Must We Not Fight for Peace?

War would end if the dead could return.” — Stanley Baldwin.

Just imagine you wake up the following morning to the sound of bombs exploding and artillery firing. The enemy has invaded. You didn’t think it would ever happen, but there you are.

Suddenly you’ve been thrown back into the 1940s.

Now, what do you do? Do you gather your most prized belongings and flee? Or do you kiss your wife and children goodbye  – send them packing  –  and then pick up a gun and fight for your homeland? Assuming you don’t have to stay, that is. Assuming that you can leave.

Should you go? Or should you stand and fight? 

I remember reading a quote by Bertrand Russell, who once said, “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.” Yet, I suspect there is little debate about what most people reading this feel regarding Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

Do we honestly believe we might be wrong here? I firmly believe war is wrong. There are never any winners when it comes to war. To quote Harry Patch (one of the last surviving combat soldiers from the First World War), “War is organised murder and nothing else.”

But, if that’s the case  –  if you don’t believe in war  – what do you do when war comes knocking down your front door?

Do you stand and fight in defence  – do you engage in war  – or do you walk away? Do you find another place to call home? And what if leaving isn’t a choice? Do you accept your fate because you don’t believe in killing another human being? 

There’s another quote that’s always struck a chord with me. Words once uttered by the great Mahatma Gandhi. He said, “There is no way to peace, peace is the way.” I don’t doubt that he’s right. However, it feels idealistic when I think about what’s going on right now.

Because let’s be honest, man’s ability to transcend his ego is pathetic. Of course, peace is right and war is wrong. It’s easy to say that. But peace can only be maintained if both sides believe in it. And there are always exceptions aren’t there? Like standing up to tyranny and oppression? 

If no one had fought and died for our freedoms, where would we be now? How much worse would our lives be?

Killing someone in self-defence is protected under the law for a reason. Just imagine someone decides to invade your home. Image you have nowhere to run and that no one is coming to your aid. Imagine this person is intent on killing your children. What do you do? Do you hesitate to kill that person? In order to protect those that you love? If you’re left with no other choice?

Martin Luther King once said, “If a man has not found something worth dying for, he is not fit to live.” That’t powerful isn’t it? What if that thing is freedom, equality or human rights? Are those not worth dying for? Are they not worth defending to the death? If not for you, then for your children and your children’s children?

I honestly don’t know what I would do if I was in the situation the people of Ukraine find themselves now. Whether or not I would have what it takes to kill another human being  – even if it is for a righteous cause. For something that I strongly believe in. 

Although the thoughts have crossed my mind before, I’ve quickly put a lid on them  –  never thinking for one moment that I would ever have to contemplate killing another human being under the conditions of war. 

Perhaps I never will. Or maybe  –  if this shameless act of aggression is allowed to stand  – we all will. Maybe it will be our children who are forced to make this choice. 

I can think of nothing worse.

After all, here we are. War has returned to Europe. It’s the closest we’ve been to World War since the Cold War. And right now we need to ask ourselves, what would we do? 

How would we respond if we woke up to bombing and heavy artillery tomorrow morning? What if we found ourselves in a war we didn’t ask for? What if we were made to choose between accepting the rule of tyranny and oppression or killing those trying to enforce it upon us?

Finally, we need to ask what we can do to help.

***

You can find more of AP2’s writing here at: https://pointlessoverthinking.com

You can also find him on Medium at: https://anxiouspilot2.medium.com

Or on Twitter at: @AnxiousPilot

7 thoughts on “Must We Not Fight for Peace?

  • Many people flee when war comes knocking, for staying to fight is daunting. Ukrainian men and women know if they all flee, they will lose their sovereignty, and too many remember what life was like when Russia annexed Ukraine previously: it meant starvation for millions because harvests were completely confiscated to feed Russia, leaving Ukraine with nothing. The loss of freedom and having to once again live under a totalitarian regime is too much to bear, so fighting becomes the only option.

    I pray that the sanctions imposed upon Russia by different governments and businesses will break Russia, and the citizens will demand a change of leadership, then a permanent ceasefire can happen, followed by reparations to Ukraine and help in rebuilding the roads, houses, and buildings.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “The loss of freedom and having to once again live under a totalitarian regime is too much to bear, so fighting becomes the only option.” – Well said. I pray for the same Tamara – thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  • AP2, you have analyzed so well and so compellingly what many of us have been pondering. I do agree with your assessment of Russell’s quote in this particular instance. There can be no doubt that Ukraine is suffering an unprovoked criminal invasion. That virtue of being in the right doesn’t really help though, does it? I weep.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Human pride has long been our undoing. When it comes to defending oneself I believe it’s morally justified. I can’t imagine being on the side of the Russians. How do you carry on fighting for one man’s pride – for such a gutless act of unprovoked aggression? It’s no wonder they’re suffering with low moral. I weep too. War always brings out the best and worst of human nature. Still, we must stay strong – we are not powerless and we mustn’t think so. We can all do our part. All the best Jane 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  • I hate violence, weapons, and war, AP. But I would like to think that I would act exactly as the Ukrainians are doing in the face of invasion, destruction, and murder. Many Ukrainian women are also learning to shoot and are defending their country. Others are helping to supply the troops, constructing war materials…whatever Ukrainians can do, they are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is the struggle I have in my head. I think there must be something to absolute pacifism – why so many spiritual leaders believe it is the only way to peace. But how do you reconcile that belief when someone starts dropping bombs on you and your neighbours? Do you not have to defend yourself? Is it not morally justified in this situation? I have to believe that it is. Ukrainians are dying for all of our freedoms right now. If we do nothing we might all meet the same fate. Thank you Cheryl. Wishing you well 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  • So much to provoke deep thought here. The quote, attributed to Herbert Hoover, comes to mind, “Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.”

    I hope for change and pray every day for a step – even just one – closer to Russia withdrawing from Ukraine. This would simply be a start.

    I hope you and family are staying safe and finding ways to encourage each other in word and action.

    Like

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