The lovely Catalina Egan invited me on a blog hop for International Day of Peace.
Catalina is passionate about PEACE, and asked me to write a short post. Wow, peace. I immediately think of there not being enough of it, then I think of war. Peace and war. War and peace.
There is something I’d like to say. I feel intense sympathy for all the men and women (mostly men) who have fought wars for others, who have experienced untold trauma, pain, death, sacrificed their lives/youth, time, physical and mental health, incomes, careers, relationships. These service-people were given no option but to kill ‘the enemy’, an order against the commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, one they had to return to and live with.
This is not peace.
With the hindsight of the present, I’m horrified that Indigenous Australians who fought for their country in both world wars came back to much the same discrimination and prejudice as before. Many were barred from Returned and Services League clubs, except on ANZAC Day. Many Indigenous Australians were not given the right to vote for another 17 years.
This is not peace (or justice).
Still today, many people serving in the military return from active service with undiagnosed mental scars. A global military culture prevails of veterans being tough, of shutting up about post-traumatic stress and mental health problems. Unable to cope or get the help they need, some commit suicide, others battle depression, anxiety, alcohol or affective disorders at some stage in their life. Relationships fail. A military officer I knew had PTSD, and it was his anxiety, depression, drug use, heightened awareness and belief he could kill by focusing that inspired the character of Adam in Arafura. War breaks people, the ‘lucky’ ones who get to return home, who don’t get the support they need.
This is not peace.
It would be nice for many of us to stop defaulting to our ‘us and them’ warlike mental framework. Whether it’s about war, or relationships, or migrants, or jobs, or a stranger, the colour of their skin, or someone from the opposite sex, or the same sex! Has evolution built this into us?
Michael Leunig is right.
Any thoughts on peace, or lack of it?