Articles, Mental Health

The Costly Lesson of History

He who tells you that one must celebrate war, is either one of two things: joking or simply psychotic. Humans over the ages, have developed this ideology where we feel the ultimate urge to take up arms and pay seldom attention to reason, to dialogue, to coexistence in disagreement scenarios. Hence, the world has seen many occurrences of aggressive victories that put certain parties in a position of hegemony over the world; or at least, over a certain part of it.

No matter your opinion regarding the parties involved in war, if you were to ask any of the individuals affected by civilian collateral damage or soldier deaths they would surely advise you to take a step back before pressing that dangerous red nuclear button. Many wars also have been found to be completely pointless, as at the time, the soldiers may have been but squanders of political backdoor hegemons that had no effect except that of a negative one: poor souls that would serve as sacrifice to the greed and struggle for power of global communities.

A motto that arose across the world in 1914 was this new “World War” that served as the “war to end all wars”. Effectively, the plotting bloodthirsty world hegemons at the time expected the war to end by Christmas, not to mention their advertising of it towards innocent citizens. Of course, that didn’t happen. Now fast forward to four years later, when a declared victory by the Western Allies takes place, with millions of their own soldiers killed on and off the battlefield, now kept the peace…for some time. A League of Nations is formed; a distribution of power is taking place; a controlled and secured colonization ensues. Good? Absolutely not. The previous motto to end all wars seems to have been forgotten, and the innocent human is once more devalued to nothing but a replaceable piece of flesh. Skip to 21 years later, post-World War I, another bloody war takes place, only this time, over 80 million lives are claimed. It pains me deeply to get into the logistics of the war, but it’s safe to say that the war was nothing but a preamble to further division and enhancement dark human characteristics, no matter the winners and losers. Around 72 years post-World War II, the time at which I have sat down to write this article, I feel immense sadness in response to our world’s current view on war, one that often includes glorification. With wars raging on all four corners of the earth, I couldn’t possibly imagine what more killing it would take to achieve ultimate peace. It seems to me that, every time I think that we couldn’t be any bloodier in inter-human conflict and self-destruction, such a barrier is shattered by a new level of atrocity. Simply put, war hasn’t been seen solving anything.

And the worse victims of these physical and psychological wounds left by war are veterans. Not only have they seen and paid the price of war, but are, on a daily basis, disappointed by the deplorable actions of our human brethren. You know what they say, right? “History repeats itself”? Such a quote wasn’t generated for no reason. Students in classrooms always answer that history is studied in order for humanity to learn from its mistakes, and it remains extremely sad to see that ideology not being transferred to political and war leaders globally.

Ultimately, we owe the effort, the dedication and the safety of our nation to Canadian veterans. Who knows, one day, we might cease to be the reason for their suffering.

Last Friday at 11:00 a.m., I was about to leave class when I heard my professor motion to all of us to cease our movements. As soon as the music started playing, a sad and cold chill ran down my skin. I couldn’t forget the one phrase I took away from the voice over the intercom: “We aren’t here today to celebrate war, but to ensure that it never happens again.” Now if only we could apply that sentiment to the rest of the year.

Am I hopeful, you may ask? Of course. I’ve never been more hopeful than I am at the present moment. Social movements are calling attention to these types of issues in our age of technology. Only when we start turning our declarations into implementations, and our accords into actions, and our constitutions into practices, will we achieve the peace our ancestors who warred at each other (or didn’t) did so much as dream about. It is all in our hands. Either we let reason take its positive course of dialogue, or give way to cannons and crush the potential for healthy international coexistence.


Lest we forget.

Written by MWR writer Bilal Gomdah, edited by the MWR team

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