“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”—Voltaire
Oh, how I detest these ceremonies of remembrances of glorious victories and the continued glorification of past wars and conflicts!
On the excuse of ‘nationalism’—that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce that it engenders mass murder—one of the great evils of all times, along with racism and religious hatred—we send our young people to massacre and be massacred.
Mark the words of Albert Einstein: ‘He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable an ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.’
And we constantly adorn with medals those who do it!
When will we ever learn? People oddly forget what took place. The rose wilts but the thorns remain—for all involved. Please, let’s forget these regretful and sorrowful happenings and hope that one day these will stop being repeated. Let’s grow up and imagine that they never happened.
As long as we continue glorifying the wars of the past, we can look forward to still more wars supported by an insensate population.
It is well and proper to remember the war dead, for they ALL died innocent of the sins of the politicians who put them in harm’s way. However, the best way to honour the war dead is to make sure that the politicians don’t add to their number. We are currently doing a very poor job of that!
Maybe one day, we could erect an international monument here in Malta remembering ALL the war dead, of ALL nationalities, who lost their lives through the sheer selfishness, greed and stupidity of their fellow human beings whom they trusted. A big red flag, denoting the useless bloodshed throughout the ages would be more than befitting!
I do not want to sound cynical, but I believe that not much has changed in the past 5,000 years of human history, although as Will Rogers said: ‘You can’t say civilization don’t advance . . . in every war they kill you in a new way.”
Who will dare say that we haven’t made progress??
Joseph M. Cachia resides in Malta and is a freelance journalist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.