War

There was snowfall a few days ago. Some of it has melted away, and the ground is able to breathe again through the gaps in between the white.

Nice to see you. Let me help you with your bags. It seems you are going away? I do hope you plan to return. Sometimes though, journeys are only one way. Human beings make choices that dispatch them, or others, to places from where there is no coming back. One such choice is that to go to war. Collective aggression, collective punishment, collective grief.

Checkpost. I don’t think I have my license on me today. Let’s try a smile instead.

Back to war. The closest I have come to the battlefield is when the corolla’s engine has been acting up, billowing dark smoke and producing a tank-like roar when given the throttle. Scary situation though that is, others have not been so lucky. Powerless in the face of hostile politics,opposing military doctrine, differing ideologies, and failed international institutions, millions of the world’s people have woken to staccato gunfire and the familiar whining sound of metal encased napalm.

Instant annihilation for some, protracted misery for others. You wonder whether those who are left behind are ‘lucky’ at all. Often, massive populations have been displaced and families have witnessed their lives’ efforts being reduced to debris and mangled flesh. Left with nothing but the clothes on their back and images of lost loved ones on their mind, they have fled their homes for a new, tainted reality.

However, while many lives have ended, there has been no end to aggression. War has morphed so that in some countries, it is defined in such loose terms that it becomes an obtuse constant. The threat of violence has become diffuse so that adrenalin rush has been replaced with a prevailing sense of unease. While there has returned the concept of ‘necessary’ war, there is not enough discussion of ‘necessary’ peace. Every few years a new front is opened, but the reality remains the same: human beings unable to understand each other, reverting to their animal instinct to fight. Old widows still roam the streets of Afghanistan, their faces wrinkled by torment and the lack of stability. The Middle East still reeks of injustice, intolerance, and oppression. Pakistanis battle against extremism to salvage their identity and return to the noble aspirations the country was founded upon. Troops from NATO’s 28-member coalition remain deployed.  A small sample of the numerous conflicts in progress around the world.

We will end by remembering that war is a man-made monster unleashed upon the earth, and the hope that one day, through our struggles for peace, it will be shackled and cast away permanently.

Before leaving, let us remember 1945. It was the year of the German campaign against Ukraine, and it led to the death of a quarter of the Ukrainian population. The following clip is a young Ukrainian artist’s illustration of the ‘Great Patriotic War.’

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5 thoughts on “War

  1. Wow. I am stunned. That has to be one of the most beautiful videos I have ever seen. Thank you.

    And this post leaves me in awe, and, as sad as it is, this is exactly why we need people like you to change the world.

    1. One line that you have written has stayed with me since I read this post: “While there has returned the concept of ‘necessary’ war, there is not enough discussion of ‘necessary’ peace.” How easy it is that we can stand here, declaring a war noble, just, and necessary, while the reality on the ground is absolute terror and continuous heartache. This artist’s work, coupled with the music and her expression as she creates the art, captures the humanity that suffers in war. I think the audience’s reaction shows us clearly that although it may be over, the trauma of war stays with all of us for a long time. Thank you for reminding us to look beyond the often hypnotizing rhetoric of necessary wars and asking us to think about the necessity of peace.

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