In New Zealand, the Maoris have a ceremonial dance called the haka. Today it’s performed at rugby matches and consists of the New Zealanders making stylized threatening gestures, including sticking out their tongues at their competitors, crouching, jumping and chanting. It is deeply rooted in Maori history, but for all its energy and passion, it does not do what it is intended to do, which is frighten their opponents, and the rugby match goes on.
The political history of humankind is filled with the haka and the violence that was meant to come next. Even at the great turning points, the deepest agonies of humanity, life went on. This was no comfort to those caught in the moment. They died, but in the end, so did everyone. That is of course too Olympian a perspective for most of us, and certainly for those of us with children and grandchildren, but there is a terrible truth to it.
On a lesser level, there are moments when the haka goes on, when all sides are determined to fright