Tuesday, September 11, 2012

War is Hell

"If it's natural to kill, how come men have to go into training to learn how?"
- Joan Baez

So a lot of us whine everyday about things that happen around us. Whether it's the crappy weather, the unbearable traffic or just because we're too lazy to get up each morning, there's always a reason to complain about things.

This is probably why the universe repeatedly has to remind us that there is always someone worse off than ourselves. This blog is one of those reminders. It is a Syrian civilian's blog in which the author tries to chronicle first-hand experiences in the ongoing civil war.

While we live our relatively peaceful lives, it's hard to imagine that something like this is happening on another part of the same planet. Most of the entries are unbelievable, horrifying and downright alien. If we put things to perspective, there's no way the things we whine about would compare to the world these people wake up to everyday.

Instead of complaining about the weather, they worry if missiles would rain on them without warning. Instead of dealing with traffic, they deal with soldiers randomly driving into their streets and firing indiscriminately at civilians. Instead of wondering if they have the energy to go to work, they wonder if the local bakery would be the next target of a gunship attack.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about this blog is the fact that the blogger could only update it sporadically, given his intermittent access to power and the Internet. Readers never know when his next update would take place, or worse, if he'll be back to update it another day.

It's things like these that remind us that humanity is not as civilized as most of us think it is. It's sad that humans are the only species on this planet capable of committing atrocities against its own kind. Sometimes you'd have to ask if that is the cost of sentience and if we'll ever get our shit together as a species.

The universe is a mind-numbingly large place, yet the greatest danger to humanity is our own penchant for self destruction. I hope that in the end, we're still capable of saving us from ourselves because there are no signs that help will arrive from elsewhere to do it for us.

That, in itself, is a disturbing thought.

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