History records the horrors and destruction of wars for posterity. Epic poems such as Mahabharata and Iliad portray details of bloody battles in emotional and charming verses. Artists painted horrific war scenes and carved them on stone pillars depicting victories against the enemy.
Nations experience war and suffer immensely but as soon as the war is over they forget the disaster and those who die in the battle field fighting for their nations. It seems that mankind has become accustomed to endure war and its affects without any desire to learn lessons from it.
History shows that after every war, nations re-stock their weapons and spend more money on arms than on the welfare of common people. The history of weapons can be traced from stone-made tools to nuclear bombs. At every stage of history more lethal weapons were produced to destroy and kill more people.
There are horrifying and tragic examples of how nations developed new weapons against their enemies. During the First World War, Fritz Haber (d.1934) a German-Jewish scientist wanted to invent poisonous gas to defeat the enemy. When his wife came to know about it, she tried to prevent him from such a disastrous endeavour by threatening to commit suicide as a protest. But in his nationalist fervour, Haber was least bothered by his wife’s threat and produced the poison gas, while his wife fulfilled her vow and committed suicide. Ironically, the same gas was used during the Second World War in gas chambers to kill the Jews as well as Haber’s own family.
Historians, poets, artists and sculptors have always glorified war attributing grandiloquent titles to generals, thus elevating their status. But to change the concept of war and the role of conquerors and invaders, there is a need to rewrite the history of war where those who were previously hyped as heroes would now be presented as mass murderers who inflicted suffering and pain on thousands of families. History should condemn them as criminals and not as great men. A comprehensive definition of ‘conqueror’ should be evolved irrespective of national, religious or ethnic ideologies. It should also be pointed out that they represented only the elite classes and not common people so whatever they plundered was shared only among the upper classes.
Common people are always fooled in the name of national pride, and they are slaughtered in their tens of thousands just so that conquerors and invaders can earn greatness for themselves. For example, when Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812 with a grand army and failed to occupy it, he fled from Moscow leaving behind the army to suffer in cold and starvation.
On his way to Paris, Napoleon was serviced with a hot meal and comforts against the cold weather. He had no sorrow or remorse for the soldiers who died on their way back to France. This was the level of callousness on part of a so-called great man of history.
By Mubarak Ali Dawn.com
In rewriting history, the concept of ‘superpower’ should also be changed. Generally, this title is given to nations possessing lethal weapons and killing machines to terrorise weak countries.
However, war may never end despite all the havoc it wreaks. Peace movements and established institutions like the League of Nations and the UNO have failed to eliminate war. Politicians and diplomats have made efforts to minimise the consequences of war through different conventions and treaties but it is often seen that these conventions are violated and countries attacked to sabotage the peace process. Nations with strong military power regard war as a final solution and seem to have contempt for peace.
As long as war remains ‘holy’ and ‘just’ and we continue to pay tribute to those who fight it as being ‘brave, courageous and adventurous’; the common people will continue to support war on national or religious grounds. Perhaps, the evil of war will thus remain a part of human civilisation for all time.
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