Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in a final sense a theft from those who are hungry and not fed
— Dwight Eisenhower
War is one thing that humans have retained from the very beginning of “civilisation”. Humans have always warred, wars have always resulted in horrible sufferings and yet the warring urge remains intact in them. Humans claim they are the only civilised animals, but no other animal species wages wars against its kind and causes great destruction and sufferings as Homo sapiens does.
The full-scale Russia-Ukraine war has been on since February 2022. As we see horrifying footage of the dead and wounded in Ukraine, the same distressing events unfold in Israel and Gaza as a result of the Israel-Hamas face-off.
Wars and war talk always remind me of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, “the single-most poignant true-life story to emerge from the Second World War”, which describes the misery and destruction wars bring on the innocent. On July 15, 1944, Anne wrote in her Diary named Kitty: “It is utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of the millions.”
After that she could confide in her dearest Kitty only on July 21 and August 1, 1944. On August 4, 1944, Anne, together with her father, mother, sister and others, was captured by Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, from the Secret Annexe where they had been hiding for two years. She was sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and died there in March 1945, three months before her 16th birthday and barely one month before Bergen-Belsen was liberated by the Allied Forces.
Still, even 78 years after the “democratic” victory over Nazis, we do not have answers to the pertinent questions of the girl. On May 3, 1944, she wrote: “Why are millions spent on the war each day, while not a penny is available for medical science, artists or the poor? Why do people have to starve when mountains of food are rotting away in other parts of the world? Oh, why are people so crazy? I don’t believe the war is simply the work of politicians and capitalists. Oh no, the common man is every bit as guilty; otherwise, people and nations would have rebelled long ago! There is a destructive urge in people, the urge to rage, murder and kill. And until all of humanity undergoes a metamorphosis, wars will continue to be waged, and everything that has been carefully built up, cultivated and grown up will be cut down and destroyed...”
Humanity is still not ready to have the metamorphosis the little girl spoke about and millions are still spent on war each day. The difference is that today it is not millions but billions and trillions. War industry or the industry of weapons of mass destruction thrives and humanity always fails.
Every innocent Israeli killed by the Hamas death squad, every Palestinian killed and wounded and every building destroyed in Gaza by Israeli bombing reminds me of the “destructive urge in people” about which Anne wrote — “the urge to rage, murder and kill”.
It’s high time humanity underwent the metamorphosis.