Have we learnt the lessons of war? Michael Peters of Tiemo Talk of Town says that as long as we view men’s lives as disposable, then war will always be an option.
—This is article #48 in our series of #100Voices4Men and boys
Remembrance Sunday is a day we are encouraged to remember and commemorate the fallen dead who fought in World War I, World War II and countless other wars since.
Yesterday I visited the Polish War Memorial in West London and took a moment to reflect.
Whilst I fully applaud the soldiers of African, American, British, Caribbean, Polish and all other nationalities who fought for us, something jars with me about this whole remembrance and Tower of London Poppy exhibition business.
I understood the message to be “never again”. Yet, just 21 years after World War I ended in 1918 we had World War II upon us in 1939.
100 years on from the start of World War I there are at least 10 wars (defined as those with at least 1,000 battle related deaths per annum) currently going on and 8 serious armed conflicts (defined as those resulting in deaths of 200-999 people).
What would the world look like if we were sending women to war?
The world didn’t really learn from World Wars I and II as war has been ever present since then. Thousands of men have died in all of these wars. I understand and value the role of soldiers all too well. My own Father was a Soldier in the British Army. At times like this, as world peace has not truly been established, it does make you question the point of war. What exactly was the point of the sacrifices made, which, for many men, cost them their own lives, in order to protect our nation and other countries around the world.
Furthermore, what signal does this send out to our young men about the value we have put on their lives’, for after all, the reality is that it is predominantly men sent to war? Men putting their lives on the line. Are world leaders telling us that a man’s life is easily dispensable? That a man’s life is far less valuable than a woman’s? If 99% of soldiers were women what would the world be like today? (You can read a short article I wrote about this here).
On top of that, we have instances in Britain and right across the world of young people and grown adults seemingly disrespecting the peace that these soldiers have died for by valuing another human beings life so lowly that they will kill for something as relatively trivial as another person’s mobile phone or trainers; or because someone happens to be in the wrong “Endz” at the wrong time or because someone upset them at school or university so they go on a mad, desperate shooting rampage.
Do we love and value our men as much as our women?
We have all manner of unspeakable child abuse and cruelty rife around the country and around the world. Is all this what brave soldiers laid down their lives for?
If we want a better world, a more peaceful, less violent and cruel world, surely we need to bring back the love. To create an environment where decisions are made where love for mankind is at the core of decision making – be that political or personal. That it is important to love one another irrespective of differences in religion, faith, race, culture, wealth, gender, sexuality, disability and for all manner of reasons countries and individuals go to war, including territorial disputes.
If that is central to your thinking, the option to go to war or remain at war arguably becomes less of an option.
Maybe it would help if world leaders with the power to lead their countries into or out of war consider more carefully these matters. Consider the purpose, value and likely outcomes of being at war; the society and moral values they are creating and equally the value they are putting on men’s lives. Do we love and value our men as much as our women?
That to me seems far more relevant and of more importance than wearing a poppy, visiting the Tower of London and harking back to past conflicts that in the long term do not really seem to have made the world a safer place.
You can see more of Michael Peters writing by visiting the Tiemo Talk of the Town blog.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
ALSO ON INSIDE MAN:
- Fifteen articles about men and war that will make you think again
- This remembrance day remember men aren’t to blame for war
You can find all of the #100Voices4Men articles that will be published in the run up to International Men’s Day 2014 by clicking on this link—#100Voices4Men—and follow the discussion on twitter by searching for #100Voices4Men.
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