mayhem and misrule, and
discourages what more peaceful folk call "civil society." And it all comes down
to the local customs, the things that are considered acceptable, or at least
works like this. If you compare those cultures that have been successful (high
standard of living and general attitude of accomplishment and contentment),
with those that have not (anarchy, unhappiness and a high death rate), you find
a number of key cultural values missing in the unlivable places.
there's corruption and a lack of rule of law. It's generally rule by bully. And
the peacekeepers have to deal with the bullies.
there is a lack of optimism and belief in the ability to improve one's life.
This is typical in cultures that rely heavily on "tradition," and punish those
who don't toe the line. Most Americans are descended from people who fled such
levels of educations, especially for women (who, after all, raise the
children), and not a lot of respect for education in general.
towards new ideas. While everyone has some favorite "traditions," some cultures
fail to differentiate between tradition and law. There are places where you can
be killed or injured for offending a local tradition. This tends to create a
general hostility towards outsiders, and many innovations.
are several more common features found in unhappy places, but they all spring
from cultural customs and habits. Things we just do, because that's the way
it's done. Bringing peace will only be temporary, unless you can change the
culture. That is not only difficult, but is generally frowned upon as being
"culturally insensitive." Well meaning people everywhere are working hard to
find a way out of this conundrum. It's going to take a while.