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An anti-war digression


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5/30/2000 1:21 PM
Mark Hammer
An anti-war digression
Thanks.  
 
This isn't the place for it, but everything I read about the role of young people in any of Africa's conflicts sickens me. Actually, whether it is Tien Na Menh Square or Sierra Leone, anytime I hear of one generation deliberately sacrificing an entire other generation for political motives, I'm disgusted. Given the psychological fallout of what happens to the "conscripted" AK-47/machete-wielding 15-year-old who tries to lose the memory of witnessing the mutilation and/or execution of their family in the blood of others, expect Sierra Leone and Rwanda to be seriously fucked up for a LONG time to come. We're talking an entire generation that is messed up beyond repair.  
 
I recently attended a talk on stress in peacekeeping duty given by a military psychologist who works with enlisted men. He told the anecdote of a guy he knew who he hadn't bumped into for a while. The guy looked kind of down. When asking for a *real* answer to the question "How are you?", he found that the fellow had been posted in Uganda during the height of the Rwandan genocide. The fellow told of travelling in a jeep with a few other soldiers, and how they passed through a conflicted area, and came upon a roadside incident where one pregnant woman was butchering another pregnant woman with a machete, presumably because of who was Tutsi and who was Hutu. He screamed to his buddies that they couldn't stand idly by and let this happen. The driver leaned forward so he could see only the road and sped outa there; the faster they left, the less real it would be for the driver. They weren't supposed to use force to intervene. Of course nobody planned on them having to live with the memory of the consequences of that policy. Lord only knows how the 12-year-old, who happens to come across his or her mother being on the receiving end of that, will feel.  
 
All of a sudden, which op-amp to use, or whether Metallica deserves more revenue for their music, isn't quite so important.  
 
Lest anyone think that this is a snooty depiction of Africa and the indigenous people there, I hasten to remind people that the guns and bullets came from somewhere else, as did the colonialism that gutted the potential for a civil way of life. It's not just an internal problem, but an international one.  
 
Happy Tuesday, people.
 
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5/30/2000 4:51 PM
Eric H

quote:
"Lest anyone think that this is a snooty depiction of Africa and the indigenous people there, I hasten to remind people that the guns and bullets came from somewhere else, as did the colonialism that gutted the potential for a civil way of life."
 
 
Since you brought it up, I can't think of too many wars (conflicts, battles etc.)in recorded history,that didn't consist of the old farts sending out the kids to fight. This is always preceded by the usual brainwashing du-jour: religion, patriotism, ethnic superiority etc. If there was a way to get the old farts to fight it out, things might be a little different. Since they're always the ones with the real clout, this is a moot point.  
 
-Eric
 
5/30/2000 5:42 PM
Stephen Conner

quote:
"I hasten to remind people that the guns and bullets came from somewhere else, as did the colonialism that gutted the potential for a civil way of life."
 
 
It was us! We tried to fuck up most of India too and are still selling jet planes, guns and cattle prods for use against civilians in East Timor. All this while kissing Bill Clinton's butt and instituting American-style penal reforms. More jails and more perps to fill them. Gee! It makes me feel proud to be aboard the 'USS Great Britain'.  
 
Steve C.
 
5/30/2000 7:38 PM
Mark Hammer

Well, I should think that the colonialism brush can paint a lot of folks into an uncomfortable corner: Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, and more recently, Israel and Syria, to name but a few of the perps. Apparently, even Australia played a subtle but ultimately nasty hand in Indonesian/Timorese developments.  
 
Speaking of Indo-British relations, we recently started getting "Goodness Gracious Me" here in Canada. Simply one of the most brilliant and side-splittingly funny shows I've ever seen. It makes "In Living Color" look positively amateur. As self-reflective humour (note *correct* spelling), the only other thing I can compare it to is a Canadian show called "This hour has 22 minutes". The small casts of both GGM and THH22M are both exceptionally flexible and clever. You don't have to be Indian or Pakistani to like GGM. Change the accents and names, and it is identical to comedy shows of the 50's and 60's that mirrored the Jewish experience in being adopted by North American culture. Recommended.  
 
Anyways, this tangential thing is getting out of hand. Please direct GGM-related comments off-line.
 
5/31/2000 6:04 AM
A.S

My army captain had a few awful memories to live with.  
Once, I believe he was in Lebanon, he had to pull the pieces of a dead man out of a tunnel with hooks, affraid the body was rigged with explosives.  
Ive never been in an armed conflict myself but during my training I saw pictures that makes me glad there has been peace in my country for 191 years.  
 
PS. We lost the war in 1809 to Russia, damn!!!  
 
A.S
 

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