“When are we ever going to fight the war to end all wars?” I asked sadly, still shaking my head after everyone had calmed down.
“What do you mean?” my friend asked inquisitively. He apparently wasn’t overly concerned by the commotion.
We had been enjoying our children’s house league soccer game when a parent from the other team went ballistic after the ref made a call he didn’t like. The man came onto the field and started berating the referee. It looked like it might get out of hand until the other team’s coach intervened and cooler heads prevailed. “We think people should be or live a certain way and when they don’t, we want to fight them,” I went on, referring not just to the irate parent.
“We declare war on them,” my friend added.
“We certainly do,” I concurred. “Since WWII, which killed over 60 million people, the supposed war to end all wars I might add, there have been no less than 150 wars, conflicts, rebellions and genocides.”
“You’d think we’d have had enough, wouldn’t you?”
“Well, apparently, the last war to end all wars before that, WWI, which killed more than 17 million people, wasn’t enough, so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising!”
“Then why are you so surprised?”
“We’re supposed to be intelligent, rational beings, but look at what’s happened. In the 50s we had wars in Korea, Vietnam and the Tibetan Rebellion, among others. In the 60s we had a new war in Vietnam, plus the 6 Day War, plus the Nigerian Civil War. Then in the 70s, we had the continuation of the Vietnam War, the genocide in Cambodia and the war in Bangladesh. In the 80s, we had the Falklands War, plus wars in Afghanistan, El Salvador, Grenada and Iran-Iraq. But that still wasn’t enough, because in the 90s, there was more war in Afghanistan, plus the Gulf War, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Yugoslavia and Rwanda. And in the last 12 years there have been wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan and the Congo. Heck, the Korean War isn’t even over! Since this last great war to end all wars, no less than 20 million people … 20 million! … have died in armed conflicts. And so many of them were innocent civilians. It’s pure insanity!”
“You could say that.”
“A conflict erupts here, we send in troops and people get killed. Another conflict erupts there, we send in more troops and more people get killed. We’re like the lost hiker in the forest, who, no matter how many mosquitoes he swats, never gets them all. They just keep coming.”
“Pardon?” I replied.
“We’ll fight the final war to end all wars when we figure out what the real enemy is,” my friend added.
“Who, or what, is that?” I inquired.
“We think it’s each other. We think it’s this country or that country, this culture or that culture, this religion or that religion, this race or that race, this referee or that referee. But it’s none of these.”
“What is it then?”
“Fear?” I replied, unable to hide my astonishment.
“Yes, it’s fear and nothing but fear … both individual and collective,” he added, before pausing to give me time to think about it.
“What are we afraid of?”
“We’re like a newborn baby whose mother is in the other room. We don’t know where she is and we feel afraid, so we begin to cry.”
“Who are we afraid to be separate from?”
“God? I don’t get it!”
“The number one thing working against us is that we don’t know who we really are, that we’re actually spiritual beings, at one with God. We’re like the baby. We believe we’re separate, even though we’re not, and so, we live in fear. And this fear causes us to behave in unspeakable ways.”
“So, I guess we don’t end this war with bombs or guns?”
“Certainly not. We only need one thing … love!”
Just then the referee blew the whistle to signal the end of the game, after which, the two smiling teams of joyful youngsters lined up for congratulatory handshakes and hugs. “Well, that’s a good place to start,” I thought.
Have a lovingly awesome day!