The previous article “The Only Choice” tackled the role of peace in establishing the human civilization and the irreplaceable society building. I received a letter from a dear reader in which he said: “In building societies, we need to work hard in order to secure the future of our children.” I agree with him that without hard work, societies can neither be constructed nor developed. However, the construction needs the umbrella of peace to protect and strengthen it, since wars, conflicts and divisions do not build up healthy societies capable of overcoming reality challenges and achieving future hopes. That is why I preferred to write today about war and peace.
The world, which has suffered the ravages of war, especially the two World Wars, has only realized the meaning of peace when it lost it for long years! When people put aside their main missions of working, constructing and life, and got preoccupied with wars, destructing others and death, unaware that it carries within defeat of the humanity meanings for all the warring parties. As everyone knows, a person’s need for safety is the first demand that arises after satisfying one’s vital needs. Without safety and psychological stability, a man’s mental capabilities are being disturbed. Thus, wars, unrest and divisions become obstacles against building human beings and societies.
Peace is the umbrella of safety for human beings, which wards them off the horrible consequences of wars like killing and destruction: the First World War (1914-1918) left behind devastation for nearly a decade in the world countries, resulting in the death of 8 to 10 million soldiers, the disability of 7 million, and the serious injury of 15 million! Although the number of killed civilians of that war was not calculated, the researchers assert they approach 13 million! In Germany alone, 474,000 civilians were killed. In addition, famines have claimed the lives of millions of people, disintegrated families and displaced millions, especially in Europe and Asia: In Russia, the estimated number of homeless children was 4.5 to 7 million! Diseases spread in the course of that war: the Typhus epidemic spread, killing 200,000 people in Serbia and 3 millions in Russia, besides, the Spanish flu epidemic spread throughout the world and killed 50 millions at least, not to mention the economic losses that afflicted countries and spanned many decades.
As for the Second World War (1939-1945), it is considered one of the most destructive violent conflicts in human history; its victims are estimated to be 55 to 62 million dead, other than millions of wounded and maimed, along with the wiping put of two entire Japanese cities: Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an economic collapse in many countries, and an increase in unemployed and homeless people around the world. This is the expense of war, as Benjamin Franklin said: “The price of wars is not incurred at time of war, but the bill is due later”, for states and societies need a lot of time, great effort, and huge sums of money to return to their former state, in case they could!
The impact of war terrifies people’s souls, as it leaves behind nothing but destruction of human beings: we only find death, deformities, and negative psychological effects on humans, such as depression, hysteria, and pathological anxiety, which in turn negatively affect his physical health. We see man suffering fatigue, being unable to concentrate enough, as well as physical damage such as heart and stomach disorders, and may even lead to brain harm! The impact of war transcends humans to the environment, causing devastation everywhere: people lose their lives, societies are destroyed, and other organisms are immediately affected; as some animals lose the environment necessary for survival, some plants are burnt because of the bombs explosion, besides the environment pollution and loss of natural resources. Think about it! How would the world look like, in case peace prevailed and people avoided the ravages of wars?! And … stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center2 December 2020