I saw part of the most heartbreaking movie the other night, called Brothers. I only started watching halfway through, but it was about 2 brothers. One was a pacifist and the other went to war in Afghanistan, I think. When he was there he was captured and forced to beat his friend to death or watch him be tortured and decapitated, and then be killed himself. It was a gruesome scene, I couldn’t watch it.
Of course he killed his friend and it destroyed him. He came home to his wife and two children. But he was full of rage and terror, his mind warped beyond redemption. It was so well acted, it tore me apart, because I know it was realistic. Of course it was biased in that those American films rarely show what some American soldiers do to Afghanistan people.
All I could think was “why does anybody let their husbands, their brothers, their sons, their friends join a damn army, let alone go to Afghanistan where they know they’re going see and possibly even commit atrocities”. What am I saying? It’s not just even men any more, women are joining up.
War and guns, killing and torture have all become such normal things. Who thinks twice when they see pictures of people with guns? Whoever stops and thinks any more what a gun actually does? Killing fields are a matter of everyday life now. People killed are just a statistic. But in reality, every death, every wound, is a dark and momentous tragedy.
Virginia Woolf wrote an interesting book ages ago called Three Guineas. Basically she asked the question why do women want to empower themselves along the same lines as men. She said is they life they have really all that great? She also pointed out the role women played in actively fomenting war by supporting their men who went out to fight. She said why don’t we just do it differently as women, why don’t we stop supporting the men who want to fight. I thought she had a good point.
If I knew somebody who wanted to join up I’d do everything in my power to disabuse them of their noble aspirations and help them wake up to the reality of what it’s really about. I’d find graphic pictures, I’d get them to talk to people whose lives and innocence had been destroyed. I wouldn’t give them rest until they realized what they were doing. I wouldn’t let them go.
Imagine if all the men and women in the world who wanted peace entitled themselves to say “no more war, we won’t pay taxes until our governments pull out of all wars, we won’t support our men going out to fight, we don’t accept that there is any nobility to war. War is not about protection, it’s about killing and atrocities. Stop it now.”
If the world couldn’t fight, it would find another way to solve its problems. Governments would have more money to spend, and they wouldn’t be able to overpower their neighbors, so they’d spend the money at home. No more superpowers – now there’s a happy concept.
All countries would have to take their noses out of everybody else’s business. What on earth would all the bullies do? Go to therapy, learn to play chess, learn how to debate. Now there’s a very happy concept. That would really be stepping out of history.