I Don’t Understand War


(Ghida Ismail)

I don’t understand war. I don’t understand the logic behind it. I don’t understand how problems are faced by destroying countries economically, the socially and humanitarianly. I don’t understand why children have to be robbed from their childhood, their imagination and their ambitions. I don’t understand why people have to be stripped from their homes, their security, their lives and their basic human rights. I don’t understand why a thousand, if not more, innocent people have to die.  I especially don’t understand why most of the people that are dying are always the ones that didn’t have a say in the war and that saw the war being hurled on them whether they liked it or not.

Several months ago, I crossed path with Assaad Chaftari, a Lebanese civil war veteran. When I asked him how, during the war, was it acceptable or even tolerable for him to kill all those people, his answer was simple: This is war.

What does this answer mean? Does it mean because there’s a war, the lives of the people lose their value? Because there’s a war, it doesn’t matter that people have families, dreams, ambitions? Because there’s war, it becomes reasonable to deny people a future? As a matter of fact, because there’s a war, people lose their humanity and become mere statistics, not only in the eyes of the enemy but sadly in the eyes of the rest of the world as well.

States allocate billions of dollars to war funds, instead of using them to limit poverty, homelessness, unemployment, or sponsor medical care and development. I hope that right now the world would follow in John Lennon’s footstep and imagine a planet without wars. Can people even begin picturing what level of social, cultural, economic, medical, technological (etc…) development the current societies would have reached?

Two or more entities resort to war to resolve a conflict after failing to reach an agreement peacefully, and this will eventually lead to the ruling of the victorious. Nonetheless the fact is, the failure to reach a rational solution is in all probability intentional, as the decision makers would have perceived the anticipated gain of war to surpass the benefits of a peaceful negotiation, typically in regards to power. When looking at it from a humanitarian and economic perspective, no matter how you turn it, a war will put a country at a disadvantage. Still, when going to war, a party is undoubtedly only thirsty for power.

In his classic book 1984, George Orwell explains “The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. […] In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation […] to keep the very structure of society intact.” In other words, the purpose of the war is to make sure a certain ruling group will remain at the uppermost of the societal hierarchy as the bearer of the utmost authority. It places the death of innocents in an even sadder reality, in which they were merely pawns in a game of power, a game of thrones.