Dona Nobis Pacem – 2016

Dona Nobis Pacem
(Grant Us Peace)

dona-nobis-pacem-2016

On 4 November (today, on NZ time) bloggers from around the world come together with one purpose. That is peace. I’ve missed the past couple of years, but as peace is something I feel strongly about, this year I’m back blogging for peace.

But before you think I’m not writing about topics you usually find on this blog, please keep reading. Peace affects us all. We all have a voice, and we can all choose to use it to call for peace in all types of situations.

Peace. What is it? What do you think of when you think of peace? It’s one of those words for which we know what it means but we can’t always put words to it. I went searching for a definition that fits what I am talking about. How’s this?

Peace is a stress-free state of security and calmness that comes when there’s no fighting or war, everything coexisting in perfect harmony and freedom.
– Vocabulary.com

I think we tend to think of fighting and war as the opposites of peace. Others suggest hate. Today I want to suggest another opposite of peace.

Indifference

If we do nothing, we will not achieve peace whether it applies to world politics or peace with a neighbour or even a partner or child. If we leave it to others, or we just don’t care enough, then we will never have peace. To achieve peace, we have to do something.

When I was twelve I learnt this song at school.

I know you know it, but listen to it again anyway. Allow yourself those few minutes to hear it again.

It was the late 1970’s and to a twelve-year-old, it was a kind of cool song. I loved singing all the verses (including those added later) but I really had no understanding of what it was all about. I’m sure our teacher told us it was something to do with war, but I loved singing and would probably have sung anything. It was up there with singing ‘Hotel California‘ and the songs from the musical ‘Jesus Christ Superstar‘.

But now, Pete Seeger’s song leaves me feeling sad, and a little bit empty. I can stay like that and think it was sad what happened with World War 2 and the Vietnam War. But the song still applies to our world today. Rather than simply being about those two wars, the song is more about the futility of all war. How history is a cycle that we can’t break. That’s what is sad, and what remains if we do nothing.

Right now there is so much going on in our world that is about fighting and war, indifference and what I will call a lack of security. Who knows what is ahead? I read just yesterday that World War 3 is coming. I didn’t need to read it because I know. I know that unless we do something then we can have no security for the future. We have no certainty of peace.

Above, are those great words of Martin Luther King Jr. that I repeat here because they are exactly what I want to shout out to anyone who will listen,  when such turmoil, hatred and uncertainty are a part of our world:

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.

I don’t have to accept what right now seems almost inevitable. Actually, I don’t think World War 3, as one example of the hatred and fighting has to be inevitable.

If I want peace, I need to speak up and say so. I need to do something. Indifference will only achieve fighting and war and I am completely opposed to those.

It is not just for my future that I have to do something, but for the futures of the so many people in our world who aren’t in a position to speak up. When I speak up for peace, I am speaking up for the people of Syria, for the refugees, for those who have no voice for a thousand different reasons.

It’s easy to do something. Sign a petition or join a protest rally. Give a simple bunch of flowers to the neighbour you have been arguing with. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and often the smaller offerings are more meaningful. Just do something… towards achieving peace.

There are some simple words that all the bloggers posting for peace today know:

if words are powerful…. then this matters

Words are powerful and so this does matter. Do something. Don’t be guilty of indifference. Speak up for peace.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
 – Edmund Burke

Thanks for reading

 

Cate

Raining Down

There is a Ukrainian orphanage not far from the site of the debris from Malaysian Airlines MH 17.  This week the staff have had to send away 200 plus children from the orphanage to somewhere the children “could heal”.  Last Thursday as the children were playing in the fields next to the orphanage, bodies started to rain down around them.  Not just bodies but body parts.  Can you imagine that?  For the life of me I can’t imagine bodies falling from the sky around me.  I am thankful that I can’t imagine it.  But these children will always know.

In all the horrific news this past week, this story really struck me.  Firstly the innocence of children being caught up in the wars happening on our planet.  But more so because these children live in an orphanage and by that sheer fact it is reasonable to assume that they have already suffered more trauma than any person should.  And now to have to be sent away from their ‘home’ so that they can heal from more trauma just seems so wrong to me.  These children deserve the protection of adults, yet it is adults who are making these wars.

Another news story and children were playing hide and seek on the beachfront of Gaza when missiles launched in hatred rained down on the children, both killing some and injuring others.  Again, children who should be safe.

