War And Its Victims
There are books that simply entertain us and then there are books that educate us. Chris Hedges' book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning is that book.
In Chris Hedges' book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, there is one story that I find striking. It helps to exemplify and educate us about what really goes on at the time of war.
In the 1990s, there was a war between Bosnians, Serbs, and Croatians. The people in the city of Gorazde fell under some hard times. Electricity, gas, and water supply were cut off. If that wasn't enough, there were also severe food shortages that left families devastated.
It was especially life threatening to those families with infants. Infants were not getting the right nutrition needed for their development and so they ended up dying in large numbers.
One of the families referred to in the book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning was the Soraks (Bosnian Serbs). They too went through a great deal of suffering during the war.
One day, they were forced to move out of their lot, They didn't want to move out of the place they called home and so they refused to do so. As a result, they were thought of as traitors for refusing to cooperate.
One of their sons was taken to fight in the war but ended up losing his life. Their other son Zoran was taken for interrogation but never returned. With their two sons gone, the family was left childless. To make matters worse, Zoran's wife gave birth to a baby girl. Now usually, that is wonderful news, but not during times of war.
As mentioned before, there was a very little supply of food, if any. Growing infants need the right nutrition in order to grow up healthy but more importantly to survive. The baby girl was not getting the right nutrition. She was given tea because that was the only thing available at the time, but that didn't help. She began slipping. If she didn't change her diet she would die just like other innocent infants.
It is hard to believe in miracles because they don't really come true. But for the Soraks, it was definitely a miracle. On the fifth day, a strange man came to their house. The family had never seen him before. It turned out to be Fadil Fejzic (a Muslim) who owned a cow. So when he came to the Soraks' house he did not come empty handed, bringing with him a half liter of milk. He kept coming back for 442 days and giving up more milk to the family.This was a very generous deed. He didn't even accept money for the milk, and that was a large amount of milk that he supplied to the family.
No one had expected Fadil to do what he did, yet he helped out the family a great deal by saving the baby girl. Unluckily, his cow didn't survive the war, and Fadil had nothing left but rotten apples and a worn coat to keep him from freezing during the cold months. The act of kindness that was done on the part of Fadil was something the family would never forget and be forever grateful for.
This story helps to illustrate that even in times of war, there are some goodhearted people out there, who are willing to risk their lives to save others. Yet, there are plenty of people who sit and do nothing to help others in need. It is not right to say that everyone is cruel or heartless. It is just the masses that are too afraid to act in the right way, in turn becoming guilty because they are siding with the bad guys. Innocent people should not have to suffer because of those individuals that have a hunger for war and acts of violence, or those that are too blind to see what is really going on around them.
The writer of this book claims that "... we all have a will of our own, a will that is independent of the state or nationalistic cause." (pg 53) This point is wonderfully illustrated through the story of the Soraks and Fadil Fezjic, who had the will to act to help someone in need, even if there was some discomfort involved. Sadly, it is hard to find too many people like that in today's society.
© 2013 Lena Kovadlo
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