Written on: Sun, 28 Nov 2010; 13:22
Gears of WarIt seems to me that war is interesting. Looking around in the room that I'm in right now I can see: Xbox games named "Gears of War" and "Halo 3", DVDs with armed men on the covers, books about numerous wars, including the one on my bedside table: "The White Queen" about the Cousins' Wars, also known as the Wars of the Roses. There is not a single day that the news does not tell us about wars. We may not call them so, but they certainly are. Apparently they fascinate people, so a column about them could do no harm.

Almost everyone has an opinion on wars, and none of them are positive. I would like to give you a few examples of influential people talking about war.

Mahatma Gandhi"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?" - Mahatma Gandhi

"Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed." - Mao Tse-Tung

"War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace." - Thomas Mann

Wars of the RosesKey words that I can pick out from these citations are: dead, destruction, bloodshed, cowardly. Seems to me like wars aren't all that nice. As I said I am currently reading "The White Queen" by Philippa Gregory. It tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward of York, King of England. She had been widowed and left with two sons when she married Edward. It was right in the middle of the war between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. After a number of years and a lot of bloodshed - her father and brother will brutally murdered during this time - the House of York had finally secured the throne. Or so it seemed. At Edward's death his 12-year-old son - Edward V - would take over the throne. Richard of York, Edward IV's younger brother, took the throne. And hence started yet another war.

These wars between cousins and brothers only ended when Henry Tudor won the throne and married Elizabeth of York. This combined the House of Lancaster and the House of York, and together they formed the new House of Tudor. What can be so important that you are prepared to fight your family in battle and make the entire country live through wars for at least 30 years?

North- and South KoreaAlbert Einstein once said: "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Are we about to see World War III? And will it bring down the world so that we will depend on sticks and stones again? The "hot topic" in the news for the past week has been the renewed tension between North and South Korea. Whether this will onset a war is debatable, but it is worth considering. These are two countries of the same people. Many of the South Korean citizens have family and friends up in the North, and vice versa. This would once again be a war between kinsmen, and possible a war of denial. So far every action that has provoked anger was a "mistake" and the country that did it is "sorry", but does not feel "responsible".

It is worth thinking about. Why do we fight our kinsmen, our family, our neighbours, and our friends? It makes no sense! Publilius Syrus said "Treat your friend as if he might become an enemy". Evidently that is necessary. But how hard could it be to treat your enemy as if he might become a friend?


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