The use of torture in Iraq had destructive consequences for the country’s future, and teaches us one thing: sectarian warfare was not the ‘natural’ result of Iraq’s diverse population. Rather, it was the product of divide-and-rule practices, whether carried out by the country’s despotic ruler or by invading foreign armies seeking to impose their own brand of governance.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up