When people think about war, they relate their thoughts to newspapers and statistics. These provide numbers that demonstrate the tangible outcome of a conflict: deaths of soldiers and civilians, wounded people, deserted towns, and the territory covered. Problem is that there are a plethora of issues that media doesn’t talk about because they can’t be seen. The Peace and Justice Center’s Cost of War Speaker and Film series has paid attention to the complications that war gives rise to and are not addressed.
When one enlists for the army, marines, navy, or air force, one assumes that one’s job will have its risks due to the nature of the job; one understands that one can be killed or injured by the “enemy”, but who is this enemy? Nowadays it’s not that easy to tell if another party is a friend or foe. Today’s newspaper will compare and contrast the soldiers that have fallen in the front line to the ones in the opposition who have been killed, tomorrow’s newspaper will show a different graph promoting the glory of being a soldier regardless of one’s gender, the day after tomorrow the newspaper will incite one to enlist… When one hears of a rape taking place in the midst of a war, one thinks of the “enemy” raping women and committing horrible atrocities. No one ever hears of the women in the army who get raped by their comrades because no one is benefited by the public’s knowledge in such a shocking matter. The army perpetuates these horrific incidents and doesn’t let these issues go out in the eye of the public in order to preserve the belief that all soldiers will find is a life of honor and camaraderie by joining this institution.
Everyone knows of some soldier –even if solely from the news– who has returned home from a war or conflict in another nation with scars or lost limbs. We can all see the effect that war had on him/her, but there are many other effects that we cannot see without getting to know the person. Regardless of whether a person is physically hurt or not, every soldier experiences a series of hurdles when they return to the civilian lifestyle because they have a hard time adapting to the new conditions that have been put in front of them. Internally, veterans suffer from an evil that they cannot escape from even if they hid in a small room all by themselves; their “enemy” lives within them.
As human beings we believe that we understand everything that is going on around us even if it doesn’t relate directly to us, but the unseen malevolence can be hidden and it will stay there unless people spread the word about them. Why is “enemy” in quotation marks all throughout this article? Well, it’s all a matter of perspective…
Julian Geoffrey Lopez