“There is nothing that war has ever achieved that we could not better achieve without it.”
Those who fight a battle never win it, those who win never participate in it. Can victory and defeat be any more subjective, rather misleading, than in the context of war?
I saw ‘Dunkirk’ this weekend, and since then have been thinking about wars. I also must admit that it is a very unsettling feeling. Although I haven’t seen many war movies, this wasn’t the first. Yet it had a snowball effect, just like the progression of this brilliant creation of Cristopher Nolan. It is inclusive, just like a war that devours all of its individual objectives; small wins, bigger losses, thousands of lives and their value. Individual terms of those who declare wars are subject to destruction of countless dreams and purposes. Who wins and who loses is just a matter of where you stand.
Dunkirk led to a mental chain reaction and I ended up watching two documentaries on Britain’s multiple invasions in Afghanistan in the 19th century. Why were these wars declared? Because of the power struggle in Central Asia between Britain and Russia. One of my favourite authors, Ayn Rand (hated by most Americans and Russians) says, “Statism needs war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by producing.” Precisely the ideology of Britain at that time, like a vulture clasping India tight in its claws. Why India gave in, is another story of social weakness and political communalism altogether!
I often hear people justifying war, sitting in their cosy surroundings. They say it paves way for a much-needed cycle of destruction and reconstruction. Some Indians wish that their government and military forces should declare a war on Pakistan. India and Pakistan have had 4 wars in the past, did it make anything better? Do we even understand war or the purpose behind it? We hate the British because they ruled us, we hate our cricket team when it loses to Pakistan, we hate Donald Trump; but we love the idea of war. How convenient is it to hate facts, ignore weaknesses and love to blame and kill others?
Are the soldiers fighting a war or dying in a war the ones to declare that war in the first place? “It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking to you of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.”- Ayn Rand. War is a choice the governments make. Declaration of war is a secret of failure to make other choices. And what choice does a soldier fighting that war has if he survives? The freedom to either hate or forgive the decision of war and live his second life in between.
Why did Britain go around colonising countries including India? Because instead of producing its own resources, it made a CHOICE to invade and loot other countries. The thing about evil choices is that they are a conscious act; they have a pattern and they always have a substitute, a lesser evil one! Some people take pride in their power to make those wicked choices and may also justify the same, but its always the innocents who have to reconcile for the wrongs of others.
The common man, especially in a democracy, has some options too. Primarily, when they decide who they want to give such powers to; and secondly, to tolerate or change those powers. We also have a choice to distribute powers between what we see and hear, and what we comprehend and feel. We don’t have to submit our weakness to their selfishness, but our voice to their reason. The very concept of democracy fails if its people sit helplessly and surrender to the evils of leaders they choose. All we need to do is remember, that it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird!