For a long time, I viewed war as a necessity for peace to occur. There was always going to be a war, in my view, for peace and stability to reign.
War was for justice to arrive as the victor. War was for the conquering of greedy nations. War was for certain people to be taught a lesson.
I didn’t consider all the factors of war because I had been blind to them.
My first eye-opener was a short clip of the Nigerian civil war featured in a documentary. The civil war started in 1967 when a prominent cultural group decided to secede and form an independent country of their own.
The central government reacted by declaring war on them and thus followed three long years of fighting.
The bodies of starving children, dead soldiers in gutters, privileged high-ranking officials taking cover in bunkers while they send young men out to the war front, widespread diseases, food rationing, burnt homes, widows and orphans; all this gave me a lot to ponder on.
I slowly realized that war wasn’t as glorified as my naivety painted it to be.
I’m a Muslim before I’m a Nigerian. Jihad is not a foreign concept to me. Jihad was necessary during the early days of Islam to defend the new religion from attacks of antagonistic tribes. But even then; women, children, livestock, and trees were ordered to remain untouched.
It has always been a source of pride to me that Muslims fought back with valor and courage. However, the Prophet advised us to refrain from wishing to be alive during his time because we may not have been able to bear the trials and tribulations of the era. War is no funny business.
I recently watched a documentary on the world wars. Germany was a country that struck me as odd. Facing defeat in World War 1 didn’t humble them, on the contrary, it fueled their passion for higher levels of violence necessary to conquer the European continent.
The result? It ended in a second (and more lasting) defeat for them at the cost of 50 million lives. What is the value of human life? A question I’ve been unable to answer.
Japanese soldiers were the least afraid of death. Suicide bombing, driving planes into enemy ships, jumping off cliffs to avoid being captured alive; I couldn’t comprehend what higher purpose war manifested for them to sacrifice their lives. It was almost like war was a religion and they were martyrs for its sake.
In the modern world, war still exists but on a different scale.
Israel occupies Palestinian land with immense support from America.
America returns students from Iran or detains them at her airports.
Iran attacks Americans in her country.
China puts Muslims in concentration camps; the world looks away because no country’s economy is at stake.
What is the value of human life?
War will continue to go on. Humans with hearts as hard as rocks will continue to exist.
Injustice will continue to prevail and longlasting peace is a utopian idea. But I’m no longer making sense of the chaos in our world.
This post was previously published on Medium.com.
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