Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thoughts On War

Not having experienced a war first hand, and living through a period, the Vietnam War, in which a lot of kids my age were being killed for their country, and seeing a lot of kids 'dodging' their drafts and coming to live in Canada for their own reasons, having grown up listening to the horrifying stories my father experienced during his stay in London during the Second World War, and always feeling that war is an unjustified means to an end, I find myself thinking about the justification of my country getting involved with other countries to put an end to Gadhafi's violence against his people.

That first sentence is a very long one but was intentional on my part. My mind has been racing lately trying to come to terms with how I really feel about war. At first I felt that we were justified in attempting to put an end to Gadhafi's rule in Libya.

I thought that it was our duty to stop a tyrant's persecution of his own people. And the fact that there is a United Nation's Resolution 1973, to approve aggression on any country that is participating in 'large scale' attacks on civilians, I thought that if the UN is sanctioning this then it must be alright and justified.

On Monday I wanted to use a quote for my Contemplative Monday post that summed up my feelings on war and one that I 'could live with'.

I looked through some books I have hoping to find exactly what I wanted. Nothing. Then I thought I would 'google' it.....'war quotes'.

There were hundreds! And a lot by Abraham Lincoln I noticed, as well as by Albert Einstein. Both very smart and learned men and both whom I admire.

But I still couldn't find something that suited what I wanted to say. You see, I wanted someone to say that war was okay under certain circumstances and would fit the situation in north Africa perfectly.

I soon realized that this was not the case for the parameters I had set. This was also verified when I came to a lone quote by the Dalai Lama. Basically it said that there was no justification to war no matter the circumstances. For the exact quote click here.

I realized I had been trying to justify for the past few days the actions taken by my country and others because I felt really bad for the people who were being persecuted. And I still do. I thought that two wrongs would make a right.

I know that not everyone feels this way. In fact, I realize that not too many people feel this way at all!  

I think that there are other ways to end violence, and war is not one of them. Peaceful negotiation is one way to do it. It will probably take a very long time for this to ever happen and become a viable way to end conflict in this world of ours but it has to start sometime. And now is the best time.

By just saying that it would never work and that it is a very naive notion particularly in this day and age, is, I feel, a complete cop-out. Think of future generations. Imagine what it would be like for them to never have to fear and experience the violence of war like most of us do every day of our lives.....either on the 'front lines' or looking at it on television.

I was feeling very angry at Gadaffy and others like him. Then I realized he was just 'part' of the problem that has been perpetuating itself for millennia.

Wishful thinking? Absolutely not. We as a species are much more capable of controlling our destiny than for which we give ourselves credit.

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