The declaration “It must and will not happen again” in reference to war has been repeated over and over again by people from all over the world. Indeed, freedom from war has become an essential component of human well-being. This is in an attempt to stop people from fighting, harming and killing each other, scenes that unfold in various battle grounds around the world.
Sebastian Junger’s documented experiences of the Korengal Valley during the war in Afghanistan perfectly exemplify the adversities of wars. The film, Restrepo directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, explores the life of a US Army platoon in the Afghanistan hostile battleground of Korengal Valley, Northeast of Afghanistan, over a 15-month period (Hetherington & Junger 2010). The soldiers were deployed there to clear insurgents and also gain the trust of the local people. At the beginning of their mission, Restrepo, a key member of the platoon is killed. The platoon survives under challenging and inhumane conditions characterized by deaths and firefights (Hetherington & Junger 2010). This paper reflects on the long term practices and policies that can be implemented to prevent wars in the future.
One of the most critical steps that nations can take towards preventing war is to educate themselves on issues surrounding wars. Education calls for an in-depth understanding of what causes war and what past approaches towards curbing wars have or have not been successful. It is also imperative for nations to understand the cultures, histories, religions, as well as the economies of other nations, and how these issues have contribute to poverty, hatred, desperation, religious fanatism and negative stereotyping; all of which catalyze many wars. This situation is best exemplified by the recent wars of the United States on Islamic nations such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Education to the populace and the policy makers has the potential to end wars emanating from ignorance now and in the long distance future.
The second and overwhelmingly influential issue in preventing future wars is communication. Policy makers should be at the forefront in initiating dialogue between nations and cultures in diverse issues. People should not be afraid to speak out, listen and talk with their neighbors, classmates, relatives and workmates. They should learn to disagree but should never shy away from voicing their concerns in places where they are unpopular. They should also call into television and radio shows and write letters to local community newspapers expressing their opinions on societal issues. Open communications between members of different nationalities and cultures increases understanding by demystifying cultural myths thereby preventing tensions which erupt into wars.
Thirdly, economically advanced nations should all in their capacity to help third world nations. If developed countries supported poor countries economically, they would create a more economically just world characterized by lesser suspicions and resentments which boil over into wars. The developed western countries can for instance assist economically disadvantaged Islamic countries in setting up mosques. Individuals and organizations can donate money, organize events to raise funds, participate in sporting activities among other charitable activities to support third world countries economically. These activities foster a sense of economic justice to all and consequently peace.
Fourthly, nations can formulate Legislations to ensure responsible journalism. The role of the media in fueling peace or war between countries cannot be understated. In this era of increased globalization and advancements in technology, inciting information spread over the mainstream and social media can fuel catastrophic animosity and war between nations in an instant. It is, therefore, crucial for media houses around the world to uphold responsible journalism that promotes peaceful coexistence of diverse cultures.
Fifthly, it would be of paramount importance for world nations to abide by rules and regulations regarding the production of weapons of mass destruction. The lesser the number of dangerous weapons a country has the lesser are its chances are of engaging in war with other countries. Bodies such as the United Nations should promote world peace by being proactively involved in the formulation and implementation of laws to regulate the production of weapons of mass destruction.
Lastly, citizens of all countries should voice their concerns if they disagree with their government’s ways of fighting terror. They should opt for the most effective way of not only ensuring their security but also that of innocent civilians in aggressor countries. Disagreeing with a government strategy over is strategies does not amount to treason, instead, it is the highest form of citizenship in contemporary participatory democracies. Americans, for instance, oppose some of the government’s policies on the war against terror because they love their country and the world at large. A proactive and inclusive approach to the war against terrorism is the ultimate way to decimate wars and ensure sustainable peace prevails between countries.
Recent wars between America and some Middle East countries such as Afghanistan have caused untold human suffering as depicted in films such as Restrepo. To prevent future occurrences of events depicted in the films, it is imperative for governments to learn about other cultures and religions before embarking on wars. It is also beneficial for people from diverse cultures to communicate freely with each other, demystify suspicions and potentially divisive myths. Developed countries can also assist third world countries economically while all nations should create laws to ensure responsible journalism that promotes peaceful coexistence of cultures. In addition world bodies such as the UN should be actively involved in regulating production of destructive weapons while nations should promote inclusive and participatory democracy in the formulation of strategies to fight terrorism. These measures have the potential to keep people out of wars all together.
Hetherington, T & Junger, Sebastian Restrepo; One Platoon, One Valley One year. National
Geographic Entertainment. 2010.