My point in writing about this at all is this: we should all examine our consciences and our assumptions about history and politics. If we can write off the deaths of a quarter of a million civilians as a regrettable, but essential act of war, what other events will we stand by and allow to happen in the name of our society or faith or ideology? Whose life is important to us? Who can we fool ourselves into thinking of as faceless, inhuman beings that can easily be killed because they belong to a particular group? As John Donne wrote:
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
As spiritual beings, we should all mourn the losses on both sides of every war, but especially the noncombatant civilians. Humanities have been snuffed out. We should not glorify the deaths of anyone and to continue to vilify long dead people as enemies diminishes all of us to mere puppets of our governors. Let us all be wary of what we can be led to believe, lest consequences come home to roost, on our own doorstep.