By William Markiewicz

In all dynamic situations, whether of technological or social character, professionals know that there must exist a pressure-release valve. There are forces in the universe we cannot completely dominate and we must find formulas of compromise that keep those structures, as well as ourselves, intact. Engineers don't discuss with rocks; they know better and adapt to the circumstances.

In the humanistic domains, good educators, whether secular or religious, end, like engineers, by acknowledging their limits. They accept the pressure-release valve principle and so they become more human themselves. Therefore, for example, Commodore Eric Lerhe, commander of the Canadian Navy's West Coast warship fleet, young enough to be fit for service and still be interested in sex, shouldn't be treated too harshly for a minor misbehaviour.

But most of those who see their power as limitless, like politicians, animal trainers and most of the army hierarchy tend to abuse their power. They use the axe, taking for granted 'collateral damage' often irreversible for their animal or human victims. Even if the institution itself remains intact, the reinholders must keep in mind the necessity of a pressure-release valve, otherwise the damage will not remain 'only collateral,' but may, in the long run, affect the institution itself.

Politicians seem to be the most stubborn in their experiments. The reinholders always check after the fact to find out how far was too far. Like vivisectionists, they are used to seeing dead bodies on the fields of their experiments; living matter is endlessly disposable. The broken dike for example, result of an engineering error, is more terrifying and spectacular for the mass media then some bloody ethnic strife here or there. The politicians will always control the mass media, imposing their point of view concerning the situation. They will initiate a hunt for the guilty, usually more along political than judicial lines. Some will be condemned, right or wrong, and the game continues -- Belfast, Macedonia, Bosnia, Israel, Lebanon...

How many more generations will have to spill their blood before rulers finally understand that people shouldn't be forced to live together in the name of muddled philosophies and anachronistic laws? There is no place for a pressure-release valve in relations among individuals or societies. Dividing frontiers along ethnic lines is the only solution toward lasting peace and it will take time, time, until this simple truth finally prevails.

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