Teja Tanchangya

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Can we not develop strategies that would enable soldiers to interact among themselves and create peace among themselves and others?

Leaders decide on matters of war and peace; Soldiers are merely the instruments of war. They face several ethical dilemmas: kill or live. Besides creating dialogues between leaders to create peace, what if such dialogue is also created among soldiers!

  • Feb 27 2012: It would be interesting to create an interactive website for soldiers on the Internet to try that out!!! Many countries would definitely censure this site.
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      Feb 27 2012: wow! great idea. at least better to try, no matter what others say. if they really care about peace then hopefully many countries would also praise the idea. It would be better if we can create conversations among people, inspire public, seminar and conference presentations and discussions, so that able people can begin to theorize and practically work for creating dialogue and peace among soldiers. (Hopefully it won't sound revolutionary or tyrannical against the existing systems of governance)
      • Feb 27 2012: Dear Teja,
        How do you imagine the website?

        Anonymity should be preserved. Soldiers could exchange virtual gifts. They could show virtual family pictures. They could play online games together. Could the spirit of those magical interactions during world war I be recreated?

        Could it be dangerous to have those soldiers communicating direct via the Internet? What if a pirate can get the list of the participant of one of the camp and use it in a bad way?

        Maybe this website should not necessarily be for soldiers only, but, for the population of both camps in general and for outsiders too?

        Should the website include The different perspectives of the different camps?
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          Feb 29 2012: Dear Manue,
          sorry for the late reply.

          You have raised some of the most crucial issues, most of which is that of security in whatever form it is. Soldiers need to have the real heart for what they would be doing. In that sense we need those kind of soldiers who have intuitions into the nature of life and intuitions into the interrelatedness of our states of affairs.

          another issue is whether soldiers could ever get the privileges or the permission to get to interact. I guess even among soldiers there is a form of bureaucracy where they would need permission from the tops. Otherwise, they would be considered traitors. We really cant predict our conditions of life. Even if we can, there are always the possibilities of alterations. (Imagine of a possibility that a soldier sentenced to death, even though he/she is assured that such would never happen).

          I think your idea of including other outside people is also great. They can help soldiers in shaping their ideas.
          Regards
      • Feb 29 2012: dear Teja,

        In France, there is no death sentence anymore. I just sounds so horrible to think a soldier sending virtual gifts to the other camp could be sentenced to death! But, yeh, I imagine it could happen.

        I don't think it should be a website for soldiers actually. But a website where you could get different points of view about the war. A website where you could interact with games with the others and recreate the magic that happened during WWI. It did not only happen among the soldiers but also among the populations.
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          Feb 29 2012: Dear Manue!
          Thanks for informing that death sentence no more prevails in France. I guess some other countries too don't have that.

          As to the website "where you could get different points of view about the war", it seemed a better idea. Researchers, professionals, soldiers, and general people could interact!

          It would also be good to have a procedure whereby some of the finest ideas on war and peace could be introduced to the public. Registered members of the website would interact and their ideas would be gathered, and then a conversant member could become a mediator between the website and the public - academia, mass media (documentaries, films, songs etc). and so on.

          I thought of this because no matter how much advanced we may theoretically be, we will perhaps end up being ideological. Theories need to have existential validity, and for this people need to play an integral role. This would also be helpful to get feedback from the public.where much sense of insecurity and fear are part of everydayness, how can we create a public culture whereby people will have less sense of a narcissistic other (a narcissistic individual)? Can one of the the aims of the website be not only to answer this question but also to promote such an ideal?
  • Feb 26 2012: Your question reminds me of the Christmas truce In World War I.
    Many soldiers reported that during world war I, German and English/French soldiers were singing Christmas carols together, trading food and cigars, and even playing football with the "ennemy" around Christmas time.
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      Feb 26 2012: Thanks for joining the conversation :). they must have felt it deep within themselves the bonds of human beings. Your reference to the Christmas truce reminds me also of Thomas Hardy's 'The Man He Killed:

      "HAD he and I but met
      By some old ancient inn,
      We should have sat us down to wet
      Right many a nipperkin!

      "But ranged as infantry,
      And staring face to face,
      I shot at him as he at me,
      And killed him in his place.

      "I shot him dead because—
      Because he was my foe,
      Just so: my foe of course he was;
      That's clear enough; although

      "He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
      Off-hand like—just as I—
      Was out of work—had sold his traps—
      No other reason why.

