Recently, one morning, I was feeling a bit tired on the bus on my way to office. I was thinking to myself how it would be like for a soldier to be trudging through a field faraway from home fighting a war he has no real clue about. I have been reading up on World War II lately in the process of researching for my magazine project. Having served National Service before when I was younger, I can imagine the fatigue the soldier would feel, and the discomfort of being exposed to the elements of Nature for a prolonged period of time, not forgetting homesickness. And what will happen to the family members if the soldier should die in the war?
I believe that is the kind of scenario for each soldier fighting in World War II. Multiply that millions of times because that is the sheer number of people involved in the war. It doesn’t matter which side they belong to. No one is truly a winner in a war fought against one another. Lives were lost, property was damaged, survivors were scarred for life, physically and psychologically, and family members and friends affected as well, besides a ravaged environment. Is a war worth it?
Maybe wars for too long have been glamourised by propaganda. Tales of courage and bravery and loyalty may stir one’s spirit to fight for a cause, but who are we really fighting against? That man in another country’s uniform is not our real enemy – he is our brother.
Also, while each soldier is being caught in a crossfire of heavy artillery and machine guns firing, those sitting in the comfort of their offices were busy making plans over cups of coffee to conquer more lands and get more resources. Many years after the war has ended, academics continue to debate over which side has contributed the most to winning the war.
Meanwhile, students in schools all over the world learn about how wars began and ended, but do they really learn about the root cause of the wars? Do we see beyond the surface of labelling which sides are good or bad?
At this stage of my journey, I am learning to see that we are all connected in the Universe and we are all One. I am not separated from anyone else. I am also not a perfect human being, and I have flaws like any other human being. I am capable of starting a war just like anyone else because we all have a human ego – that dark side of our human psyche – that is susceptible to envy, jealousy, wrath, bitterness and so on, just as we also have a light side that produces love, joy, peace, patience and kindness.
What I am trying to say is that I am no different from anyone else, including those who are considered to be “evil” people, such as Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin. The truth be known, I am Hitler. I am Stalin. I am Osama bin Laden. I am Saddam Hussein. On the other side of the same coin, I am also Mahatma Gandhi. I am Mother Teresa. I am Martin Luther King Jr. I am Jesus Christ. I am Buddha. I am them and they are me. We are all one and the same, are we not?