This is the first day of Remembrance Week. It is a time to remember those who have served their country through the military, the reasons we go to war, and the consequences of doing so. I suggest reflecting on our personal wars, as well, as they have many similarities with what happens on the world stage.
If you were to compare a world map of when I was born compared to now, you would see startling differences in many places. The old colonial powers have lost their empires, new powers have risen and fallen while many of the same problems exist that have been going on for centuries – ignorance, poor communication, a lack of respect for the ways of others and a refusal to change.
Wars don’t just happen, there are always conflicts or strife of some sort that precedes the event where everything goes crazy. World War II began with the crushing of the German spirit with the Treaty of Versailles in 1918. Defeating political leaders and their war machines is one thing, taking away the pride of the people is quite another. It makes them change the way they feel about themselves and their country.
A similar thing happened with sending the indigenous children of North America to residential schools and forcing them to change their customs, language and religious views. Under duress, people almost always react badly to an enforced change. Sometimes it is with a violent reaction and at others the stress is turned inwards with addictions, depression and suicide.
Meddling in the affairs of others for personal gain, such as what has happened in the Middle East, has brought about the current situation where extremists want everything to change back to a different system.
Those who profit by it suggest that bigger and better weapons are needed be they in the form of fighter jets, bombs or drugs to treat addictions. I suggest that both the problems and the solutions lie much deeper.
What can be done? We are not the decision makers! We are not the people in power!
OH, YES WE ARE.
Margaret Mead wrote, “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”
Beginning with yourself and the immediate world around you, we can definitely change the world. How you influence those around you can help them to do the same. On and on it goes.
There is no magic switch that will turn your life around but when there is a will, there is a way. Start working on these suggestions. When you change yourself, you do change the world around you. In time, your world will expand and so will your influence.
Regardless of whether you believe that wars are just, it is a time to show respect and gratitude for those who served their country. On November 11th, rain or shine, I plan on being at the Cenotaph to do just that.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”– Mahatma Gandhi