Reflection on War

The armed conflicts between states, governments, and countries, etc, include consequences such as extreme violence, destruction, and aggression. World War 1 is remembered due to the heavy loses faced but also the advances in warfare. It is memorialized by celebrating Remembrance Day on November 11th, which marks the end of the war. People wear artificial red poppies on their clothes to symbolize the memory of those who died in the war. Citizens pause for two minutes of a silent tribute and attend commemorative ceremonies. People have tried preventing wars before but did not succeed. Wars can only be settled by the will of the majority if they choose to think wisely about the effects and consequences.

As I was reading poems about the war and the novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ I came to understand what soldiers and their families go through during the times of war. The sights were awfully discomforting and unpleasant. The war affects soldiers physically and mentally through severe injuries, shocks, and traumas. WW1 had a big impact on the families. As most soldiers had gone to fight in the war, women had to replace men in the workforce, this put a lot of pressure on the older members of the families as they had to work and support the youngers. The families were scared about the dads or brothers going off to war as they might not be able to see each other again, whereas, some children were confused when their dads or brothers did return from the war because the did not understand the effects of the trauma they had and didn’t know how to communicate with them.

On Remembrance Day these families remember their loved ones who gave their lives for their beloved country. If I were to organize a Remembrance Day ceremony for the fallen martyrs, I would invite their families for a silent lunch and ask them to spend time near their tombs if they wished to. In schools, there would be a flag hoisting ceremony and a moment of silence for our martyrs. The news channels around the country could talk about how much we appreciate their courage and determination. There would be a national holiday and a few hours of silence on the streets. The government would give the families better-living facilities as soldiers do not have proper incomes.

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IRJE – Life of Pi – Part 2

In Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, Pi’s life is quite literally drowning. Accompanied by his family and many zoo animals from his home in India, Pi sets off on a ship, Tsimstsum, to start a new life in Canada. However, a catastrophe occurs when the ship sinks due to a mechanical issue. Pi, along with only a few animals, manages to escape to the lifeboat. However, his family isn’t so fortunate. Scared, alone, and unbalanced, Pi has to rely on his inner strength, while simultaneously balancing the care of the animals he’s on board with. Initially, Pi struggles to coexist with the animals, particularly the tiger, Richard Parker. After a sudden realization that he was sharing a lifeboat with a wild animal, followed by a rapid exit off the lifeboat, Pi realizes that in order to survive this journey, he needs to find a way to live alongside the zoo animals.

I wonder if those who hear this story will understand that my behaviour was not an act of insanity or a covert suicide attempt, but a simple necessity. Either I tamed him, made him see who was Number One and who was Number Two– or I died the day I wanted to climb aboard the lifeboat during rough weather and he objected (p.229).

I found this passage quite thought provoking, for several reasons. Even though Pi’s constantly facing near death experiences, he’s still considering what others may think about his situation. Why is he focusing on what other people think about him? Is this simply human nature? Potentially, he could be doing it as a way to maintain his sanity, because at this point he didn’t have any form of human interaction. Or maybe our society can’t survive without the validation of others, which is something I detect in many people now, regardless if they let it show. Another thing I found fascinating about this scene is that Pi is sincerely making an effort to coexist with his fears, which in this case is Richard Parker, the tiger. Perhaps we should all look at the fact that Pi’s living on a lifeboat with a tiger, as an inspiration to accept and live with the challenges we may face, as well as our most genuine fears.

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WDolan_Blog_Post_On_War

I find war to be a disturbance to the peace. All the aggression and glorification of war are leading to further conflicts. I find that government officials and military leaders are more focused on increasing their military power than considering the harm done to innocent individuals within their region, and around the world. When we read “Soldiers Home” and “All Quiet on the Western Front,” I found the details to be disturbing. I think the authors writing novels like this do a great job of expressing the hardships people go through in war but it seems they still embrace war through their writing.

 

If wars are going to be remembered, they should be remembered everyday. We should take a moment to remember those that died, and take a moment of silence. When we keep embracing war and telling ourselves we are in the right, we often tend to try and increase that feeling we give ourselves, which can lead to aggression.This leads to further conflicts. I think people should not only remember the dead on Remembrance Day, but they should remember those who died privately every single day. When we pick one particular day to remember a topic, (such as war) it suggests that we don’t actually think about the matter any other day. In a way, it shows disrespect to those that died, as we pick only one out of 365 days to remember these fallen soldiers.

