Before civilisation and the rule of law, murders were often dealt with by relations and friends of the murder victim. The idea of “an eye for an eye”. The idea that a murderer deserves to be murdered. Each murder generated a reason for a revenge murder and the continuation of violence had no logical end. Feuds went on for generations. When civilisations developed the tribe or state took on the role of punishing murderers, then, when the state had exacted punishment the aggrieved family and friends could know that justice had been done and the flow of violence was halted.
International law attempts to control wars by making attacking a state the most serious of all crimes. Leaders, in law, are personally responsible for the crime of attacking. Several countries remain outside of international law and civilisation.
In practice, big countries, like USA, Russia, and UK, get away with aggression. Nevertheless, the wisdom of not resorting to revenge remains the best hope for peace and security in every international dispute. Otherwise only the arms manufacturers and those who win reconstruction contracts win.
Hatred breeds hatred
and you have excelled in barbarism.
But how can you change
when you are overwhelmed by suffering?
Is it possible to suffer beyond belief,
to lose all you have worked for,
all you have loved,
Revenge calls out to you,
“Take me, and put an end
to all who gave you grief.”
Revenge can only put an end
10 July 99
For further insight into this topic in this blog see Comparative Terrorism.