There has been so much tragedy, affecting thousands of innocent people.  And it continues.  What scares me perhaps most is that this becomes common place.  That we somehow become comfortable with the bloodshed.  Of course those affected personally, those who have lost loved ones, they will never become comfortable with it.  But what about the rest of us?  Do we just become used to this?  Please god, no!

If my counting is correct, there have been three planes down this past week.  Three planes too many.  A quick search on the net today tells me that something like 15 planes have been shot down since the 1980s.  I admit I don’t remember any of them.  When the tragedy of MH17 is foremost in our minds this week, it is hard to imagine that we could forget.  But we will.  We will move on and there will be some other tragedy in the news.

I believe that we owe it to the children to remember.  To say this is wrong, and to keep saying it until it is heard.  It is one thing to say that Ukraine and Gaza are so far away.  “What can we do?”  “It was not our playing fields where bodies rained down on innocence.”  That is so true, but it could easily have been our children, our people.

I do not believe that war is the answer in any of these situations.  Bloodshed of innocent people is just wrong.  And if we don’t start saying it more, then no one is going to hear.

I feel heartbroken by what is happening in our world.  I can’t bear to watch news reports. Like reports of  lines of hearses in The Netherlands yesterday waiting to take bodies away for identification.  Recently I haven’t been able to cry, even though there have been plenty of things to cry about.  Simply there have been no tears.  But now I cry.

It would be easier to not watch the footage.  It would be easier to say “it’s too hard to watch” but I think I owe it to the victims to watch.  More so, I think I owe it to the victims to speak out and say that this is wrong.  There has to be another way.  I believe that way is peace.  And if we, the relatively unaffected, don’t say so then who will?

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”

— John Lennon

 

Remembering Trauma – Anzac Day 2014

 

Image Credit:  Aaron Campbell Photography See his Facebook page at:   https://www.facebook.com/AaronCampbellPhotography
Image Credit: Aaron Campbell Photography
See his Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/AaronCampbellPhotography

Today, in Australia and New Zealand, we commemorate Anzac Day. It is a national day of remembrance in both countries that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders (including animals) “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations”.  It particularly honours those Army soldiers who served at Galliopli in 1915.  

There are many commemoration services held around both countries and at Galliopli, but I have to admit that it’s been a while since I have been to one.  I simply don’t ‘do‘ crowds.  That doesn’t stop me from remembering though.  While I am an advocate of peace, I have great admiration and respect for those who have served in the past, and those who still serve.  I just hope and pray that one day such service will no longer be necessary and we will find a way of living in this world in harmony.

My chief memory relating to Anzac Day lies with my paternal Grandfather.  Let me tell you about his war service.  Don’t worry.  It won’t take long.

My grandfather joined the Royal New Zealand Navy  (RNZN) Intelligence Division as a Lieutenant to fight in World War Two.  He was stationed at home in New Zealand but was required to go overseas regularly.  He was injured in an accident (in New Zealand) and those injuries left him unwell for the rest of his life.

That’s it.  We don’t know anything else.  In the approximately five years my grandfather served, and in the years after, he was never allowed to tell anyone of what he did, and where he went.  Granddad died about 25 years later and took his secrets with him.

It strikes me this year as I remember him, and others who served, that the trauma they witnessed must have been immense.  Now days we are becoming more aware of the affects of the trauma soldiers face.  We recognise the existence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the havoc that can play on their lives in the years following their service.  I know we still have a distance to go in understanding the need for help and treatment but awareness in itself has to be good.

But today, I am struck by the lack of this knowledge and understanding back in the time my grandfather served, and before in previous wars.  I suspect war was very different then, to what it is today, but no less traumatic.  Not just for those who served either.

My father was a child at the time his father was away at war.  Neither he, not my grandmother were allowed to know anything.  Not then, not ever. The hardship and fear they must have carried with them must have been huge.  Remember too, this was a time of no emails, no Skype, simply no communication but the odd letter.

My grandfather, and many others with him, lived both then and into the future with no assistance in dealing with what they had seen, done and heard.  The affect on their lives must be beyond our modern comprehension.

