Today, May 4, my home-country remembers all Dutch victims who have been killed or murdered due to war. At 20.00 hours, the whole country is supposed to be silent for 2 minutes to remember, to honor, to reflect and to never forget. Initially, this day was meant to remember the victims of WWII, since 2011 the official text of the Memorandum for Remembrance Day on 4 May is as follows:
During the national commemoration of Remembrance Day,
we remember all Dutch victims – civilians and soldiers – who have been
killed or murdered in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or anywhere else
in the world in war situations or during peace-keeping operations
since the outbreak of the Second World War. (1)
My grandparents went through WWII, my parents were born within the decade afterwards, however 2018’s generation will have no connection to that specific war. Unfortunately, children these days have to be taught not only about past wars, but about current wars. It got me wondering; where we humans always at war?
On a Dutch website, I found an article with the tittle “War throughout the centuries”. The first paragraph I translated:
In the sixth century BC, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus described the war as
“father and king of all”, while the English philosopher Hobbes called war,
the natural state of humanity, a kind of law of nature, a merciless
struggle “of all against all” to which mankind could only escape
with the greatest difficulty through legal sanctions and control
measures. Wars have intervened dramatically in many aspects
of daily life. Civilizations have always ensured their survival by
waging war and winning battles. Aristotle stated:
‘we are waging war so that we can live in peace’.
Up to my personal year of birth, 1972, there have been 51 wars worldwide if I understood correct. 51 wars, as far as known for sure. I didn’t have the courage to look up how many victims these wars caused.
Viktor Frankl, Viennese psychiatrist, renowned around the world for having survived the concentration camps. He postulates that the most important need we have as human beings is to find purpose and meaning in life. Purpose and meaning are the most essential things in a human life, particularly when basic needs as safety, food and shelter are not met. (source: article “Consciously connecting” – Leijssen Mia)
We have, as human beings, the right to life (article 3, Universal Human Rights). Was Aristotle right, do we need war to be able to live in peace? War seems to be ingrained in our DNA. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I believe we can control how we choose to live in our personal Dreampacks.
Whether you join the people from The Netherlands and be silent for two minutes, light a candle, say a prayer, write an article, read my article about fighting games, or pass on your family’s personal history… Whatever you choose to do, I hope you agree our purpose should at least be to learn from the past, to prevent history from repeating, and to not forget that the neighbors we lost up till today due to past and current wars, should not be forgotten.
Knowledge can lead to Kindness. Days like the Memorandum for Remembrance Day are important. This Chinese proverb tells perfectly why:
“Tell me and I will forget.
Show me and I may remember.
Involve me and I will understand”.