By Bobson Gbinije
“So long as mankind
Shall continue to lavish more
Praise upon its destroyers than
Upon its benefactors, war shall
Remain the Chief Pursuit of
Edward Gibbon (1737-1794)
Decline and fall of the Roman Empire
THE relativistic and pluralistic colouration given to the TRUTH has always precipitated divisions, conflicts, controversies and wars. Hence, the first victim of war is the TRUTH. When the truth is murdered, hoodwinked, hara-kiried and suppressed in any collectivity, it stimulates the instant death of peace redounding to war.
Within the context of usage, war is the unleashing of violent martial, political, socio-economic, religious, cultural etc. hostilities against another individual, nation or collectivity. War is fighting, expedition, crusade, jihad, insurgency, terrorism, armed conflict, battle, rebellion, revolution, uprising, offensive insurrection and attack etc.
The Peloponnesian wars, the 100 days war, the First and Second World Wars, the battle of Tondibi, the Nigeria/Biafra Civil War(1967-1970), the Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, Sierra-Leone, Mali, Chad, Central African Republic, Islamic State (IS), Al-Shaba, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, Shite, Sunni religious wars, Libya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, Russia, America, Egypt, North and South Korea, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Middle East, India, Libya, Ukraine, China/Taiwan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Afghanistan, Syria wars have turned our world into an oubliette of doom, death, disease, quagmire and an apocalyptic dungeon of hopelessness.
Wars have plunged and will continue to plunge mankind into the abyss and labyrinth of arrested development. It is the proverbial vulture of our world waiting to consume the carcasses of the dead. It brings out and unleashes brutish bestialities, sanguinary proclivities, Neanderthal brigandage, belligerent lunacy and genocidal decimations on helpless children, women and innocent men, etc.
In the 21st Century that boosts of so-called modern civilisation, with over 300,000 universities, over one billion Christians, two billion muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and nominal Traditionalists, etc., it is a shame and a cadaverous disgrace that wars still remain the major means and ways of settling our differences. O’ what a hypocritical World! Seeing the evil of war, the essayist, Dr. Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1937) posited in his book War and War Makers, that: “I wish it could be fixed up, so the men that start the wars could do the Fighting.”
The late Biafran war General, Emeka Odumegu Ojukwu observed in his book Because I Am Involved that “Nobody Likes blood-letting, one would certainly wish there were no more wars in all parts of the world, because no war in history has ever solved the problem it set out to solve, eventually, whatever solution there is, emerges from a conference table, and not from the battle field. It is only those who have not been involved in a war that will always push war as the first solution to any problem. War does not solve, it cowers but the problem remains.”
The people of Ife-Modakeke, Urhobo/ Itsekiri/Ijaw, Tiv/Igala, Boko Haram insurgents, etc seem not to have learnt their lessons about the futility and negative consequences of war. The people who cause the war and set the stage for the war do not fight. It is the common man, the flotsams and jetsams and the poor downtrodden that die in reckless battles. Hence, the statesman, Winston Churchill (1874-1965) said: “Little did we guess that what has been called the century of the common man would witness as its outstanding feature more common men killing each other with greater facilities than any other five centuries together in the history of the world.”
But in very rare cases when painstaking, mindboggling, intensively saber-rattling and doggedly consummate dispute resolution and schism management alternatives have been exhaustively explored and exploited, men could be reluctantly compelled to resort to war in self-protection and self-preservation. But it is the established philosophy of the stoics and pacifist thinkers that on no ground and condition must war be fought. But Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) in his book, Mein Kampf said: “It must be thoroughly understood that the lost land will never be won back by solemn appeals to the good God, nor by hopes in any League of Nations, but by the force of arms” and George Washington (1732-1799) said that “to be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” They preferred war wholly and partially, but war put an end to their lives ambitions and dreams.
The totality of our world is sunken in the throes and cesspit of wars. The United Nations, African Union, Organisation of American States, ECOWAS, ASEAN, Organisation of Asia/Pacific Nations, regional bodies, national and state bodies can no longer checkmate and deracinate the octopoidal tentacles of wars in our world. We call on our leaders, peoples and the global communities to give peace a chance. In his October 25,1962 encyclical, Pope John Paul xxiii(1881-1963) admonished the world thus: “We supplicate all rulers not to remain deaf to the cry of mankind, let them do everything in their power to save peace; by so doing, they will spare the world the horrors of a war that would have disastrous consequences, such as nobody can foresee.”
Finally, Jesus the Christ admonished us “to beat our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into pruning-hooks that nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” In his Song of Hiawatha, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, said: “Buried was the bloody hatchet, buried was the dreadful war-club, buried were all war-like weapons, And the war-cry was forgotten, then was peace among the nations” and corroborating, John Fitzgerald Kennedy in his 1961 United Nations address said: “Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.”
As the 2019 election approaches,we admonish Nigerians to shun everything and anything that will lead to a cataclysmic war. But, there can be no peace without justice. We call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to address the issues of Biafra, Niger-Delta’s marginalisation, restructuring, Boko Haram insurgency, religious extremism, herdsmen’s genocidal onslaught and the conduct of a free, fair and transparent elections in 2019.
Let’s choose peace.
Mr. Gbinije, a social critic, wrote from Warri, Delta State.