98th Remembrance Day, November 11, 2016.

On this solemn day, we’re asked to take a moment and remember the Great War. And since most historians believe World War II was the prolongation of World War I, we need to reflect about the Second World War too. And since both World Wars exacerbated and caused the divisions and rifts between the Allied powers and Soviet Russia, then we will need to reflect about the Cold War too. And since the cold war sparked dozens of proxy wars between the USA and the USSR between the 50s-80s, we will need to reflect about the cold war proxy wars too. Wars like Vietnam, North Korea, and the myriad Junta wars in South America. And lastly, since after the defeat of the Ottomans (the other World War One front) and the Sykes-Picot agreement that has redrawn the map of the Middle East, causing numerous ongoing conflicts there too; we will need to reflect about those never-ending wars as well.

That’s a lot of wars resulting from the Great War to remember and reflect upon, wouldn’t you say?

hate-reds-lrCain and Abel

Wars between humans have been going on since the dawn of civilization, Cain and Abel got us started us on that path – they’re the poster children of the first conflict. The struggle of Cain and Abel in the tradition in which it was framed in the Old Testament is squarely on the side of Abel. Cain’s actions were monstrous as poor Abel’s head was getting crushed under that heavy stone. This iconic biblical story encapsulates the belief that one party can be all innocent while the other utterly evil. However, human conflicts are seldom so black and white, no matter how easy it is to fall prey to moral absolutes and generalizations. Nowadays, no matter what the cause is, it’s most likely that both parties are partially to blame, especially when the spirit of revenge and retribution gets factored in as the ongoing cause of said conflict.

Let me explain;

Let’s say that after Cain kills Abel and takes off, Abel’s descendants pursue Cain and his group to punish them. When the opportunity arises they kill him and a blameless passerby in his community. Once they’ve committed the act would they now be considered evil and Cain’s cohorts justified in pursuing further retribution? This vicious cycle of vindictiveness and retribution explains how warring groups have behaved since antiquity, and the sum total of this behavior demonstrates so well our sorry history of conflicts and strife? This is why I am always disturbed by all the destructive one-sided lies and propaganda spread by those in power, those that profit from war, the merchants of death and destruction who are all too willing to send our innocent children to war, but never theirs.

So my point is this; if we spent less time remembering that we were wronged by past aggressors, and instead forgave our enemies, then maybe the ones we have aggressed can forgive us too.

And maybe we can collectively pledge never to let another Great War happen that will need to be “Remembered” ever again!

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