We all know what war is, but very few of us know what it really means, & I don’t claim to be one of them. But for me, it is a fascinating concept that we human beings can bring about so much death & destruction to the world, kill our own brothers, ravage entire nations & wipe out entire races on the pretext of war. So I decided to delve a little deeper into this subject due to my own interest.
War has been used for hundreds of thousands of years as a way of attaining a certain goal through the use of force. While some people see warfare as an inescapable and integral aspect of human culture, others argue that it is only inevitable under certain socio-cultural circumstances. But whatever the argument for war might be, it is never enough. There is always a heavy price to pay for a war, which is ultimately paid by all of humanity. Different nations who go to war give different reasons for it, but for the soldiers & common people who die in it, it does not matter what reason is given. Even if war is waged for a good cause, the ends seldom justify the means. War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy? So no single reason can be totally justified. Men are at war with each other because each man is at war with himself.
Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship,
or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All that is to be done is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. And it is being done in all parts of the world for thousands of years.
Even the concept of victory in a war is misguided. Even if an army is victorious, it suffers a number of casualties, & even among those who are alive on the V-Day, are psychologically scarred for the rest of their lives. To win a war simply means that the victorious side has killed the most number of people, & that is hardly something to be proud of. The world is full enough of hurts and mischance without wars to multiply them.
It’s true that those who have not experienced war can’t even begin to imagine what it is like. We often say in our day to day discussions that war is the solution to many of our problems. “If a neighbouring country is creating problems, then just wage a war & get it over with.” is the general thinking among many. But such things are said without fully grasping the magnitude of the damages that are suffered during a war. The enormous psychological impact alone is enough to drive people to hopelessness. Other than that, the economic impact upsets the development process & pushes the country into economic turmoil. When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die. War settles nothing. To win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.
But then there are some things that are more valuable than life itself. Freedom is one of them. Any war waged for freedom justifies itself, as living under the rule of some other power is not life at all, it is slavery. If the colonialized countries of the world sat quietly just because they valued the lives of their people, then
independence would never have been achieved in many parts of the world, & all those people would still have been slaves. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
The appalling things that have been done in the name of war, from the ancient Roman Conquest wars in which the prisoners of war were crucified upon a stake, to the World War 2 when the SS on the command of Adolf Hitler, orchestrated mass murders of the European Jews, Poles & other minorities to such an extent that after the war was over 6 million European Jews were dead ( what is commonly termed as The Holocaust) & even continue to be done till this day ( like the Bosnian Genocide of 1995), poses a very important question: Will God ever forgive us for what we have done to each other?
One thing is for certain, that we have not seen the last war yet but whenever that happens, it will be a welcome day because at that time, the whole of humanity can finally come together as one to rebuild what has been destroyed, without the fear of everything being ravished by war once again. The rulers of the world have to understand that the mark of a great ruler is not in his ability to win wars but in his capability to achieve peace. Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.