When I was young, we had a poster on the wall, or maybe I saw it somewhere else, anyway, the poster didn’t depict much it just had the words: “what if no one went to the war” on it. It was something like that, but that thought never left me and is still thought-provoking.
What if Putin or some American president declares war and all the soldiers stay home, including the law enforcers. It will not work, of course, but it reminds me of the communist and their call to the world’s proletariat to unite. The people with power and the systems they serve can only function if a large part of “powerless” people follow their orders, like sending them to war or suppressing in their name the people that are unwilling.
I know from my own experience that standing up, literally, in a meeting at work can feel good, but when you tell what has to change and you look around to your colleagues for a sign of support, that is not coming. In private, most of your colleagues complained about how work is organized, but they don’t dare to speak up when confronted with authority. For most, it is just too much hassle, and they don’t want to be seen as a troublemaker, others are just too cowardly.
I remember a lieutenant in the Marines, he was a little too sure of himself and proud of his rank. I don’t think it is bad to be proud of something you achieved, but you have to make sure you earned it or at least, are worth it. He often got us “killed” in exercises, and you understand that bugged me, what if it was real… I let him know what I thought of him, not the lieutenant but the guy who was only 2 years older than me and was obviously in it way over his head. Well, that was detention for me and probably some bad remarks in my dossier. The Sargeant that told me this told me also in private that he agreed with me but that you couldn’t say these things against a superior. And I always thought the point was to stay alive and weed out the weakest link.
You might think: “why did he go into the military when he first wrote about not going to war.” There was still a draft in the Netherlands in the early nineteen nineties, and because I quit school, I got called in. My mother wasn’t happy, the pacifist she is, but she also taught me to think for myself and not take her lessons for granted. So I went to the Marines because that would mean adventure and not just 12 months of boredom or playing the role of a conscientious objector with an inherited opinion, it would be unhealthy to have an opinion and stick to it when your 18. It was an adventure, and I learned a lot during those three years. One of the lessons is that not going to war is an option, but once you are confronted with an “enemy” in person, you will defend yourself and the people you are with.
I feel for the soldiers on both sides in the war that is going on In Ukraine, the world of a soldier gets really small, and it is hard to imagine if you have never been there. It is just mindboggling that one man can decide to put half the world in crisis and send thousands of people to their deaths. And Putin might be seen as an autocratic madman but don’t forget that the so-called American democracy did the same thing when it invaded the sovereign state of Iraq, killing an estimated 150 000 civilians.
That we still live in a world where a small group of people can lure us all in the wrong direction tells me that we all still don’t know what the hell we are supposed to do on this earth. We still follow the biggest monkey because we have no better idea.
God created war so that Americans would learn geography. Mark Twain
Only the dead have seen the end of war. Plato
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 in the holy name of liberty or democracy? Mahatma Gandhi
If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war. Leo Tolstoy
The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, “Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
One thought on “Day 2377, shine a light.”
A very poignant read.