Friday, March 28, 2008

What is War

What is War

A word never has a single meaning. Almost every word, in every almost every language has a dual or multiple meanings. The lexical or the dictionary definition of any word is the most precise, comprehensive and direct, one can ever expect. It is on to the human mind, to explore its dominions, deriving an extended description and the implications it provides. Similarly, the word “war,” to most people around the globe, is a conflict or an armed hostility between nations or groups of people, where two or more sides are involved to achieve their demands or particular goals. From ancient to modern times, sophisticated civilizations, powerful, prosperous cultures, and mighty nations, have understood “war” as we do today.

War, no doubt, is an extraordinary driving force, that can, and has in the past inflicted massive changes in the world. It has altered how nations interact, how they exercise their power and how they affect other countries or people around them. A suitable example for this description of “war” is that of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich of Germany. The radical and tyrannical reign of Hitler, caused havoc not only in Europe, but also throughout the globe; leaving millions and millions of innocent people dead; and accruing in what could be most accurately said as the bloodiest, most detrimental modern war ever fought in the history of humanity. It determines the balance of power, social and political order in the world, dividing the global community according to the religion, culture, wealth and military strength they possess. But if the meaning of this word is carefully analyzed and a little pondered over, it will be very evident to us, that war is not only fought in battlefields, but also in our everyday lives; like in courts for justice, in competitions for glory, in stock exchanges for profit and in catastrophe-struck places against trauma.

In the wake of the recent, devastating Hurricane Katrina, many people became homeless, while many more passed away. A friend of mine, few days back, narrated a dreadful incident that occurred with his cousin who resided in New Orleans. The poor soul (cousin) lost his parents and 2 other siblings, besides a two-year old sister, who miraculously survived. He is an epitome of a person waging war against his sufferings, coping with the absence of his loved ones, without a shelter, meanwhile, also trying to decide the upbringing of an orphan sister at such an early age. Another such instance is yet again of the aftermath of a natural calamity, which occurred on October 8th, 2005. An earthquake of magnitude 7.9, shook the land mass of South Asia, wrecking areas from Kabul in Afghanistan through Northern Pakistan to North-Western India (the regions encompassed by the three capitals). Numerous towns and villages vanished from the face of this earth, leaving thousands homeless and resulting in a cumulative million or more casualties. Most of the survivors, currently suffer from Manic-Depression Disorder, while also battling with their evermore increasing desire to commit suicide in order to assuage their agony of loosing typically everything, from personal possessions to family members; most survivors of the terrible ordeal being children (now orphans) have yet another war to fight against the unfamiliar selfish surroundings, in a world without the persons who cared for them.

Every now and then, if one picks up the newspaper, he/she would find ample proofs of people conducting wars against various things or foes. The atrocities committed by humans on their fellow beings, and their wicked, egotistical nature, make war inevitable, be it in the battlefield or in the daily lives. Ruth Minsky Sender, author of the historic novel “The Cage,” testified in her very own life story, that not only were the Nazis waging wars during World War II, but millions of other innocent people, mainly Jews, were fighting violent wars, once again, against their surroundings and freedom fighters for liberty, due rights and glory. Another war scene could be seen, if a person visits the Wall Street in NYC, or the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange), where merchants, businessmen and other stock-holders are seen in an aggressive war, to claim their shares, mostly verbally, but occasionally transitioning off to physical interaction.

Despite the existence of profound and multiple meanings of the word “war,” provincial people usually “think inside the box” and assume it most commonly as only fought in battle grounds. What the public does not realize, are the drastic effects, knowing the extended meanings of a word can have. It can make one comprehend his/her surroundings better, and contribute to society more efficiently. Thus, we should not contain ourselves to the lexical meaning of “war” but instead, explore the unknown realms of it, so as to be better persons, and alter our views and how we perceive “war” in our day to day lives.

by mirzatech at hotmail dot com



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