I’m angry because one hundred years ago today at 11pm England declared war on Germany.
I’m angry that one hundred years ago last monday, the first declaration of war was made between Austria-Hungary and Serbia.
This was the starting block of a war which would later take 8.5 million lives and injure 37 million. Not mentioning the 6 million who remain to this day unfound, but presumed dead. I am angry that in the egotistical nature of this country, we didn’t care about when the whole thing started. It wasn’t in the news, and went vastly unnoticed. We only take note of when we got involved in the massacre, when our lads got hurt. which takes us back to one hundred years ago today. But aren’t they all our lads regardless of nationality? They are all humans like us aren’t they?
A little known fact which also makes me sick to the stomach is that 306 British men were killed; on home soil, by their own country’s firing squad, all because they did not want to kill others. These men continue to be viewed by the military as a disgrace and their names are absent on all war memorials. They are being punished for not taking other’s lives.
I am angry because we have learnt nothing from all of these deaths. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what day we light candles, or sit in prayer. It doesn’t matter if it was the first declaration or our own. We are still killing. In fact the world has been at war ever since this original Great War. We see pictures of suffering and dead children on our front pages and complain on twitter that it is putting us off our cereal. We watch the death tolls rise like the stocks and shares.
How can we expect peace when we hold such an ‘us’ and ‘them’ attitude to international relations? We view conflict elsewhere in the world as being so separate from our own lives. Lives are lives. Loss is loss. Will we ever learn this true empathy?