Why use an atom bomb when a spear will do . . .
Posted April 17, 2008on:
We do not get back what we put in
A long time ago when I was as young and frisky as any Gen Yes, I was furious about the unethical and aggressive behavior of a colleague. I was fortunate to work in an organization where mentorship was generous.
An older colleague (well, he seemed old to me . . . he was about 38 at the time!) said to me, why use an atom bomb when a spear will do? I was young, but I was already wise enough to know that focused behavior has a downside – underestimating side-effects – so thought I didn’t feel like backing off, I did.
The idea of using small, well thought out actions is a corollary of chaos theory – the idea that a butterfly can flap its wings and set off a perturbation that ripples through the world and causes a hurricane in London. The central idea of chaos theory is that
effect is not proportional to the effort!
Sometimes a single small action matters. Use a spear if you can. Here is an example.
Through the actions of committed Trade Unionists, a people were saved
Yesterday, I went to bed knowing that the “An Yue Jiang” was anchored off Durban with 3 million rounds of ammunition destined for Zimbabwe. I was sick to my stomach.
Today, we woke to the news that, despite clearance from the South African cabinet to offload these and other munitions and trans-ship them several thousand kilometers across SA soil to Zimbabwe, SATAWU, the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union, have refused to handle them. Well, we must see how this unfolds. But I could place a healthy bet that this action has cemented relations between the people of Zimbabwe and South Africa. God be with you!
This is how communities are made. Later generations may forget, but those of us who are here never will.
Thank you, brothers! And thank you from all the people in Zimbabwe.