Sunday, November 9, 2008

November the 11th

"Lest we forget", that's the tag line of this day of remembering. However, Remembrance Day is always such a struggle for a pacifist like myself. I have never really sat down with myself and decided whether or not I actually am a pacifist, but I believe I am. I do not see any justification, any way you swing it, to war, killing, and violence. I grew up attending a Mennonite church(pacifism is a strong part of the Mennonite beliefs), and therefore such beliefs and ideas were somewhat forced upon me as a child(in a gentle, loving way). However, as I grew older, I felt I couldn't simply mindless adopt these beliefs I had no choice in as a child, I had to find out if I agreed with them for myself, or find out WHAT I believed in. Long story short, I am a pacifist, and remembering those who fought and died in war for humankind everywhere is a difficult day to take part in.

Yes I do pay respect for all the lives sacrificed for my freedom, I have never experienced war, never felt the hardships or it, or morned over it, and for this I am very lucky. These many people died so I could have that, and I am extremely thankful. But, why did they even decide to participate in a war in the first place? What drives human kind to kill mother, sister, brother, father? We are all connected, whether we accept it or not, and so why do we kill each other? So often I believe it is ones dissatisfaction with oneself, greed for power, and an over competitive nature, but I'm not a psychology major, this is just me hypothesizing. Can human kind even live without war? When I think about war it fills me up with confused sadness, I just don't understand it. 

To be clear, when I refer to war I am not necessarily referring to battleships, bombs, and trenches, rather violence in general. War can be between countries, between family members, or between neighbours. It can be loud like the violent bombing that goes on in the middle east, but it can also be silenced, like the many unfortunate domestic wars that happen in homes that others are unaware of it. It can be used to scare us, like the war on terrorism, or hidden behind black curtains, like the violent killings in Sudan. War can be racism, sexism, rape, torture, and violence.

So let us remember not only those soldiers, but those millions of civilians that have died without any choice in the matter, in war. Let us remember those individuals which deal with war everyday without anyone noticing. Yet, let us also remember mother earth, who has, and still is, dealt with the many pains we have caused her. The many scars she has acquired which will never fully heal. We so often forget all the injustices nature has felt, so focused on the human aspect we forget where all us humans came from...the earth. 

Although it is important to take time and reflect on Remembrance Day, perhaps we need to treat ever day as a Remembrance Day. Love those around you, the earth beneath your feet, and the air you breath, realize that violence brings no victory, only pains and sorrows. 

If I smile, you will smile, then he will smile, which will make her smile, then maybe someone will laugh, and the angry man in the corner will put down his gun.

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