I remember the image of a bare child on a road, running for his life, followed by other images of desperate families fearfully running away from their homes to unknown destinations. I remember asking my father about those images of the Vietnam War, trying to make sense of it. His only explanation: “No one can understand wars but through the experience of the victims.”
Since that moment I wanted to have a greater understanding of what war inflicts on humanity as I was quickly confronted with a conscious question, “What if a war is imposed on my country and this happened to me and my family?”
No, I thought, we are living in one of the safest and most comfortable places on earth.
And in August of 1980, there I was, running away from one of the safest spots in the world—a top tourist destination—while watching Russian soldiers take over the streets of my birthplace. I left behind a huge family, my friends, and my beloved peaceful country. It was the most distressing and horrific feeling of my life, and I was filled with anger, disappointment and betrayal.
On August 20th of 1980 I had made it to Frankfurt’s international airport and found myself standing in front of a German police desk, seeking asylum. Yes, another victim like millions of others who had nothing to do with the conflict and had no intention of leaving for unthinkable and unfamiliar territories.
While riding a bus towards Shoenick refugee camp, I realized that it wasn’t just me (an Afghan) but faces of various nationalities. I recall mutual sad expressions and feelings of disgust and anxiety. I was however more interested in talking to a fellow refugee across the aisle, who looked of Asian descent. I struck a conversation with a “Hello” and asked, “Where are you from?” I was overcome with a feeling of curiosity, recalling the image of the Vietnamese boy running from war.
“Vietnam” he indicated. I was caught with extreme emotions and sense of further frustration—what now? It had been years since the end of the Vietnam War
Thirty-five years from that moment, I would not dare to ask anyone as to why and how people leave their homelands. There is no real logic or answer for wars! The inhumane growth of arms race and waging wars has turned into a competition for victory at the expense of human lives (“collateral damage”) without regards for human rights, social justice and respect for human dignity
It is also important to remember that none of these victimized citizens have had any capability of producing armament—but natural resources such as oil, mineral and other goods. These victims have been immorally manipulated to exchange natural resources for modern weaponry and use against their own citizens throughout the course of modern history.
War advocates and profiteers have also done a very good job through propaganda by persuading the young, the innocent and needy in the name of common good, or so-called noble causes like Democracy, Liberty and “Love for the Country.”
The majority of casualties are the innocents. In World War II, 65% of the dead were civilians; in more recent decades—the Vietnam, Afghan and Iraq wars—90% of casualties have been civilian deaths. These wars have and continue to destabilize the world, while sending millions into mental despair and exile away from their homeland.
At last, wars are waged to:
Terrorize, oppress, kill, dominate, destabilize communities/countries and bring the worst in humanity. Wars do nothing but bring misery, corrupt minds and demonize.
War is a Loss of Decency.