Granddad died, from his war injuries when I was three.  I have just one memory of him playing in this front garden with me.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

 – Laurence Binyon, For the Fallen

 

Related Articles

 

Dona Nobis Pacem (2013)

(That’s what ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’ means)

Today I am participating, for the second time, in Blog4Peace…   because peace is something that I strongly believe is desperately needed in our world.  Bloggers from over 200 countries are participating today, and that just says to me how important our quest for peace is.

Sometimes I’m not too good at sticking to ‘the rules’, especially with blogging challenges and the like.  Hopefully Mimi will forgive my errant ways.  Usually bloggers create a template of their statement of peace, and post it on their site on 4 November.  I have borrowed a template (above) for this post, but came to the conclusion that firstly, I’m a better writer than an artist, and secondly, I had something to say that I couldn’t contain in a template. As well as that my brain isn’t quite functioning straight right now and to achieve both tasks is simply beyond me.

The Mission (1986 film)
The Mission (1986 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was watching a movie the other day.  A favourite from years ago, of which I have just managed to get my hands on a copy.  It is The Mission (1986) starring Jeremy Irons and Robert de Niro.

The brief summary of what this is about is that some Jesuit priests are living and working with locals above the Iguazu Falls in the South American jungle in the 1750s.  There is some outstanding music in this movie, probably one of the reasons I love it, but there are difficult moments too when Portuguese rulers take back the land, destroy the mission built with the Jesuits ,and try to enslave the locals.  The priest, played by Jeremy Irons, believes that God is love, and violence is a direct crime against that love.  He argues that they should trust God rather than fight back.  He chooses to stay with the villagers in peace while other Jesuits decide to renounce their vows and fight with many of the male villagers.

It’s hard to fit a movie into a paragraph, but the reason I raise it is the two choices that are made, effectively between peace and war.  I sat watching the movie, and there were villagers, priests and soldiers representing the Portuguese rulers dying everywhere.  Most of it was played out beside the river and I was struck how easily dead bodies were cast aside, out-of-the-way, so that the fight could continue.  It seemed to me those bodies meant nothing, and I was struck with a knowing that I could never kill another being (human or animal), in such a situation because I simply couldn’t allow myself to let them mean so little.  It was difficult enough to stand and watch my cat being euthanised last year.  I knew it was taking away her pain, but it was so difficult to let a life be taken.

That said, that’s an easy statement for me to make.  I’m not back there in the 1750s with the threat of my village being destroyed, and I’m not even in a position where I have to consider that I might be sent to war here in the 21st century.  I live in a country (New Zealand) where military involvement is not mandatory. It was for young men (including my grandfather) in the first and second world wars, but as a woman, that was never something I would have had to face doing.  Yes, it’s easy for me to say.  My choice not to bear arms would not have any affect on my family and/or loved ones.  Saying no is definitely an option for me.  But I get that for so many, it’s not that easy.

Peace is one of those things that I think we all have our own views of what it is about.  For me it is about respecting the value of each human being to a point where that person deserves to be saved.  This post isn’t directly about war, although obviously it is not ignored because without peace we often have war. My personal belief is that war is never necessary.  There is always another way of solving a dispute, and every effort should be taken to preserve life.  Maybe it’s more difficult, maybe it takes longer.  Jeremy Irons, in his role, chose to take what he viewed as God’s way.  That’s not why I like it but rather what I do I like is the respect a peaceful solution offers to each individual.

We are all worth saving.  None of us deserve to be left dead or injured on the side of the road, or permanently traumatised by the horror that soldiers, and the indigenous and local people have witnessed in the name of war.  My belief is that peace values each of us.  It says we are all too important to be cast aside as I saw in the movie.

That’s why I have taken time out from my usual blogging to take part in today’s Blog4Peace.  All of the bloggers taking part in this event believe that if words are powerful….this matters. The wider we spread this message, each in our own way, the more people will see that the right thing to do is to lay down arms and live at peace.

What does all this have to do with blogging for mental health?  If we had peace world over then we could all let it be.  I am convinced that our overall mental health would be significantly better.

Music drew me to that movie, just as I believe that music draws us in peace toward togetherness.  That’s why I’m finishing this post with music from Playing For Change Songs Around The World.

“Dad, how do soldiers killing each other solve the world’s problems?” 

― Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes: Sunday Pages 1985-1995

Image credit:  Shannon Pinkley-Wamsley

Dona Nobis Pacem

“Grant Us Peace”

Trying to achieve peace within myself has been a life-long battle, not helped by long-lasting mental health issues.  Achieving peace is a battle I continue to work on daily.  The Dalai Lama says that peace can’t be achieved in this world until I find peace within myself.  I think he’s right, purely for the reason that I am part of this world.  I am affected by what happens in this world.  Sounds simplistic, doesn’t it?

I live in a small country, almost on the edge of the world, called New Zealand.  Our population is only 4.5 million.  I know that’s pretty small, but it needs to be kept in perspective.  Our statistics might not sound much, until you think about the proportion of people in our population affected by the country’s decision to be a part of war.  We all with be familiar with the six degrees of separation.  In New Zealand, that shrinks down to around two, maybe three degrees of separation.

In the 11 year war in Afghanistan, 11 New Zealand soldiers (including one female) have been killed in combat.  It doesn’t seem like much does it?  But what if one of those 11 soldiers was your flesh and blood?  Then their death becomes personal, and the war has a deep impact on your life.

On top of those 11 kiwi soldiers, there have been many more soldiers from around the world who have died, and then there are thousands of civilians who have also died.  If they were your family, this is very personal.  If you are/were a soldier there, then this is personal.

Six weeks ago New Zealand  sent its last group of soldiers to Afghanistan.  This is the last troops that will be deployed from here, as New Zealand is pulling out its troops in April 2013.  I watched on the television channels here as those troops said their good-byes to their families at the airport.  It was gut-wrenching stuff, not only to see parents saying goodbye to young children and husbands to wives, and vice-a-versa, but for one reason that must have been at the heart of most kiwis watching that day.

Just a few weeks earlier a total of five kiwi soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, in two separate incidents.  Those five were from the same battalion as this fresh group were from, at Burnham Military Camp.

How could this new group of soldiers say good-bye to their friends and family, and have any sense of peace of mind, without this in their heads.  And how could families say good-bye without wondering whether this would be their final good-bye?  Would they come back in a box, like their friends and comrades had?  I dearly hope not.

Peace of mind?  I don’t think so.  All in the aid of fighting a war.

Saying good-bye to troops headed for war is something my father knew only too well as a child.  There was very little peace of mind for him as a six-year-old, and my grandmother, when my grandfather would be sent off to World War Two.  Some 92,000 kiwi troops went to this war, the maths is mind-boggling to consider just how many kiwis were left at home, with little peace of mind.

Grandad as Lieutenant S.T. Reddell (1942)

You can read more about my feelings about my grandfather’s involvement in Peace Not War   (Passion Profile Challenge #1).  He was in the Royal New Zealand Navy Intelligence division.  He ‘officially’ served his time in the War in the National Home Office in Wellington.  ‘Officially’ he never left the country.

Unofficially though, and the reality for my father and grandmother is that, he ‘would go away’ for weeks at time.  They wouldn’t know where, or for how long.  It just happened that the ‘trip away’ would coincide with a naval ship or submarine leaving Wellington harbour around that day.  They could see it leave the harbour from their temporary home in Kelburn.

To this day no one in the family knows where Grandad went, or for how long.  He died in 1969 after a long illness related to his war injuries, but he was never allowed to tell anyone the details of his trips away.  From the rumours, I think I’m glad about that because there would have been no peace of mind for anyone had they known where we suspect he was, or what he was doing.

Peace matters to me on a personal front because of the experience of my father and my grandparents.  But it matters to me on a global basis for much more than this.  I don’t believe that we were put on this planet to fight, kill and injure each other, let alone innocent by-standers.

“We are connected to the sky
and connected to the earth.
Together we are the conductors of nature.
Let our song of connection be forever beautiful.”

Image and words used with kind permission of Alison Pearce (see credits below)

We are connected to the sky and the earth, but we are also connected to each other.  Regardless of our history, race, ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs, sexuality or even simply our thoughts… we are brothers and sisters, as fellow human beings.  However we choose to believe that we appeared here on this planet, and regardless of what higher power we choose to believe or not believe in, we are all one species.  So why would we choose to kill each other?  Why would we choose to destroy another’s family?

I believe that we choose  war over peace because it is easier.  Certainly not easier for those caught up in it, or watching loved ones in it, but it’s an almost simple way to win an argument.  Just kill the opponent, or at least anyone who matters to that opponent.  End of argument.  Apparently.

If we could simply lay down our arms, and talk.

