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I’m living with war in my heart/ I’m living with war in my heart and my mind/ I’m living with war right now/And when the dawn breaks I see my fellow man/ And on the flat-screen we kill and we’re killed again/ And when the night falls I pray for Peace/ Try to remember Peace/ I join the multitudes/ I raise my hand in Peace/ I never bow to the laws of the thought police/ I take a holy vow/ To never kill again/ To never kill again

~ Living with War ~ Songwriter: Neil Young 

Most of the times when peace is spoken about as being a good thing, and when violence and war is spoken of with disapproval, friends, even seemingly peaceable ones, inform the spokesperson for peace, that he is being are naïve and idealistic.

During conversations, peace lovers are invariably told, “You don’t understand, ‘they’ (whoever they are), must be taught a lesson”. Apparently, the lesson should be imparted violently.

Violent reprisal is notjustifiable, yet these often-rational people become warriors from the safety of their homes, far away from the war zone. They believe within their hearts that violent retaliation and revenge is the right way to act, and say, “If ‘they’ kill forty, then ‘we’ should kill more than that”. “We should show them our strength”. The other thing they tell a peacenik is, “we didn’t start it. They started it”. Evidently, violent reprisal and bloodlust is justifiable to the armchair-in-front-of-the-TV warriors.

Supportingthe idea of war is an expression of patriotism. War mongeringpoliticians talk with immaturebelligerence (and this is accepted as the talk of a strong man), andtell citizens of the country that war and reprisal is the right thing to do, and, they tell the people, that war,and killing,is for the good of the country, and, that support for war, expresses patriotism. And,their patriotism is at stake if they don’t agree.

What these out-of-range war lovers, who follow the rhetoric of out-of-range politicians and hysterical, shrieking television anchors, don’t realise, is, that in war, people on both sides are injured, maimed, crippled, and die. And if they survive, they live a life that is damaged, physically and mentally.

Why do wars begin? It is usually because ‘Wars are good business’, according to Milo Minderbinder, Joseph Heller’s fictional character from the novel Catch 22.It is also because of the lust for powerand a show-of-power, by politicians,that could win electionsat the cost of human lives, property, the environment, civil liberties and human rights. In a politician’s lust for power, human lives do not matter. Politicians are masters of making speeches (that’s their job)that raise mass hysteria, and people become the puppets of politicians.

You fasten all the triggers/ For the others to fire/ Then you sit back and watch/ When the death count gets higher/ You hide in your mansion/ While the young people’s blood/
Flows out of their bodies/ And is buried in the mud
Masters of War:Songwriter ~Bob Dylan

Wars are political tools – Wars are a collaboration between corporations that profit from war, and politicians (for all sorts of contracts, for reconstruction, for exploitation). It’s a collaboration of crony capitalists and politicians for electoral gains so that the collaboration can continue for as long as it can. It’s a collaboration between arms dealers and politicians. Arms dealers love wars because that’s how they sell their arms and ammunition. Wars are boom time for arms manufacturers (pardon the pun).

Come you masters of war/ You that build the big guns/ You that build the death planes/ You that build all the bombs/ You that hide behind walls/ You that hide behind desks/ I just want you to know/ I can see through your masks/ You that never done nothin’/ But build to destroy- Masters of War~songwriter Bob Dylan

Wars are profitable to politicians and businessOf the fourteen wars going on around the world, most of them are for mineral rights and oil, and some for real estate and expansion of property, of course some are also for the lust for power, and some–for sheer human cussedness (inhuman cussedness), such as Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

Some wars begin when a nation does not want to do business with other powerful nations that want to exploit its oil resources, as is happening in Venezuela. Sometimes two nations do not see eye to eye on a piece of real estate, and they fight over it without caring about the people who live in that piece of real estate, in fact the people of these areas are trampled upon and punished for being centuries-old-inhabitants of the place, as is happening in Kashmir and Palestine.

The environment dies. People die- The use of weapons destroy structures and oil fields, fires breakout due to bombing. Military transport movements and the use of chemical weapons destroy the environment. Soil, water and air are polluted deliberately during war,and,as a by-product of war.

Rapid environmental degradation takes place in times of war due to damage to critical ecosystems. People struggle to survive. And, animals, plants and trees and insects that form the biodiversity of not just the area under attack, but of the whole ecosystem, are killed, and the health of inhabitants, human and other living and creatures, are affected. Habitats are destroyed. Cities and villages are destroyed, families are displaced,ecologies and economies are damaged. All living creatures become refugees. Displaced.

The biggest loss to war and violence, is the loss of humanity–The consequence of war is the creation of hatred, and,the loss of values. Human nature is at its worst when humans use all their talent and aptitude to eliminate other human beings. When human life is reduced to being the debris of war – to be incinerated or buried in the ground.If that is not the failure of human values. If that is not loss of humanity. What is?!!

War, huh, good god/ What is it good for/ Absolutely nothing, listen to me/ Oh, war, I despise/ ‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives/ War means tears to thousands of mothers eyes/ When their sons go to fight/ And lose their lives ~ War: Songwriters – Barret Strong / Norman Whitfield

Make war, not on terrorism, but on ignorance,Mr politician! Create a front that reaches primary education to the most far-flung areas. Make war on sickness, by strengthening primary health care. Challenge growing corporatisation and crony capitalistson a war footing. Confront growing inequality and fight for a more even distribution of wealth.Do battle on behalf of agriculture and the entry of GMO’s that are impoverishing our agriculture. And most importantly, wage war on environmental degradation and, stand up for tribal rights and our forests.

We must be peaceful. We must make peace with ourselves. Be clear headed, and make peacemaking our undertaking. And, instead of supporting war, peacefully and boldly, register our dissent to war instead of listening to and supporting cries for war.

… Peace will come/ And let it begin with me/ … We need peace/ And let it begin with me/ Oh, my own life is all I can hope to control/ Oh, let my life be lived for the good/ Good of my soul/ Let it bring/ Peace/ Sweet peace/ Peace will come/ And let it begin with me ~ Peace will Come: songwriter – Tom Paxton

Pratap Antony is a Passive activist. Active pacifist freelance thinker and writer on ecology and environment, social justice and pluralism, management ideas and issues and jazz and western classical music and Indian classical dance.

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