I have to admit that I don’t know the whole story of this picture. I asked my good friend, Kern, to send me the most interesting picture from his crazy Asian oddyssey. This is what he came up with. The fellow’s uniform looks to be somewhere between flight attendant and a green beret. I imagine since he’s patrolling a stone wall in the desert he probably means business. With a camel you don’t have to worry about sand in the air filter!
You might wander why I’d put up a random picture from half way around the world. Honestly I just wanted a neat shot from Kern’s amazing adventure. It’s also a somewhat appropriate lead-in to today’s topic: Afghanistan. Not the country specifically, but the challenges Canadians face as our soldiers fight there. I was lead to this topic by, of all people, Don Cherry. The Hockey Night in Canada commentator (who wears the most hideous suits) always features the pictures and stories of any soldier who dies over there. I touched on the topic of war in my Remembrance Day post, but since Home by Christmas was a popular war related refrain, it seems like a good time to touch on it again.
War history has always been an interest of mine, along with philosophical topics related to death, dying, and evil. I think the reason that I am so into these concepts is that I am a very emotional person. I have strong experiences when I imagine myself in various situations. So when I watch a movie about war, or play a video game, I can’t help but imagine the fear that I would feel if I actually faced enemy fire. Now of course I can not possibly envision the true experience because I have never had to live it. I am immensely grateful for that. It is all well and good to say I am thankful for the sacrifices of generations before mine, and soldiers fighting today for peace and justice. But if I fail to work towards a peaceful future, have I really gotten the point? The lesson of the World Wars should be that violence is terrible and our children need to know that. They need to know that even though their parents, grandparents, and other ancestors saw fit to kill each other, it is not the best solution for the future. In fact it is not any kind of a solution. It may seem that I am a pacifist advocating non-violence in every scenario. Actually I’m not. In fact I recognize that men like Adolph Hitler (the supreme example) need to be fought tooth and nail. The loftier goal I have in mind is creating a generation that is smarter, more forgiving, and cooperative than ours. We try very hard to create solutions among our adult selves, when perhaps the best we can do is to teach our children to do what we have been unable to do. To get along.
I firmly believe that humans aren’t born with the venom that can develop later in life. Though some people seem to be predisposed toward certain behaviours, it is possible in the overwhelming majority of cases to influence young people towards a noble life. We try very hard on the whole to protect our children, to give them what they want, and to help them succeed in life. Do I know how exactly we do this? No I don’t. But I want to be in the discussion. I want everyone to be in the conversation. At Christmas many people pray for peace, perhaps we need to get on our horses (or camels) and make it work. Thoughts?