War never changes.
It’s 2014, and the population keeps on the rise. It’s rather depressing that this is what I thought of at a moment’s turn. I’m a part of it all, and once in a while I have to stand back to take in the absurdity of it all. However, I feel no shame, even though I should, I share no pain even though I should, and I show no empathy. After all, what does any of these mean to me, I have no idea. Perhaps it’s the delivery, perhaps it’s the fact that I’m just a soulless bastard who holds no sympathy for those of strange. It is a bit of a topic that’s hard to swallow, so feel free to leave if you want.
People die every day, in the most horrible or peaceful way possible. Some get torn to shreds because they had a bomb dropped on their heads, some simply because their age was getting to them. I know this. You know this. Everyone knows this. I don’t care. You don’t care. Nobody cares. Unless of course when it’s someone close, or when it fits someone’s agenda. It’s a terrible reality if you think about it, but only because we perceive ourselves with much better morals than we truly have. It’s just the fact that not many people put that fact into perspective, and that we quickly forgot. Even if I touched you greatly with what I’m writing right now, I have little doubt it wouldn’t be in your mind for too long. It’s just the way humans are, although greatly overrated by anyone who wants to rally for a cause.
I was born in a country torn apart by thousands of years of war, and was still recovering from it at the time. The economy was still struggling, people barely had decent jobs and all it had was the belief in the future. I, of course, had no thoughts on it, because I was but a baby. That doesn’t make me any less guilty of being ignorant, but it was nevertheless an excuse. Later in life, I was taught of the horrors that my countrymen have faced, the losses that the nation has suffered, all for the ulterior motives of certain individuals. I was taught how righteous our soldiers were, how brave they fought, and how they sacrificed their lives in taking back the country’s freedom from an oppressive regime. Those stories I’ve heard, but none spoke to me. I didn’t know what war was like. I didn’t know what suffering was like. I didn’t know any of those people who have died for whatever reasons. What I did know, however, was that I did not care. History is history, and it should be relegated to books and studies, not me. I understand that what I was taught was my country’s version of history, of the events that took place over those long years of war. I understood its bias. I simply did not give a toss.
Years later, I arrived at an entirely different nation. I was now aware of both sides of the battle, and how their respective schools were teaching history. There are obvious disparity, but I was smart enough to make my own decision. I don’t know what the truth is, however, and I suspect no one do. However, I’ve also seen war movies from both sides, and it speaks a lot. The audience roots for a side, or at least they are expected to, because they were somehow convinced the other side is bad while the one they’re rooting for is righteous. This is naive and adorable, but also dangerous at the same time. I won’t claim movies depict reality, because they clearly don’t and never will, simply because there is no incentive to. No, your soldier did not do all of these heroic things for all the right reasons, and conversely the same goes for their enemies. No one cares who’s right, because they’re all going to die. That’s it, it’s the end. It’s reality, and it’s harsh.
Have you ever wondered why you’re rooting for that guy who’s massacring everyone in his ways? Why his weapon is ripping through human flesh without a single consideration for anyone involved? Well because he’s the good guy, of course. At least that’s what you, and the movie, have tried to justify him as. Sure he’s killing everyone in his path without a second look, but that’s all right because he’s somehow righteous. War heroes or just pain old superheroes are the same. Regardless of reasons, of justifications, that person is bringing death to a large number of people, often far more than those were harmed in the first place. So you say it’s not a problem, because it’s just fiction. Alright, then why do you care about the people who were perceived as wrong in the first place, why do you place faith in the one-dimensional justification that the picture is trying to tell you? After all, none of those people actually exist, why root for anyone at all? Besides, have you never once thought about putting yourself into the shoes of that guy, that badass, manly soldier?
You say I’m falling down a slippery slope, that I’m just straw-manning. For those who live in a country that was recently at war, what do you think about your soldiers? When they were sent to war, do you root for them, not counting if they’re actually close to you of course, I won’t place that burden on you yet. Just a random person who’s in your country’s military going to war, to kill other people. Do you root for them? Of course you do, even if subtler than others. It’s your personal pride, your nationality that is being carried under the gun of those men and women, and the blood of casualties. Do you truly believe they’re doing the right thing? Are those who they kill terrorists, or just someone with the same belief as them, only on the opposite side? He could be just a man picking up his gun to protect his family from the outsiders, who came bringing only death and destruction, and he was promptly shot down in the process.
I know this. You know this. Everyone knows this. Somewhere in the world there’s a fight, and someone is always going to die. Whether it’s fiction or reality, we’re not actually good people. We don’t care, because those dying aren’t actually important to us. There was never any excuse, and puny moral crusades isn’t going to solve anything. Nothing changes. It has been going on for as long as civilisation has existed, and it’s not going to change because of a few banners and loud mouthing. What about the future, you ask. What about the peaceful times, the births of new lives, and the beauty of it all? There is always light at the end of the tunnel, you say. Call me a cynic, and please do, but I cannot see that as anything that willing ignorant. Yes, the war ended. You view that as peace; I view it as the time before the next war rile about. Everyone looks forward to the brighter tomorrow, but few bothers with the lives lost to get it. No one goes to the memorial to mourn the strangers who die for a cause, they go for their own family, their own acquaintances, or for a picture.
You can tell me I’m wrong, that only I am the heartless doubter, who places no faith in those around me. That you are a person driven by his or her unyielding morality, and always do the right things, always have enough empathy for everyone who deserves it. That most people are good, that your standards are adequately overreaching, as the goodness in your own heart.
Or you can not, it doesn’t matter to me.
Image provided by Wikipedia, of the B-52 bomber.