Peace and War
by Adam Goodwin | 2014 | Last Updated: February 19, 2014
For a week in mid-February 2014, I went to France. I was able to visit the Vimy Ridge memorial in Northern France – owned by the people of Canada to remember the thousands of Canadian soldiers killed in World War I.
World War I
In 1914, Britain declared war on Germany. As Canada was still very close to Britain (some say, served Britain), this automatically brought Canada into the war.
Thousands of young, brave Canadians lost their lives in World War I. Out of the over 600,000 Canadians who fought under the Canadian name, nearly 250,000 were killed or injured.
During World War I, one of Canada’s most important battles was for Vimy Ridge – located in Northern France. Canada fought German troops in the area of the ridge, and using technical smarts and its troops effectively, Canada was able to defeat the Germans.
Vimy Ridge Memorial
To commemorate Canada’s success, France donated part of Vimy Ridge to the people of Canada. In the early 1930’s, Canada built a memorial to remember the Canadians who gave their live to protect the people of the world’s freedom.
Well visiting Vimy Ridge (both the memorial, information areas, and cemetery), it was not possible to not think about the hundreds of thousands of Canadian causalities during the Vimy battle and the war. Men my age would have a helmet strapped onto their head, a heavy pack, and quick training, and be expected to fight on the front lines, trying to defeat many men on the ‘other’ side in a similar situation.
Visiting Vimy Ridge (along with Gold Beach, Dieppe, and Juno Beach – albeit, a different war) made me reflect on some of the current debates amongst those seeking peace in the world.
What is peace
Before delving too far, first, my thoughts on what is peace.
Peace does not mean there are no differences or disagreements. This is not peace. This is torture – a command-and-conquer type of world. We must have debates, and disagreements about policies, values, beliefs, and ways of living. Peace means these differences are non-violent. We can argue with our words, instead of our weapons and power.
This is what I mean, when I say peace.
I am strongly opposed to most military conflict wars. I have yet to be convinced of why war is a necessity. This is not to disrespect those on the front line who put themselves in harms way to protect my life and freedom. I think asking why is there war actually is more respectful to the troops and fellow humans who fight for Canada, and the other countries of the world. So, how do we not have war?
Some suggest that to simply say the world should be at peace and settle differences diplomatically is simplistic and reductionist, and misses the big picture.
To these experts, commentators, academics, and opinion-givers, I say nonsense. You are missing the real picture.
You are missing the beauty and preciousness of human life.
A human life is much bigger than economics, politics, wealth, power, and a (Western) ‘developed’ standard of living. A human life is much more important.
So to those who call my idea, and the idea of millions of fellow individuals begging leaders for world peace, I say, you must start today, to look at the real picture; and forget what you think of as the ‘big’ picture.
A Call To Action
We do not need wars. We do not need fighting. There are much more humane ways to work towards an ever-increasing interdependent future.
You may also be interested in reading: Peace on Earth (click here)
These are one person’s thoughts and opinions. I welcome and strive to get your feedback and own thoughts. Feel free to comment below or connect with me via social media.
Adam Goodwin is a Canadian working in the United Kingdom, and is a proud shameless idealist. His parents currently work in Cairo, Egypt. He has siblings and distant family in Canada and around the rainbow nation’s only home. Follow his year+ overseas on Twitter (@adam13goodwin) and on this blog.