      "Yes; quaint and curious war is!
      You shoot a fellow down
      You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
      Or help to half-a-crown."
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    Feb 26 2012: I think that the solution to many problems in this world is to stop, think, listen and the most important - dialogue.
    It would be really interesting to see if soldiers could dialogue with other soldiers and share their points of view with no guns on their hands and no orders to take. How great it would be of they could understand each other.
    If soldiers could think clearly and refused to be "the instruments of war", wars wouldn´t happen.

    This is a very problematic issue. I don´t know much about the lives of soldiers and wars and wars environments.
    If anyone wants to discuss and show me that I´m wrong don´t hesitate replying.
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      Feb 26 2012: Thank your very much for your ideas. They are really awesome! although it seems risky and fearful, we gotta be brave and give a try. The probabilities of successes are as much as the probabilities of failures. Only, we haven't tried!
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    Feb 26 2012: I know of American veterans of the 1990 Gulf war who were taught the Iraqi word for animal. They would say this word when shooting at the Iraqis. This helped them mentally get over the fact that they were killing a human and think of it more as hunting an animal.
    Its ironic that when you ask an American about Middle Eastern people and they will say that they look and act so much different. Yet, ask them why they are Christian and not Islamic, Hindu, or Buddhist and they will say because it is the religion of "my people". And what they mean is that Jesus supposedly is part of "their people". But they do not put 2 and 2 togethor to realize that this Jesus they talk about IS a Middle Eastern and is more like the people they are shooting and less like their European ancestors.
    Sorry for swaying the topic into religion, but on a positive note things are changing. People are more open-minded thanks to the internet. And you can see the change because so many soldiers coming home from Afghanistan or Iraq are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am hoping they realize that these people, when raised in America, look and act JUST LIKE THEY DO.
    But how can you get a soldier to fight for a cause when he knows the person he is fighting is just like him or her? Quite a dilemma.
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      Feb 26 2012: Hello Kevin, Thanks a lot for vitalizing the conversation. your mentioning of the "American veterans of the 1990 Gulf war" is a nice start. you talked of internet exposing "so many soldiers coming home from Afghanistan or Iraq are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder", and i believe that even the "American veterans of the 1990 Gulf war" would have faced such traumatic disorder even if such was not immediately visible.

      As to swaying the topic into religion, it's ok as long as religion can help us to create peace. If we know of our inner goodness, we can argue from any field. In fact, the question that i have asked arose when i was at an International Buddhist Conference. A presenter has cited the Buddha saying that "soldiers who fight in war go to hell." Unfortunately, i didn't get a chance to ask my question and raise the issues, since several professors felt into heated debates.

      When we combine both of our conversations we have two issues 1. soldiers "experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" and 2. soldiers going to hell. Both issues are ethical and both of them show that, besides many innocent people, soldiers are the ones facing most dreadful repercussions of war. And yet, yet in the battlefield life seems more preferable to such seeming metaphysical speculations as being born in hell or being empirically cursed by the leaders and masterminds behind war.

      Soldiers are taught the strategies of war, yet rarely the strategies of peace, although the term "peace' seems ironical here. what if they are not merely trained to fight but also to develop their mind in a way that their purpose becomes "peace in actual sense"?

      Sorry, if my words are too rude! regards!
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        Feb 26 2012: "Soldiers are taught the strategies of war, yet rarely the strategies of peace"

        That´s a very interesting and curious point that we can apply not just for soldiers but for everyone!
        That´s a really great idea!
  • Mar 1 2012: dear Teja,

    This is a continuation from our previous discussion...

    half the countries in the world have abolished the death sanction.
    You can quickly check on wiki as a base for further researches:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_of_capital_punishment_by_country

    I found this for you:
    http://www.cncpunishment.com/forums/showthread.php?5408-10-Best-Death-Penalty-Movies

    You could look at organizations such as:
    Www.avaaz.org
    Maybe it will Give some ideas. There must be many other inspiring websites
    You could check:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Projects_working_for_peace_among_Arabs_and_Israelis

    Also on TED:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/jr_s_ted_prize_wish_use_art_to_turn_the_world_inside_out.html
    There is also a talk with some who lost her family in 911 and the mother of a prisoner in Guantanamo.
    One that I like Is:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/julia_bacha.html
    And many more...
    http://www.ted.com/search?q=War+peace

    The life of Gandhi is also inspiring.
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      Mar 1 2012: Dear Manue,
      Thanks a lot for the links. For me it's Extra-curricular knowledge - University courses don't always teach all of these. Videos show that there are people doing what they can do and what we are hoping to do! inspiring! Thanks again