If we talk about war, I will always be scared. I think it all started when all of my friends were obsessed with World Wars or Anna Frank. I never understood their enthusiasm and their passion about any of this; In fact I am quite sure I exhausted my dad in this topic. It became a regular thing that for three years, from when I was seven to ten years old, there was not a week that passed without me asking him once or twice a week, what would happen if a terrible war started in Mexico? What would he do? Would he stay and fight? or would we move to another country; He always answered me the same thing like something prerecorded. “I’ll stay here and fight for my country, but you my little girl, I will always make sure that your sisters, your mom and you are safe.” Then he would see me with my red eyes nearly crying and try to calm me down saying that I had nothing to worry about, that Mexico could not get into war, even if they tried. I was terrified of war and he knew it.
How can all these people sign in for war? If you ask me despite the fact that I am not an expert, I would blame the imagery. Looking at the pictures of the documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old” I am in fact convinced that a picture is worth a thousand words. If a thousand words can change your opinion about something I assure you that a good picture can too. There is a huge variety of images in the documentary, however I have decided to separate them into two categories:
Propaganda imagery that uses sexism to make people stand up with weapons by using well thought phrases directed to men and kids, for them to get soaked in courage and have no regrets at all! By using phrases such as “It’s just a big game!” clearly directed to kids and “Just a job!” for men gives us a tremendous importance about people’s perspective in that time that sadly is still there currently.
The other type of images I call them “look what we can do” or “look what they did to us”. What these pictures do is just make people mad. This is not direct propaganda, but still is. Historical pictures taken in war that you might see in a museum wake up emotions of frustration and anger, making most of them at that time nationalist. The consequence of this was that no matter what people lived in that living inferno that they refused to talk about, they were just trying to have more people signing in. It did not matter the life you had ahead of you, because they did not have the time to think about that.
For me it is really disappointing that after all, now and then, images of the terrible things that happened in war are still going to “play” or “do the job” if necessary. I think we as humans can not relate or even try to empathize with what happens or what they suffer. We only want to feel courageous and powerful no matter what.