War. What can it do?
In War there is Peace?
Herodotus once said “In peace sons bury fathers, but war violates the order of nature, and fathers bury sons”. With the present violent acts happening in many parts of the world, what Herodotus said has some grain of truth. If this is so, why then do we have to engage in war? Haven’t we learned our lessons yet?
Looking at the brutal reality that we perceive in recent days, from the turmoil in Egypt, to the troubles in Libya and the looming crisis in Saudi Arabia, it made me realize how mistaken I am. Yes, we got a college degree, some even have a doctorate/masters degree but we only got the diploma. Not education. We did not learn to apply the true spirit of education. For if we did, then, we wouldn’t dare take advantage of the innocent, the weak, the oppressed, the poor.
I have often thought that we are more civilized than our ancestors considering that most of us have gone to school and acquired for ourselves some degree of education. Meaning, we should put into action what we have learned from the confines of our classrooms. We should be diplomatic and talk things through with civility even before it becomes such a huge issue.
But do we? No, we don’t. Instead, we use brawns. We use might. We use power. To what end? To gain more. To stay on top. To conquer and rule.
Have we got no sense at all? At the very least, our forefathers have the excuse of ignorance to justify their somewhat barbaric behaviour. Moreover, during those times, they have no recourse but to fight for what they hold dear-their country, their lands, their rights, their family.
What we have now is no longer a crusade for our liberty. Rather it is brought about by our greed for power and supremacy. The strong urge to dominate. To show our preponderance over another person or country weaker than ourselves.
With war comes the presence of destructive weapons and machineries. There is also the nuclear weapons that can annihilate everything within a blink of an eye. What have we been thinking? Even the ground where these weapons are hidden is not safe from its ill-effects
And what about the effects of war on our psychological and emotional well-being? Haven’t we learned and seen people still living in terror because of the carnage they experienced or witnessed years ago? And what of the lives of innocent civilians who by sheer bad luck happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time? What could possibly justify for their untimely demise? That they got in the way? That they were cursed? Or that it was destined that they die that way? That they are heroes?
And what of the families left behind by the soldiers and victims who were caught in the crossfire? Was it ever the intention of the mother to carry the painstaking burden of motherhood and gave love, the best way only mothers know how, only to let them die in her very own eyes? Or for the father to mold his son into a proper gentleman that he is only to be taken away by the call of service to country yet never to return. Or for the daughters to be sold into slavery, raped and murdered mercilessly?
All these and more are the horrifying aftermath of war. For what cause? Power. How high a price to pay for something not as valuable. How dismal an effect for a senseless cause. War does not solve anything. If anything, it aggravates things. After all, one country or a person attacked will not let the perpetrator get away with it. It or he will try to avenge itself or himself. I hope we are not yet too blinded by such greed. Too blinded not to see that in the end, it is still us and our children who will suffer and reap the fruits of what we planted.
Yes, at the end of war there is peace. Peace because by the time the war is through and these weaponry has done its work, life ceases to exist. What remnants that are left are debris and horrifying sense of loss. For those who will survive it, there is nothing left but grief and misery.
“Everything, everything in war is barbaric..But the worst barbarity of war is that it forces men collectively to commit acts against which individually they would revolt with their whole being.” – Ellen Key, War, Peace and the Future-