Wednesday, May 8, 2013

All Quiet on the Syrian Front

In other news, over 80000 people have died in the Syrian civil war since its beginnings in 2011. Some fear close to half of these are civilians. Towns are being leveled,  magnificent pieces of history are no more, women are being raped, there are dead and decomposing bodies everywhere. I've watched the war from  footage online. It is spectacular and sad.

I'm a pacifist. And I'm not Syrian. Perhaps its hard to imagine the anger of a group of people who are absolutely fed up of oppressive regimes that they will take arms just as it is hard to imagine the grotesque proportions that the need for revenge takes when the other side seek to crush their enemies in the most devastating way. 

However, when I take a step back and watch the teens that fight the Syrian War whichever side they maybe on, that's when I know something is wrong.

Is it responsible on the part of adults to encourage them to arm themselves, fight alongside and die for their motherland? What's their mean life expectancy out on the field, fighting with no helmets or body armor, firing guns they have no experience with, pluggin in mortar shells the wrong way, hiding in torn down buildings when they are easy prey to fighter bombers above?

Recall the 1930's classic "All Quiet on the Western Front" in which a group of German school kids were reprogrammed by Kantorek into disillusionment with the idea of patriotic martyrdom. The teacher himself had never stepped foot in the trenches or held a gun.

Teachers can invent a cult of a war, seducing easy targets in listeners into dying for their country in the name of patriotism. In the movie, we find that the sorry youngsters would face the reality of the hopelessness and the madness of a war with the French as each of them either perished or watched others perish while inexperienced civilian politicians sat outside of the theater and wishfully plotted the army's march to Paris.

War is ugly. Patriotism isn't so glorious. The testament of a real solider should be universal. Disillusioned humans will fight on in Syria and perish while the world watches. I think both rebels and Syrian government forces need a moment of soul searching if they want a non-violent option besides war. And save the young crowd. They probably don't know any better.

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