Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.
by Michael Headley
In his 1970 hit single, recording artist Edwin Starr had asked the question, “War, what is it good for?” which he answered rhetorically, “Absolutely nothing.” The 1920, posthumous publishing of the English poet Wilfred Owen’s poem, Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori (“It is sweet and proper to die for one’s country”), graphically described the horrors of World War One.
Owen termed the phrase “the old lie”. Jimmy Cliff’s 1969 song Vietnam was in protest of the war, to be followed by Roy C’s 1971 Open Letter to the President, in which he requested that the US President bring our boys home from Vietnam. And Bob Marley’s War song highlighted how racism and discrimination can lead to war.
The many innocent lives that are tragically lost in wars are cynically referred to as “collateral damage”. It’s a shame that human life can be so cheapened. The fog of war leads to many untruths and limited or partial media coverage, coupled with the biases of the warring parties – in the heat of battle – often restricting the getting of timely and accurate information.
If attacked, one should vehemently defend one’s home or country. However, other solutions, like negotiations, with unbiased third parties, should be exhausted before war is declared. The destructive nature of war disrupts the natural order of things and causes irreparable harm emotionally, economically, physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially in societies. In addition, the environment is also destroyed.
To ensure our continued existence, we can only hope that mankind would heed the admonishment, in the book of Isaiah, that men should “beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: and don’t lift up sword against nation, neither study war no more”.