If I had to organize a ceremony, I would invite anyone in the audience whose spouse was a veteran who has died, to come up and speak about their partners life and experience. I would ask them to share what was going through their partners mind at the time, when they found out they were going to war. Hopefully, these stories would go through individuals minds, and remind them that war never has to be the final answer. And if war is the final answer, we should find ways to fight a peaceful war; such as a game chess (etc.). There would be no pamphlets or readings in my ceremony, as words on paper never cut deep enough into people’s hearts like the words that come from the mouth of a living spirit. Speeches, tears, and social exchanges, are my way of remembering those that died in a war that was so dreadful.

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The Truth

In The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, a week has passed since the incident between Hassan and Assef. Amir has not seen Hassan for a week but has woken up every day with breakfast already made, along with his clothes ironed and folded. In the past, Hassan would wait for Amir to get up, then he would start ironing clothes and talk with him. One dull morning Ali walked into the kitchen, Amir asked him where Hassan was. Ali looked at Amir with a worried look on his face and told him that Hassan had gone back to sleep…

“Lately, it seems all he wants to do is sleep. He does his chores—I see to that—but then he just wants to crawl under his blanket. Can I ask you something?” (p. 85)

I feel that this quote is important because it tells us that Hassan has yet to tell his father what had happened to him. Instead of telling the truth, Hassan hides under his blanket and gets up to only complete his chores and nothing else. He chooses to get up earlier to avoid Amir. After he completes the job he goes back to the shed outside and stays there until the next morning. I believe that Hassan does this to protect himself from the outside world. This abrupt change in behavior makes Ali worry about Hassan. In time, we will see that the truth will be let out, but from whom? Will it be Hassan or Amir? Is the truth going to be enough to restore their friendship? Only time will tell…

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IRJE: Nov. 1 (Oathbringer)

In Oathbringer, book three of the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson, religion is an integral part of society. The Vorin people worship a god called the Almighty, and each individual tries to please him throughout their lifetime by displaying and acting in accord with the divine attributes. Ardents, such as Kadash, are the people who help keep individuals on track in their life, so that they will go to the Tranquiline Halls when they die (which is essentially the equivalent of Heaven). Dalinar Kholin, uncle to the king of Alethkar and who in reality makes all the decisions for the kingdom, has learned that the Almighty has died through divine visions, and has announced this to the highprinces of Alethkar. Furthermore, Dalinar has married his late brother’s widow, which is not considered acceptable in Vorin culture. The ardents are extremely displease with him, and view the proclamation and marriage as symbols of Dalinar’s heresy. Ardent Kadash accuses Dalinar of no longer respecting Vorin traditions.

“I love tradition,” Dalinar said to Kadash. “I’ve fought for tradition. I make my men follow the codes. I uphold Vorin virtues. But merely being tradition does not make something worthy, Kadash. We can’t just assume that because something is old it is right.” (p. 174)

I think that Dalinar is completely right in saying that old is not the same as right, and I think almost everyone is constantly mistaking these two things. Often it seems people are uncomfortable with change, even when the current way of doing things or current beliefs were created in a completely different time when the human race needed completely different things. For instance, it’s insane to expect an education system established hundreds of years ago to serve our current needs, yet in most cases we have only marginally altered it, and that only started happening in force a few years ago. Another example is climate change, something we didn’t used to know anything about, and so didn’t do anything about. Now that we realize its real and so extremely impactful, we cannot continue to behave in the same way we did previously. The human race develops at an exponential rate, and that rate is only getting quicker. We have to be able to accept that times change and adapt our methods and beliefs to fit that.

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WDolan_IRJE ‘Elijah of Buxton’

‘Elijah of Buxton,’  is a novel based upon the life of Elijah who is the first black child in Buxton, Canada (a place where runaway slaves went into hiding), to be born free from slavery. Although he may be seen as a hero, many refer to him as fragile as he is afraid of snakes. During the quote below, the narrator is explaining about how Elijah has tracked down the thief who stole money from his friend that was hoping to buy his family out of slavery, and has found a baby called Hope. They are on their way to freedom, and Elijah is reminding himself and the baby, that they are returning to freedom. Whether they make it back in time? We don’t know.

“Today you’re truly free, and you choosed the most beautifullest, most perfectest day for doing it!” pg. 341

I chose to write about this quote, as I think this comment expresses a hopeful feeling Elijah encounters. Elijah is explaining to Hope that she chose perfect timing to show up, when he tracked down the thief that stole his friends money. This quote really speaks to me; as the author is writing about an eleven year old that is of the same ethnicity as me and in the country to be born free of slavery, and talks about being free as if he endured years of pain.

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