A few days ago, I watched an interesting film about the Vatican State during WWII. It gave a good sense of the times, even if it was a narrow view. Narrow only, because it played out in the Vatican, and the actors mostly portrayed the Pontifex and his staff (nuns and clericals of various rank). It gave some intriguing facts, perhaps the most important was that the papers from the time still are locked away. The more I learn about this period, the clearer it becomes that there was nobody who didn’t contribute to this disastrous war. I say disastrous, because of the mass murders and the atomic bomb. That alone sets this war, and the period leading up to it apart, as one of the biggest humanitarian failures. Nobody came out of this war innocent, or with ‘clean hands’. Why do people insist that anything can be resolved with weapons? Weapons do one thing and one thing only: they kill. And it doesn’t matter whether they kill one person or millions. Weapons are destructive. War is destructive. And there the argument should stop.
While I’m at it, it is time to ensure that we treat animals humanely too. I don’t advocate that we should all turn vegan, but we must remember the pact between humans and animals. The least we can do, if we want to ‘harvest’ and eat meat, is to ensure that the animals live a healthy and pleasant life until the end.
Am I mixing issues together here? I don’t care. If we kill humans, we’ll kill animals too, and perhaps with less remorse. If we decide against killing animals, how come we still insist on making wars? Just look about: is there any place on earth where people don’t cause murder and mayhem? Exactly. We’re as bad as wild animals. No, indeed, we’re worse. We know what we do.
There are few lust murderers among animals. Perhaps the odd tiger gets a taste for human flesh. Perhaps whales or crocodiles or piranhas kill indiscriminately. But that is nothing against the murder of six million Jews. It is nothing against the murders committed by Pol Pot, or Mao Tse Tung, or against the bombs falling on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We’re worse than animals. No animal race is worse than the human animal. And that brings me back to the Papal action or should I say inaction during WWII.
Ask yourself: is there a religion that turns away from murder? Buddhism perhaps. Most religions concern themselves with death. From the Egyptian and Tibetan books of death to the Aztec murder priests. All the Middle Eastern religions have the same theme: Jihad or war against Philistines? The Christian religion condones cannibalism. . .
How dare I say that? Simple: it says so in the bible. Eat this bread and drink this wine: it is my body and my blood that I give to save you from your sins.
Sometimes there’s nothing left, other than despairing over the mess we humans create. And I haven’t even started on the damage we’ve done to the environment. The animal species we’ve destroyed, the milliards we’ve killed. The water we polluted, the air we poisoned. There is no end to the destruction we’ve caused. And we still think we’re better than animals? We’re red in tooth and claw. It is shameful.
I’m not a political creature, but I have a conscience. When did we lose our inbred etic? It was never innate: it was something we had to learn. But did we ever truly comprehend? There may have been some lights in the world, but they are few and far between. After Mother Theresa and Gandhi: who have truly done something towards making this world a better place?
© HMH, 2018