Sunday, 11 November 2018

To End All Wars

Hello dear readers!

Sometimes it’s tricky to find something to write about on any given Sunday. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes life has been eventful, or vexatious enough to provide a choice of material.

Today though, on the 11th day of the 11th month, there really is only one subject that can possibly do.

Lest We Forget
It is after all a day of remembrance. A day to hold in our minds people who we have never met, who’s names we may never know; people who sacrificed so very much for all the generations to come.

It’s a sombre thought, and rightly so.

Today, Remembrance Sunday actually falls precisely on November the Eleventh, and it marks the one hundredth anniversary of the event it initially was designed to commemorate, the end of the First World War, ‘the war to end all wars’. How far from the truth that epitaph has proven to fall.

Altogether Now
Since that first Armistice Day, there have, of course been many wars, including the Second World War (and as I write that I can’t help reflect on the absurdity of numbering world wars). Wars in which countless more people, of all nations were sent to fight and die, wars that, after the dust had settled presented a new chance to refocus, to feel the rawness of the wounds opened by the conflict and to promise to ourselves ‘Never Again’. A sentiment that never seems to last.

Today, it is possible that we live in a world that is becoming more and more fractured. A world that, although more connected than ever, through such modern wonders as the internet and it’s ability to allow us to communicate with people once so very far out of reach, is also more divided, a world in which the arbitrary things that separate us from each other, material thoughts, petty factionism whether through colour, creed, or nationality seem to be reported more and more widely. It is possible to see, if not the spectre of war rising around the globe, at the very least a growing of those cracks that divide us, a lack of understanding of ‘the other’ and, in at least some cases, an unwillingness to concede to any ideology that questions our own.

Us And Them
I’m not saying war is around the corner. I’m not saying that the world is on an unalterable course of destruction, but I do believe this compartmentalised thinking, this idea of ‘us and them’ can only lead to some kind of conflict unless we learn to talk to each other, to listen to each other, and to understand different points of view.

We are all the product of our environment. Without the community that we are raised in (however large or small one wishes to make that) it is questionable that we would have all the beliefs, values, and ideals that we do, be they political, religious, or sociological. We can grow beyond that though, we can realise that community can be bigger and more inclusive than we ever thought, not proscribed by borders or geographical accidents of birth, and we can do that by building understanding of that which is different from ourselves, rather than lashing out against it.

Never Again
Will that approach end war? No, it cannot. Not as long as there is just one power crazed despot in this world wielding power and threatening the safety of us all. I think that on a day like today though, it behoves us not just to remember the dead, but to remember the reasons for their death and to do our best to build bridges between us and minimise the rifts that the warmongers can drive their wedges through. It behoves us to remember the horrors of the past and to draw that line in the sand and honour the pledge ‘Never Again’.

Lest We Forget.

Until next time.

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