I am so tired of war

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I WASN’T at all surprised to hear that since 1945 there has been only one year when Britain wasn’t involved in a conflict somewhere. I recall a palace journalist describing Britain as a peace loving nation; I am surprised he kept his face straight. Perhaps I read it wrong and he meant Britain wants a piece of this and a piece of that wherever it can find it.

It is no use changing your residencia to Spanish. The Spaniards have an even worse record of pillage and plunder. In the period 1480 to 1940 there were 278 wars in which European nations were involved, according to American political scientist Professor Quincy Wright (1890-1970).

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Engaged in 28 percent of them England leads the pack.

France (26%) wasn’t far behind and Spain (23%) and Russia (22%) were hanging on to the tails of soldiers tunics.

The distinguished Russian-American sociologist Pitirim Sorokin reveals that from the 12th century to 1925 Spain spent 67% of the period at war. Poland came second at 58% with England at 56%. These were followed in descending order by France, Russia, Holland, Italy and Germany.


Given Britain’s record since 1945 it has probably taken the podium of incivility awards. These conflicts include India, Palestine, Malaya, Korea, Suez Canal Zone, Kenya, Cyprus, Suez 1956, Borneo, Vietnam, Aden, Radfan, Oman, Dhofar, Northern Ireland, the Falklands War, Oman, the Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. You may know of more.

Each conflict marches to the same old tune: we always do it for the betterment of the natives. It is just coincidental that whilst freeing others from despotism we stumble upon mineral deposits and other assets.

As Henry Labouchere, the 19th century English Liberal MP and outspoken journalist put it: “We are without exception the greatest robbers and marauders that ever existed on the face of the globe. We are worse than other countries because we are hypocrites also, for we plunder and always pretend to do so for other peoples’ good.”


Another feature of war, according to George Orwell is that ‘all the war propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.’

I suppose one has to be the eternal optimist to believe in change; that the world will peacefully co-exist in a bank-free barter co-operative; that swords will be turned into ploughshares. As someone said, “It will be a great day when education gets all the money it wants and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy bombers.”

Can we stop war? Of course we can. Wars cannot be fought without the manufacture of weapons, uniforms and war apparatus that underpin them. If those who despise murder and theft refuse to work in armaments factories, build military installations; refuse to make a uniform or the spoils of war then the corpse of conflict will be placed in the tomb of the Unknown Soldier; hopefully to never raise its coffin lid.

As Helen Keller said; “Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings. Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction. Be heroes in an army of construction.”

 

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