Thursday, April 04, 2013

War and turning 25

I'm starting to get interested in war.

Or the ideology leading up to war, to be exact. I've been reading up a lot on all the major wars in ancient and modern history. I suddenly find it fascinating how millions upon millions of people would throw themselves on the front lines, risking imminent death just to protect their motherlands, knowing mighty well they might not live to see the fruit of their labour.

My ex-roommate was a war freak. He was obsessed with World Wars and Hitler and the army, and I didn't really understand that obsession. If it weren't for the government scholarship, he would surely have applied to join the army. Of course, every boy at one stage of his life has dreamed of being a soldier. I had the epiphany when I was around 6. But then I switched to wanting to be a police officer, then a firefighter, and then for the longest time I wanted to be Prime Minister. None of those ambitions got to see the the light of day, so I really admire those soldiers who stick out their childhood dream to the end. It's a noble profession.

I thought war was completely unnecessary and stupid, thus needed no glorification. It's always the same shit. War is declared, both sides get badly hurt, the whole world goes into recession, cities are destroyed, people die, both armies get weakened, an embargo is imposed, a peace treaty is signed and that's it. Why can't they just skip the whole bloody process and go straight to the peace treaty?

Little that I knew, mass civilian killings are not merely byproducts of wars - they are part of the multipronged objective. Hitler was accused of genocide, but aren't all wars about a group of people hating another group of people wishing they were dead? The Pan-Arabism movement in the Middle East was basically the Arabs wanting to get rid of Zionists and Shiites, either by ousting them, converting them into Sunni Muslims or annihilating them altogether (the latter evidently being preferred). Of course, annexing new lands seems like the general goal of a war, but the acquisition of new territories also means having to find a way to earn the loyalty of the occupied groups of people. It would be much easier just to wipe them out in the first place.

Wars are more complicated then I previously thought, which makes it a lot more fascinating. I love how twisted wars can get, how hatred ends up prevailing and trumping all logic, to the point where people just forget what they actually set out to fight for and just continue killing or getting killed thinking they are already in so deep and have nothing to lose anymore. The war in Syria started as a revolution of a people against their oppressor, and now it's an outright civil war between the different ethnics. How did they even get there?

I pity them as much as I applaud their bravery. I now understand more about the importance of war and at the same time bewildered by the stupidity of it all. I am enlightened and saddened by all the war stories I've been reading and war movies/documentaries I've been watching.

I should give up engineering and be a war anthropologist. If there's even such a job. That would be awesome.

ps: I'm turning 25 today.


Nastyna said...

Hye, I've been following Kahuna and this one for quite sometime.. first attempt to leave a comment since its your birthday. So... Happy 25th birthday ;)

(I finished reading all entries in your other blog in 3 days time, I should say thank u sebab menghidangkan bahan yang sangat menarik)

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!

Kahuna said...


Anonymous said...

Dulu belajar dkt mrsm taiping ke? Kalau ya, junior la ni