Monday 28 February 2022

Thought Picnic: Beyond conscientious objection to fighting needless wars

The summary of my views

I was asked what my position was about the Russia and Ukraine crisis by a mentor of mine, and it allowed me to find the opportunity to transcribe from the notes I took down in anger on Friday night but was unsure of how to convey in a blog.

My answer was “We need to get to a point in human civilisation when young men can refuse to battle for recalcitrant old men who cannot settle their scores with some maturity. I hope Ukraine survives the onslaught.

Before my viewpoint was taken as uncommitted to apparent indifference, I went on to say, “In fact, my stand is it is an unnecessary war for which Vladimir Putin who has a warped idea of national sovereignty and areas of influence should be taught an unforgettable lesson.” Obviously, it goes without saying that, If Ukraine has no self-determination on what alliances it can have, is it a sovereign state or a satellite of Russia?

Between sacrifice and slaughter

Having spent 4 years in secondary boarding school, the prospect of a regimented life has never since appealed to me. There is indeed a high calling to serve and the discipline that it entails along with the purpose that defines it, but where do you draw the line between being ready to take the sacrifice and being sent to the slaughter?

In January 1983, in a conversation with my father, he said these words, “There was a time Nigeria was worth dying for, that time has passed.” It so happens my parents were in the UK during the Nigerian Civil War and once it was over, they could not wait to get back to Nigeria to contribute to rebuilding the nation.

To my mind, all war is at its heart totally unreasonable, the inability of leaders and / or older and apparently mature men to have a meeting of minds that they are ready to send the sons of others to battlefields whilst they play war games in genteel surroundings totally oblivious of the depth of suffering on the populace is an atrocity at best.

Keeping our men from bad men

The result of this is we are called upon to honour the war dead as some greater cause of humanity has been achieved and unstoppable progress has been bequeathed to civilisation never to go to war again. It is a lie, for lives are needlessly wasted as cannon fodder with war ending at exhaustion of will, men, or ammunition. We are in terms the most uncivilised in war, like animals you have only found more sophisticated ways to kill each other to a standstill.

I would hope we would reach a point where the men who disagree should sort it amongst themselves and the young men whose blood, they are ready to exsanguinate in the remote battlefields, should say no. This is not conscientious objection but a call to common sense or order, exhaust diplomacy and continue to talk to any agreement that you can reach without having to shed blood.

Beyond conscientious objection

For I desire a time when they, the valiant and strong would say, no, we are not going to fight your dirty, senseless, needless, and unnecessary wars. Our lives matter more than to become sacrificial lambs on the altars of your maniacal devilish egos.

Keep your medals, we do not need the glory, stuff your patriotic rhetoric, your folded national flags, and grand memorials to soldiers unknown. With no men going to war, what would men do given no other option than to talk and resolve things?

Too many men have with the power to send others to their deaths not exhausted the possibilities that the maturation of human civilisation and discourse can offer. Maybe something of the idealist and pacifist in me has taken a long trek from realism, it is however not to be wished away as impossible.

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