By William Markiewicz

Since remote times, tribes have transformed themselves into societies; the principal transformations were probably a creation of soldiers and peasants. The distribution of roles was simple: you nourish us we'll defend you. The soldiers selected leaders, who became kings and ended by oppressing the peasants with the soldiers' help. This provoked revolutions, most recently in the Arab world. The ultimate problem: how the non-armed can defend themselves against those armed ones whose good intentions (sooner or later) may change into bad? The simple answer would be: everybody should be armed. The Polish king Wladyslaw the Fourth said to the peasant delegation that complained about brutality of the nobles: "Don't you have pitchforks, scythes, knives?" The wise king knew that kings couldn't be everywhere, and the people must have some local means to defend themselves. Today, when the situation is too difficult for self defence through simple means, the question remains: how can civilians defend themselves and avoid total chaos? How to "legitimize" armed civilians? The satisfying answer cannot come from the Upper Ranks; the Power will not share its legitimate powers -- it's like the Opera giving equal value to Zarzuela. In my view, the answer must come from the lower powers, from those who are nearer the ordinary people: mayors, ombudsmen... Those "lower" powers should negotiate with the Superior powers on behalf of ordinary local groups to more or less prevent abuse by their superiors. The dramas in Libya, Egypt, Syria... should warn us what happens when the disarmed demonstrate against brutal armed enemies. The solutions may be difficult, perhaps impossible at present, but the thought must persist as long as the problem, more or less potential, persists. Arming individuals is certainly no solution -- collective protection is sooner or later unavoidable.

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