6th Jan Prompt:
Write at least 500 words: about the creation of this art, the subject/topic it brings to mind, the period in which the art is done, or how it makes you feel.
I always find black & white photography emotive. I am not sure why. Perhaps because it appears stripped bare and simply is. It doesn't submit to good lighting or filters. It feels more raw. An image in black & white of war, is even more raw. It pulls no punches, it doesn't pretend to be what it isn't, it does not strut about asking to be liked or admired. After all, what can one admire about war?
Do we admire the reason for war? The greed, the never-ending desire for power and the hunger to control? Coming down to the basic root - pride.
Do we admire the way of war? Boys barely out of school learning to use weapons to purposefully kill, teaching methods of torture, learning to be deceptive, enduring the loss of your fellow soldier and friend next to you in the trench, taking away boyish innocence and teaching them to hate someone they don't even know?
Do we admire the result of war? Families forced to be separated from one another, seeing family members injured or losing them completely, and the post-traumatic stress the soldiers endure after the war?
There is nothing to admire about war. There is nothing to admire about greed or lust for power. There is nothing to admire about young men positioned as pawns by power-hungry players to beat their (often unknown) enemy in a 'no-one really wins' game of greed. Yet, the pull of patriotism is so strong, that men and women volunteer to go to war to fight a battle that someone else began. They are willing to miss out on watching their children grow, missing birthdays, concerts, weddings and funerals of loved ones. Why is that?
Mandela said: "No man is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than the opposite."
War is just time wasted on hating and hurting, when in fact, showing compassion and forgiving can free us from our self-centredness, and allow our gaze to fall upon others as friends rather than foes.
"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world..."
~ John Lennon~
Of course, not all wars are fought in the trenches.
Some are fought within families over misunderstandings, jealousies or ongoing generational feuds, the cause of which has long been forgotten.
Some are fought in the battlefields of our own minds, not feeling good enough, or smart enough or learning to forgive ourselves for our mistakes. Sometimes we even have to learn to be gentle with ourselves. We are at times, our own worst enemy.
"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone..." Romans 12:8