Listening to this horrific and heartbreaking story on “Morning Edition” this morning, I was reminded of comments by New York Times Correspondent Chris Hedges, quoted in Bob Abernethy and William Bole’s The Life of Meaning:
War is one of the most heady and intoxicating, addictive enterprises every created by humankind. It has an allure, a fascination, a draw that sweeps across national lines, ethnicity, race, religion. It has perverted, corrupted, and ultimately destroyed societies and nations across the globe…. War is like imbibing a drug. Once that drug is kicked, once that war is over, many decisions that are made in warfare – not only what we do to others, but also what we do to ourselves&emdash;are exposed for being not only wrong, but stupid (pp. 20-21).
War as intoxication, war as a state of inebriation in which euphoria transforms the unthinkable into the matter-of-fact. How else could the inhumane and atrocious acts described in the story be possible? And what hope can there be for redemption from this scourge? Hedges continues:
Love is the only force that finally can counter the force of death, the death instinct… You can’t go through an experience like [the shelling of Sarajevo] and not understand the palpable power of love, the power of that one act of forgiveness—the Muslim farmer who gives milk to the Serb baby for two hundred plus days…. What appear to be small acts of love—in those acts are seeds of hope (p. 23).
Fate of One Family Illustrates Gaza War’s Ferocity : NPR.