Right, picture this:
The hairs on the back of you neck are tingling and the adrenaline is pumping through your veins as you patrol the back streets of a foreign city with a rifle in your hands and five of your new best mates close by. You don’t know who is the enemy or who is a friend but the politicians say you are doing important work and you certainly are feeling macho and incredibly alive.
Exciting stuff, eh?
Then one of your mates steps on a trip wire, there is an explosion and his right leg disappears; more adrenaline is released and you start to panic.
What’s that in the doorway?
Oh no, he’s got something in his hands. Bang, bang; you got him. Phew; that was close, but wait… oh shit. Shit, shit, shit.
The dead boy looks like he’s about 8-years-of age and his cricket bat is just about as old.
Today is Remembrance Day so I’d like to talk about war and the glories of killing for your country. This is tricky territory but since Batswana soldiers aren’t being shot at, at the moment, and Botswana is such a peaceful country, I’m going to give it a go.
If I offend anyone please know that was not my intent and feel free to send your comments to the address at the top of this page or to The Voice editors.
November 11th was set aside many years ago by the British government as a day to remember the UK soldiers who lost their lives fighting in World War I but today soldiers from other countries who died in other wars are honoured on this day as well in many parts of the world.
We’re told pretty much all of them were heroes because they died for their countries and who would ever dream of questioning that it is a really good thing to do?
Yeah, that’s right; I would.
Okay, if your homeland is being attacked and your family and friends are under threat, then picking up a weapon and getting stuck in is the thing to do; but then you are really fighting to protect the people you care about. As for killing people who happened to be born in another country just because your government and their government aren’t getting along, well that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. And what if you get killed, where does that leave the wife and kids?
Hey, I could kill another human being, especially if they were threatening someone I cared about, but it would be a very, very personal act and I can’t imagine killing a person just because the politicians and the people who paid to get them elected told me to.
Which raises some interesting questions; do you think your country and your government are the same thing, and do you think the public ever knows the real reasons why they are at war?
And while you are contemplating those sobering questions, here’s something to remember on this Remembrance Day. World War I was all about natural resources, land, empire and trade but soldiers being recruited to fight in the trenches were told they would be fighting the war to end all wars.
That was in 1914.