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  • Writer's pictureChristopher McHale

WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER

The UN Charter is the answer


A life of wars. Not just mine. Every human.


We live to die in violence.


And it's worked its way right back to where it was 100 years ago.


Forget the post-war trauma that gave us the United Nations.


The Masters of War were never going to let that stand.


They think we're fools, these politicians. They let the garden go to weeds, they let it run wild, then throw their hands up in despair as they reach for a can of DDT.


We must spray! We must kill the weeds! We have no other choice!


And the missiles fly.


WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED
to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Forged out of sorrow, glazed by the blood of millions of dead, from the edge of the abyss, we wrote those words. After the ashes, the cordite spiced with human flesh was carried away on the heavy wind, we stood on the shore of the salty sea and saw the monster reflected in the water. It is is us. We are the monster.


And we knew.


The monster is always there. It never leaves us. Worse. It is who we are.


Are you shocked by each atrocity? Is your revenge justified by your false equivalency?


Don't be surprised. It's never been any different. It's only matter of which flag is raised on the hill last. That flag gets to write the history and the victors will chisel their truth into stone and the lesson will be lost.


If we could have heard the lesson in the first place. But we're surrounded by the righteous deaf. Is that why they sing a lusty antem? To drown out the looming shadow over our shoulder and whispers in our ear?


This is who we are. Take up this sword. Defend your clay tablets, your pale parchment. Listen to the voices on desert wind. Do not question.


AND FOR THESE ENDS
to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.

We paid the blood price for those words then crumpled the paper and tossed it into the sea. Our leaders scoffed at them. How the hell can we get rich following such flights of fancy? Bring that man Jesus down from the mount and pummel him. How dare he? Blessed are the meek? Popyycock.


And so the missiles fly again. Fury and raised fists. The blood of infants soak the ground. Democracy is such hard work. It's easier when we let the enemy in. There's a beautiful clarity to a bullet to the head. There's no debate at the end of a gun.


And when the bloodletting stops? Sure. We'll scribble a paragraph. Then leave it on the bus and go back home and pour a whiskey or two and sit by a fire and conjure new nightmares from the flames.


The monster is always there. It never leaves us. Worse. It is who we are.


Ah, but what's this? What's this paper floating on the weedy surface?


Fish it up here and lets us read.


To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace.

Who are these presidents and prime minister and kings and oligarchs who order us into the breach? Are they not threats?


To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

Our common end is peace.


This is not the goal of leaders, but it is what we seek each day.


Our common end is getting the kids off to school. Clean water to drink. Fresh air to breathe. Our pretty cities and languid strolls down by the sea. A soft conversation by a fire in the autumn night. Our common ends are the simple things and know this, we all share the same desires. No matter what the priests say. No matter the speeches of politicians. No matter the hate they bring. We all share the same common ends.


Fetch that paper out of the water. Spread it flat and let it dry in the sun. Turn from those with specks of blood on their lips as they hammer us with guilt and demand we take up our guns again.


Then hand the paper to the speech makers. Let the old words be spoken until they ring anew.


All things end where they begin. With the children. It is the children that we raise in hope. It must be the ultimate common end. The children are the measure of our humanity. We are judged by their dreams.


Every child has the right to be alive. Governments must make sure that children survive and develop in the best possible way.

Is that beyond us? As we pull dead babies from the missile's blast. As we lay dead infants in a row on the street.


We don't need new words, new dreams, new hopes. We just need our humanity and our greatest fear must be losing it in the scudding sky.


Read the words chiseled in the stone, written in our greatest sorrow and fused in our greatest hope, and believe we can live by their command.


to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

Let it be so. Peace.


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