In mimetic theory, it is not differences that ultimately cause violence. It is the erosion and effacement of differences that spawns violence. And of course violence itself further effaces differences. Look at two men in a fight. In their violent embrace they look like images of each other. They in fact become doubles, caught and formed by violence.
That's why, in the face of violence, it is so important to turn away…as Christ said, to turn your cheek. To not look, and so become ensnared and enraged, and so fall into the endless, meaningless, cycles of violence, becoming a mirror image of your antagonist.
I thought about this while reading about our country's system of detaining suspected terrorists indefinitely without charge or trial. A few of these Muslim men have languished in prison now going on four years.
This has me siding with James Loney. You'll remember him as the Christian activist who spent four months in captivity in Iraq. The story reports that Loney is joining a march, the "freedom caravan", to protest this "policy".
James Loney, you see, doesn't see much of a difference between his captivity in Iraq and the Canadian incarceration of these Muslim men. We might want to argue with him about this but he does have experience on his side. And in fact I think he's mostly right about this.
Is it possible that we, at least in principle, are becoming like the ones we are at "war" with? Are we becoming mirror images? I guess I'm just wondering what a people, informed by the gospel of Jesus would do. Is this not at least a legitimate question?
Unfortunately, in light of the discovery and arrest of a terrorist ring in our country, I'm thinking that the resultant new and reawakened fears will avert any chance in changing this "policy".