Making a soldier my friend

making-friends-with-soldier-hairy-armpits-fingersNew friends. Source: Pinterest 

I’ve just had a huge ‘aha’ moment watching Paul Chappell’s talk on waging peace.

I have realised that in my being angry at the army’s existence, I am doing exactly what the government do to get people to go out and kill people in war in the first place.

My anger comes from my own dehumanisation of those who go to war. I realised that this is never a way to get to peace.

 making-friend-with-a-soldier-soldier-love-hairy-armpitsSoldier love. Source: deviant art

When Chappell talks about being a pacifist that is ‘pro-military’, I discover a great respect for him. Because it made me realise how you don’t have to be anti-military in order to be pro-war. Those are two separate things. People are not war.

The de-humanising of people is an easy way for people to begin killing, and is how army officers and leaders, make it possible, (along with other trainings) for normal people who initially don’t want to kill, to kill.

 making-solderi-friend-hairy-armpits-gun-flowerBanksy. Source: Pinterest

I would normally call the people in the army ‘killers’ and ‘murderers’. I found the pain of war so great (and I haven’t even been in one, but I can imagine), and so unnatural, that I simply could not connect with their humanness.

And yet, now I realise I was simply doing what they were doing when they waged war; calling them a name. I was separating me from them and further segregating society. I was making an enemy of them. Now I understand that if peace is to be attained, making a friend of an enemy is the ONLY way it could possibly happen.

If you can connect with those in the armies, win over their hearts and minds, and argue with compassion, that they could use their organisation in a more peaceful way (like being a rescue crew), then everything could change.

I am reassured by Chappell’s talk, he says that this is already happening. Because of the influence of social media and the internet, armies are a lot more cautious about who they kill these days. Even if you win the war, just one civilians death posted on social media could now mean a huge and unwelcome counter-attack.

making-a-soldier-my-friend-hairy-armpits-ghandiMahatma Ghandi. Source: Pinterest

 When Ghandi was fighting the oppression Britain was putting upon the Indian people, he had no anger towards Britain. He still called the Brits his friends, and was a big fan of our culture. It was only through not making them an enemy, even in the face of violence, that he freed the people of India.

As soon as I realised that my inner violence towards the army does not serve my cause, it was gone. No longer will I shake my head in supermarkets at army officers trying to get money from the public. I will now, instead, shake their hand and understand that this is the only way forward.

 

The more I learn about peace, the more I see it as a possibility. As Chappell says; only 1% fought the civil rights movement, and only 1% were active in the women’s rights movement, and yet laws were changed. We only need that 1% of society actively doing something to bring peace about. I would like to think that I will be a part of that 1% that sees peace made possible in this lifetime.

 

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

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