“War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!” No better, nor concise protest song lyrics.
My wife told me the story of being a child in Jordan during the Six-Day War in June 1967. The excitement, the fear as her mom gathered her children into a room and threw a thick blanket over them to protect them in case any bombs went off nearby. My wife said she was too young at the time to really understand the seriousness of the event. But she remembers the fear for her father who was away, working for an ambassador, whether they would ever see him again…
A young child splashes about in the water in front of a cabin on Sturgeon Lake in northern Alberta area of Canada. Carefree. The only thing I faintly remember of any idea of war is the impact of the October Crisis and War Measures Act evoked by the Canadian Government in October 1970. But didn’t this affect our tiny, dusty corner of Alberta in the slightest.
Then one day, I believe I was in grade two, so likely in 1972, my sister and her friend were walking home when we passed by this tall silver pole. I pointed to the funny shaped object on the top and asked what it could be. My sister, I’m sure to quell my annoying inquisitiveness, told me bluntly that it was a siren in case of war or invasion. War?! Invasion!? This startling bit of information induced in me vivid dreams of large fields outside town filled with solders rushing on, guns blazing, death everywhere. I couldn’t sleep for a week! This was clearly my first indoctrination into the plastic rationale of insubstantial fear.
Of course in 1972 meant the Cold War (as daft as real war) with hysterical fear abounding even in the safest environment. I remember looking up every day and seeing the contrails of jets passing over. At the time (whether in my mind, or whether I heard or read of this) I always believed it was bombers heading to their failsafe stations in Alaska, loaded with nukes in case that farcical notion of WWIII broke out. Yeah, let’s build a bomb that yes, can wipe out the enemy, making it free of either capitalism or communism, and yet at the same time makes the world unlivable for everyone for a millennia.
When the reality was, the worse thing we Canadians needed to fear during this time was the mighty Red Army hockey team that was such force of nature on the ice rink. Yes I am old enough to remember that September 1972 and that summit series. In my elementary school we all gathered in the library around a small television set to watch the final game in the series. How we exploded with cheers when Paul Henderson scored to win the series for Canada! (Aside: Last week I was in a crowd outside CBC Vancouver to watch the latest Vancouver Canucks overtime goal that took them into the last round of the Stanley Cup series. The cheering was no different then as in 1972.)
Fear, real or perceived, provokes the same engendered responses in us all. Yes, war is an everyday fact of life for many around the world. How horrible to live under the understanding that you, or someone you know, might be killed at any moment. By anyone.
I stand here on my Canadian easy chair and voice my opinion of war. Yes it doesn’t physically touch us here. And this freakin’ war on terror is a joke. All this current really is a reason for our governments to revoke our freedoms and allow global weapons manufactures to increase sales. How it is really different from the cold war from our standpoint? Yes it creates for us that simmering, background of fear, while the reality is that thousands or men, women, and children in a poor nation die from our bombs. Not to mention the brave men and women from our country who choose to take this horrifying task on. I know I’m simplifying the matter… that is a whole other blog to write.
My point is this: Take a moment, what is your reality? Is living in the sham of fear or spreading the word of hate making your life better? If you say yes, I’d like to hear how. If not? I’d like to hear how we can make changes so our thoughts, our ideology, our behaviour, our beliefs take the avenue of kindness, inclusion, and understanding and not hatred, exclusion, and intolerance.