Monday, April 13, 2015

Glorious War

In New Zealand the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli, part of World War I is being remembered. Australians and New Zealanders (ANZACs) have regularly commemorated it. Even young children have in recent times become more aware and involved in the event. Being the 100th anniversary means much more emphasis on the anniversary, as you could imagine. In the media there is much talk of the sacrifices made by those who went and especially those that didn't return.

While I understand the remembrance, I wonder about the emphasis. There seems a glory is attached to the ultimate sacrifice of dying in war. This is the part that sits uncomfortably with me. Should children remember war with any thoughts of glory? Would it not be better to remember war as a futile sacrifice that young men made? They lost their future lives - and all that would have brought - to fight a war that could have been avoided. All wars can be avoided. While there exist leaders who are prepared to forgo talks and mediation to resolve a dispute violently, then warfare is always on the horizon.

Surely that is the lesson humans need to understand. War is a failure of human rulership. There is nothing glorious about it. My maternal grandfather was involved in WW I in Russia in the medical corps while in WW II my father was in a combative role in Burma as part of the RAF. Neither spoke of what they witnessed with any pride. Both had a negative view of war. I am glad of their attitude that helped me to see that war isn't a good thing, nothing to be proud of. I don't think the current generation is getting that message. If I am correct in that belief, then sadly we have learned nothing.

Those who fail to learn lessons from history are doomed to repeat it.

This didn't need to happen and there is no glory in it

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