It’s been getting harder and harder for me to write about war. I remember the days as a kid when I’d write a thousand words on a war essay when three hundred was all I needed. Always I was the soldier of honour, ever obedient, saving innocents, defeating the enemy. I revelled in the hunt, the chaos of battle, the imaginary control and discipline I wielded when swinging a sword or pulling the trigger of a rifle.
Those days are over.
Now I struggle to form my thoughts into words. I am no longer the soldier, but the civilian. I rage impotent as everything I know is torn to pieces, I quail at the choice of running away into the unknown or watching my world being destroyed around me. I feel the loss of loved ones, neighbours, family, and with every death I feel like a part of me has died with them. I feel hatred boil up inside me, and even though I am a peace-loving person I wish for a weapon to take revenge on those who would take everything away from me.
It is not difficult for me to see why one would hate a foreign soldier, or turn to religious groups to find a purpose to continue living. The black and white of evil and good have turned into shades of gray, and colours of every kind only add to the confusion.
In Baghdad, a junior doctor is struggling to keep her life together. In Zimbabwe, politicians have turned on the people they are supposed to have served. In Sri Lanka, a family is packing their things to come to England for the foreseeable future. Despite our gains in Science and Technology, despite there being another winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, despite the ever-growing economy, wars are still being raged, and people are still dying. How can we as human beings not cry out for an end to this terror?
Our ability to deny what we don’t want to see never ceases to amaze. We consciously block out everything that would slow us down. Anything incompatible with our worldview is discarded, whether it be politics, friends, or even family. That is likely the way some of us deal with a world that is slowly going mad. Denial offers peace of mind, no matter how bad the reality may be.
It is a luxury that we cannot afford.
Shutting out the rest of the world does not mean it doesn’t exist, or that the suffering people feel will grow less painful. Nor does it mean that the injustices we ignore will not stain our history. All that is required for Evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.My appeal to you, therefore, is simple - Please, no matter how painful the world becomes, no matter how much destruction is thrown at us, we must never lose our humanity. We must continue to feel love, pain, joy, and fear: for losing our emotions makes us nothing more than animals.