Tuesday, March 20, 2007

War...

I am not much of a politician, but TIME magazine has reminded me of the anniversary of the Iraqi war, and has posted an article on Four year's in Iraq, I won't get on a rant about my feelings about this conflict, but it really reminds me of growing up in USSR through the Afghanistan conflict. Now mind you I was very young but I was born on the year that Soviet troops entered Afghanistan, the conflict lasted 10 years, but there were news of USSR bringing socialism and freedom to war torn mess of tribal feuds and chaos that the British had left in Afghanistan and now USSR was going to bring peace, unity, freedom and sovereignty to the region. I wonder if that sounds familiar? But there are a lot of differences between the conflicts as well, USSR and USA were deep in cold war, there were many billions of dollars spent by Americans to fund the taliban and partisan fighters in Afghanistan, and the Soviet, Afghan war is probably more comparable to the USA, Vietnam war.

I clearly remember students who came to our school, whose dads were professional soldiers and talking to classmates whose dads been killed, another's lost a leg another classmate actually lived in Afghanistan on a base and had been exposed to seeing limbs and pieces of soldiers and insurgents blown up, there were always stories of some ones relative who was injured, killed and fear that gripped us with each story. There was an immature sense of patriotism and desire to fight for your nation. I was only a kid but remember not being able to wait to be 18 to go to military (service was mandatory) and joining Desantniki (Soviet version of Marines). But that conflict like so many of conflicts around the world ended. The troops left and many mothers and fathers were left to mourn their children, families broken, many returned handicapped in one way or another, many returned drug addicts and alcoholics just to be able to bear each day as they remembered what they have seen or have been a part of. I grew older, my childish thoughts on the war changed. The war was forgotten by many; all that was left of its memories was in the hearts and minds of those that have lost someone or their humanity, in the ugly war.

War is ugly, it affects everyone, or maybe a better way to say that is it should effect everyone, I am not naive to think that I have all the answers, its not that simple. I have been watching some of the movies and clips about both wars and documentaries lately and I'm just gripped with sadness, for lack of value for human life that war has, its so easy to hate some one, no matter what side of the issue one is on.

People are broken in war, I have always talked to my grandparents about World War II, they lived through the German invasion in Ukraine, my grandpa drafted at 16 years old to fight on the front with the Red Army, my grandma just a child at the time carrying messages to partisans, they talk about seeing people killed, they talk about horrible horrible moments in humanity, death, torture, chaos, and there is this deep, deep sadness in their eyes that no words will ever describe when they speak of those times. Their childhood lost, but in my grandparents I see redemption. The war ended people began to mourn, began to rebuild, life went on for those left behind, the scars of childhood lost scabbed, healed, left marks but life continued, people married, had kids, new families began, moments of heaven returned, moments of hell started to become distant, but scars are left, there is no winners in war, those who won also lost...

Seeing my boys in my minds eye I pray that they won't see war...

3 comments:

wibs said...

Well said man...

My cousin is with the Canadian Forces and he has been on two tours of duty in Afghanistan. Each time he has come back a changed man.

I have been lucky in that I personally have never had to deal with war. I pray that my kids are spared that too.

I can't even begin to imagine the pain and suffering that happens.. We read the headline "72 Dead in Market explosion in Iraq" and think "wow... that must suck" and then surf the net to check the scores from last nights game.

Most of us have no idea what is really going on over there.

Thanks for the insight man... it's really good to hear from someone who has been through the propaganda before.

Luke Heidebrecht said...

Hey Paul, I really appreciate your thoughts. I think wibs highlighted an important aspect of our culture and times. We so simply turn from war to triviality.

I was watching CNN today, and it seems to me that American TV is perfect at trivializing, or desensitizing us to anything of it's importance. As there was a story about the Iraq 4 years, the next show was about expensive cars, and how nice cars tell people who we are. I quote, '... there is jewlery you can buy for your cars. It really sends a message to the public of who you are.' - they said that right at least, even if their intent was skewed.

However, I think it is important to recognize our complacency with absorbing information, I'm not sure the way we have been exposed to it through our media is healthy. Neil Postman is a good author for stuff on this.

Paul Morgun said...

Wibs - when we hear these stories and things that we don't know about it almost scary how little we really know in what goes on in the world around us, and how so much injustice is allowed to exist in different names, whether freedom or god. Thanks for your comment

Luke - It scares me how our priorities in life can be so skewed, that we can watch with out blinking about people dying, and in the same moment want that material thing that is being advertised in the same breath as you pointed out. Thanks for your comment