If I disagree with my neighbour, we stand in the drive-way and talk.  It works because we are prepared to listen and understand each other’s  perspective.  It works, and while we have differences, we can still be friends, respecting each other’s individuality.

It’s interesting that in the past two years, living in Christchurch, we have all been through multiple devastating and deadly earthquakes.  As neighbours, we all put aside our differences, and helped each other.  The increased bond between neighbours is one good thing that came from the devastation.  I suspect something similar is happening today in the areas badly affected by hurricane Sandy.

Peace between neighbours reigned for us in Christchurch, and was a very good thing.  More important than arguments was making sure each other had the basic provisions of food, water and shelter.  Maybe it’s a simple way of looking at it, but I believe that simple is often best.  Talking and listening is often best.  It by far beats the need to kill and destroy.

That’s why I have taken part in today’s BlogBlast4Peace.  All of the bloggers taking part in this event believe that if words are powerful….this matters. The wider we spread this message, each in our own way, the more people will agree that the right thing to do is to lay down arms and live at peace.

I encourage you to read some of the hundreds of other blog posts on this subject today.  See the official site at BlogBlast4Peace for more details.

Make a choice, and take a stand for peace, as I have done, and speak out.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

Bishop Desmond Tutu
Nobel Prize for Peace 1984

“Never doubt that a handful of committed people can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

 – Margaret Mead

Some Very Important Credits

My Peace Globes (used here and on my Facebook page) were kindly created for me by my friend, Michelle Frost.  Check out Michelle’s blog to see what she is saying about peace today at Crows Feet.

Artwork and Prose from Alison Pearce  are both used with her permission.  Alison produces some excellent work, which can be seen at Art That Speaks by Alison Pearce.  Her site is well worth a visit.  Thank you for your co-operation Alison.

An Idealist

Image credit: Iguana Jo flickr-15601096 – fotopedia.com

On more than one occasion I have been labelled an idealist, and I don’t care.  I would rather be called this than have my mind so closed to the difference of others around me, and around this planet where we live.

This morning I woke to disturbing news that three more kiwi soldiers have died in combat in Afghanistan, including our first female soldier ever killed in combat.  I know the numbers of soldiers lives lost in New Zealand is negligible compared to other countries but we are a small country.  Our population is only 4.5 million and every death is a big loss, of course especially to the friends and families of these people.

I have written about my feelings about war before so I won’t repeat myself.  I don’t claim to have a firm grasp on the subject of international relations but I find it so difficult to accept that death in the name of war is necessary.  When will it be that we learn to talk rather than fight and kill?

I was taught to live on the basis of ‘love your neighbour as yourself’, and while I don’t accept all the teaching I was given as a child, this is one that I firmly hang onto.  Simply because my neighbour might be a different race, religion, gender, culture or even sexuality gives me no right to judge them as being wrong.

I also read other news this morning that disturbed me.  Here in New Zealand church and various moral groups are arguing over the proposed marriage amendment bill that, if passed, will allow the way for same-sex marriage.  While it is an entirely different subject than war, I am inclined to think that the issue is the same.  The inability to accept the difference of others.

It is not my place to judge anyone as right or wrong.  I am simply another human being walking this planet and I have as much right to freedom as anyone else.  I believe that if I should choose to marry another woman I should have that right, and should have that legally recognised as a heterosexual couple would be.

More and more, I find myself objecting to what so many people say is simply ‘right’.  I’m not convinced that right and wrong is that clearly cut, and that is coming from someone with the black and white thinking of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  There is hope for my adoption of the colour grey  after all.  I know that I have family and friends who might disagree with my views but that is okay.  I think it’s a whole lot better that I stand for what I believe.

For so many years I couldn’t care less.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always cared about inequality and fairness,  but because of having my head so far into that mental illness fog, it was impossible to stand for anything.  Now though, I get too disturbed by  that inequity and judgement to just simply accept it as life.  People dying at war, whether soldiers or civilians is unnecessary.  People being denied the right to live as the people they are to is also unnecessary.  For that matter people (like me) being judged for having a particular kind of illness and being unable to get the job or the home they need?  It is also unnecessary.

Somehow we need to find a way to live together in harmony.  I might sound like I’m left over from the 1960’s but I will never accept that we can not achieve this.  So call me an idealist. I’m a proud one.

“Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:

 – I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
– I shall fear only God.
– I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
– I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
– I shall conquer untruth by truth.

And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.” 

―    Mahatma Gandhi

Peace Not War (Passion Profile Challenge #1)

Grandad as Lieutenant S.T. Reddell (1942)

WARNING:  This post was hard for me to write so maybe disturbing to read.  It contains both disturbing images and  references.


This is my paternal grandfather as a Lieutenant in the Royal New Zealand Navy, in 1942.  His son, my father, was eight years old.  Grandad died in 1968 when I was three years old.  The cause of his death were complications to injuries he had sustained in World War Two (and lived with for over 20 years).

He was a Navy man and served his time in Intelligence, which meant serving overseas in places that his family were never allowed to know.  Before my father died last year he would often tell me that as a child he and my grandmother would regularly have no idea where my grandfather was.  They would know a naval ship was leaving port one day and the assumption was that Grandad would be on it.  But because of the Intelligence requirements my father never, ever knew where Grandad had been in those times.  There are family rumours now days but no one knows for sure.  It’s probably just as well.

I never really got to know him.  I have two very vague memories of being with him, but from all I have heard since, I’m sure this is a man who I would have got on well with.  From what I know this was a man who would do anything for you, regardless of his own disabilities (from the war).  For many years he worked as a Child Welfare Officer and would regularly bring children home to live with them.  I like everything I have ever heard about this man.

Perhaps I’m being unrealistic but maybe if he hadn’t been required to serve in the war, and hadn’t got those injuries, he would have lived long enough for me to get to know him, and for him to see me grow up.  But when you’re passionate about something I don’t necessarily think one has to be practical, and perhaps there will be more evidence of this as I go through my Challenge.

I can’t give you a whole list of logical reasons why war is a bad idea.  I’m not like that.  It’s just in my heart, that I can’t accept sending innocent mean and women to fight, and possibly be injured or killed; and I can’t accept setting up a situation where innocent people (who probably have enough crisis in their lives already) get injured or killed.  It’s just wrong and there simply has to be a better way to deal with conflict.

Image via Dangeroustactics.com

When I was 15 years old I encountered my first gun.  And no, this wasn’t some outback hunting trip (I’m not into those either but maybe that’s another post), but instead it was a recently ex-boyfriend who loaded a gun in front of me, handed it to me and asked me to shoot him.  He said if he couldn’t have me, then he wasn’t going to live.  There’s more about this man in a previous post, but that’s not really important.  It was the beginning of a very long journey for me.  What is important is that poor, little 15 year old me got the fright of her life.  If I did what he asked, would he be dead?  If I didn’t do what he asked, would I be dead?

From that moment on I have stayed as far away from guns as I could, and I really don’t see reason why members of the public should have access to them (especially somewhat delusional 18 year olds).  Whether in war or peace, I think there is too much that can go wrong.  One impulsive move is all that it takes to kill someone.  Life is worth far too much for that.  If we give people the right to carry arms, then we give them the right to create their own war, and then someone will always get hurt.

Recently I came across Charlie Chaplin‘s The Speech of The Great Dictator.  Personally, I think the text is brilliant and Chaplin is convincing when you watch the link below.  I could use parts of it to talk about most of the passions I have listed in my Challenge but I like this:

“Soldiers: don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.

Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate, only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers: don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty.” (1.)

I am fortunate to be living in a country, and born in an age, where compulsory military service is not an issue.  For my grandfather he didn’t have that luxury.  He had to do his duty, and from what I understand he was proud to do it.  Certainly my father was proud of his father, even though there was a sense of loss in the five years of his childhood that his father was gone, and then the rest of his youth with a father who had seriously ill health.

For me though, there is a choice.  I choose to go with what I was taught as a child (as a Christian) and what many other religions also recommend in their own ways.

“There is a saying, ‘Love your friends and hate your enemies.’ But I say: Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even scoundrels do that much. If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the heathen do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
(
TLB, Matthew 5:43-48) (2.)

No, my reasoning might not be enough to convince governments but it is what I feel strongly about.  I don’t ever want to be put in the position of being made to fight, nor do I want to see anyone else forced for fight.  I completely respect the people that choose military service but I don’t agree with the policies that make it necessary.  Enough people have been killed in wars and I passionately believe that as a planet we have to find a better way to deal with our differences and our injustices.