“They make a desert and call it peace”, a sentence that is often treated and quoted as a barbarian denunciation of the Roman rule but it is certainly nothing of this sort. This is an analysis by the Roman poet Tacitus.
Between the third century BC and the first century AD, Rome systematically expanded its control over the world, from the Sahara to Scotland. Tacitus, a leading member of the Roman elite, observed the consequences of this expansion and put himself into the place of the conquered.
Usually, i am very skeptical when it comes to claiming that today’s societies are very similar to the antiquity and thus, studying the history of the ancient world allows us to have a better understanding of the history of our own. Now looking back at the Roman history makes me question the way i view history and probably believe in its significance.
Tacitus spoke of making a desert and calling it peace. Nowadays, whatever form our “desert” take- whether the ruins that were left in Beirut when Israel and Hezballa ended the war, or will be left is Syria, the poppy fields in Afghanistan or the land of Ukraine- the world is still making them and calling them peace.
Articulating what the word “peace” means or implies isn’t as simple as it seems to be viewed. Especially after the concepts of positive and negative peace have been introduced. Moreover, there is substantial disagreement about the specific goals and the means to achieve them. Some theorists have argued that peace should exist only in its negative form (the avoidance of war), because once there is an ideal system achieved, peace becomes something to strive for, even to the point of going to a war. I personally disagree with this argument and the reason is simply that the existence of peace will give the world the freedom and the chance to invest its time and energy in things other than war. Plus that this argument indirectly implies that people will not feel the presence of peace, this can be true in one case which is the presence of negative peace where social justice isn’t taking into consideration.
Here i must clarify that by saying the presence of peace i do not mean the complete absence of conflict. To a certain extent disagreements and fights are natural processes of developing understanding of the other side. Resolving conflict initiate peace and thus love. Therefore, peace is the absence of hatred not only the absence of conflict.
Thereby, war is avoidable as long as the art of resolving conflict is taking into practice.
Here is my justification,
Everyone at some point of his/her life has heard others quarrelling, and most of the time it sounds merely unpleasant. People do say things like this, children as well as grownups and regardless how educated they are. Hence, the man who got annoyed from the other man’s remarks isn’t only saying that what happened did not please him. This man is also appealing to a certain standard of behaviour which he expects the other man to know about and follow. On the other hand, this action seems right to the other man as his standard is different.
The reason i gave this specific case is to explain that, in fact, this is how any conflict occurs, despite how big or small it end up getting.
Each party in any conflict normally have a particular sort of law of fair play or a decent behaviour that they expect from the other party to know and take into action. Oftentimes, both parties have different rules- these rules are normally unspoken- which initiates conflict.
Therefore, both parties must agree on a particular law which defined what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable and what is not in order to avoid starting a conflict.
The law of right and wrong was called